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Unaccompanied test drives boost consumers’ opinion of dealerships, survey reveals

Dean Pipitone Cooper Solutions

Cooper Solutions’ survey reveals that the offer of an unaccompanied test drive could enhance consumer attitudes towards a car dealership. 

A survey of 200 used car buyers revealed that 49% would feel more positively about a dealer if they were offered an extended or unaccompanied test drive.

It claimed the opportunity would “make a more informed purchase decision”.

Whilst 43% said they would use the opportunity to show the car to friends and family to gauge their opinion, the vast majority (89%) admitted that a positive response would likely swing a sale.

Nearly a third (32%) said an extended test drive would increase the chances of them 'falling in love' with the car they were test driving and 20% said it would increase the probability of them buying that make and model of vehicle.

When it comes to testing the driving of the vehicle itself, overall performance was rated the most important factor, closely followed by visibility and ease of parking.

Cooper Solutions’ director Dean Pipitone said: “The test drive process is a vital element of the customer purchase journey and substantially increases the chance of securing a sale.  

“This is significantly heightened when a customer has the opportunity to bring to life the benefits of the vehicle, particularly when considering an upgrade. 

“Being able to drive on familiar roads allows time for the customer to test out comfort, equipment, and the way the vehicle handles and performs, as well as being able to trial the car without the pressure of a salesperson accompanying them.”

“However, our survey findings do suggest that dealers need to keep a watchful eye and more importantly, be adequately covered in the event of an accident or incident.  

“Motorists test-driving can be tempted to push the vehicle’s speed, particularly when driving on the motorway.

“Dealers need to consider both quality short term insurance cover, in the event of an incident, as well as the tracking of traffic offences or charges, enabling them to offer unaccompanied test drives with confidence.

“Crucially, this means dealers can enhance the customer experience and boost their bottom line, by making the most of new sales opportunities.”

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