By Tony Willard
Customers may not in the end go for a deal on a car seen online, but it’s the hook to get them in touch with a dealer and possibly into the showroom, said James Broadhead, Close Motor Finance managing director.
“People look for affordability, but want an all-round positive experience when buying a vehicle,” he said.
“A dealer offering a one-stop shop, using technology for quick and hassle free finance approval, improves the experience for customers.”
Broadhead expects direct lenders to return to the market, but questions whether it will be as before.
“Dealers can offer fixed rate finance, which is a huge bonus,” he said.
“It also provides peace of mind for customers who know a fixed amount will leave their account every month.
“Car buyers will be hard pushed to find a similar type of funding outside the showroom.”
He said high street lenders may appear cheaper to borrowers, but their low rates were usually offered only to customers with the highest credit scores, so many may not qualify.
“A dealer needs to make the deal affordable, which means their commission – though really important – may not always be the greatest and becomes less of a priority,” said Broadhead.
“Being aware of customers’ needs is imperative.
They want to know they are buying from a reputable source and this can sometimes take precedence over the deal.”
Broadhead said dealers should always treat customers fairly and this could be achieved in several ways, such as offering the best deal or responding to their needs.
“Adhering to best practice guidelines is ingrained within our business ethos and we encourage dealers to do the same,” he said.