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Car buyers 'not ready' to finalise finance online, says Alphera

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A nationwide survey by Alphera Financial Services has found that most UK car buyers are not yet ready to fully finalise their car finance agreements online.

The survey of 1,000 UK drivers who have purchased a new or used car from a dealership within the last 24 months revealed that 79% of car buyers appear to be unsure about buying a car on finance online, with 41% of those saying they wouldn’t consider buying remotely and 38% reporting they would want to conduct further research before deciding.

The survey also revealed that 21% of respondents would be happy to finalise finance online for their next car purchase.

71% of respondents said that the pandemic had little or no effect on their attitudes or, on the contrary, had made them less comfortable than before.

Kirk Franks, head of national sales at Alphera UK said, “Despite changing consumer trends and new technologies, there still remains a significant preference for UK customers to make that final or most significant step in the purchase process face-to-face, in person and in real time.

“Purchasing a car is one of the biggest financial decisions a person can make, so car buyers understandably want to speak to a finance specialist, understand their various options and choose the right finance product for their specific needs.”

Alphera said dealers and brokers need to be able to offer customers a hybrid sales approach to meet different customer requirements.

The latest issue of AM magazine provides insight into motor finance's digitalisation

Franks added: “Consumers still want a personal, human approach from finance and insurance salespeople – particularly the opportunity to ask questions and be able to explain different options and aspects - along with the convenience of accessible, 24/7 online platforms.

“Strong digital assets will enable potential customers to start their purchasing journey online, while a physical visit to the showroom to discuss finance requirements will allow sales executives to build trust, ‘know their customer’ and develop a transparent relationship that will help to finalise the agreement and sale.

“This trust and positive experience hopefully become the foundation for loyalty and repurchase further down the line – we know that some of our Partners have long standing customer relationships that last for generations, not just years.”

The squeeze on household incomes and continued new car supply constraints mean that the UK’s car finance sector is likely to be restricted to ‘single-digit growth’ in 2022, the FLA has said.

In April, Alphera appointed former BMW Motorrad Financial Services and MINI Financial Services regional manager Daniel Temple as its head of sales development.

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