Car customers' appetite for online research into their new car purchase can mean their product knowledge exceeds that of dealership sales staff. And combined with an appetite for buyers' opinions on car makes and models, the dealer can be at a distinct advantage.
The warning comes from car review site WeLoveAnyCar.com.
A spokesman said: "Most industry commentators have missed a key change in car buyer behaviour.
"Prospective customers have been trained in review sites like TripAdvisor where they can find out what travellers thought of a hotel or holiday destination.
"Now they expect the same information to be available for cars for sale online and they expect it to be fair, accurate and up-to-date. They don't just search for a car, they research the cars they want to buy and are increasingly looking to other car owners for their opinions."
WeLoveAnyCar.com is planning to update its website in the next few weeks, including the addition of a 'StarSearch’ facility to enable prospective buyers to research cars for sale based on car review ratings which is thought to be a first.
WeLoveAnyCar.com now has the views and opinions of more than 538,000 car owners on virtually every make and model of car sold in the UK today.
Whilst the site is customer facing, WeLoveAnycar.com will work with dealers to give them access to reviews on all the cars for sale on their forecourt by linking information via car registration numbers to its unique database.
WeLoveAnyCar.com said: “We plan to give dealers and dealer sales staff information on customer reviews on every car for sale on their forecourt where we have them. By working with dealers we think we can help sales staff gain more information about the cars they have for sale. Better insight will help them pre-empt customer questions, learn more about a car’s selling points and handle possible objections.”