Google continues to dominate the method of choice for customers to search and research for their next car, with 46% using the search engine.
Research from Motoring.co.uk, shows that dealer and car manufacturer websites account for 40% of search, car magazines and online car reviews 32% and classified websites 30%.
The research also found that just over a quarter of car buyers visit manufacturer websites to order a brochure and only one in five visit to book a test drive.
Young car buyers (18-24) are the least likely to visit a dealer or manufacturer website (32%) or visit a manufacturer website to order a brochure and book a test drive (22.5%). In sharp contrast, older car buyers (45-54) are most likely to use Google for research (55%), visit dealer websites (53%) and manufacturer sites (47%). It is also the older car buyers who are most likely to order a brochure from a manufacturer website (33%).
Chris Green, co-founder and sales director of Motoring.co.uk, said: “The car buying process is changing as more and more car buyers turn to the net to narrow down their car choice and decide upon the car they want to buy next.
“It is no surprise that Google dominates car buyer’s research purely because there is now so much choice when buying a car.
“Manufacturers and dealers have a great opportunity to engage non-brand loyal consumers earlier on in the car buying process, when consumers are short listing their cars. Without doubt, test drives and showroom visits could be increased if manufacturers and dealers targeted people who are most likely to consider their cars during the research stage.”
Motoring.co.uk launched its new car websites in January 2011 says it has collected over half a million automotive consumer records in six months, which has in turn generated 5,000 new car leads for new car and approved used cars each month.