Dealers are being urged to provide more online tools to make it easier for customers to compare car prices.
Responding to an Auto Trader report published yesterday, that warned buyers were being put off buying because of the reluctance to haggle. Haggling was judged as being more uncomfortable than asking for a pay rise at work or complaining about food in a restaurant.
Sue Robinson (pictured), director of the National Franchised Dealers Association, said: “We believe that whilst there is still a need for dealers and face to face communication in the showroom, it is vital that dealers simplify the negotiation process by offering more price comparison tools online – an initiative which has already been adopted by many of our members.”
Defending the role of the dealership in the buying process, she said: “In addition, consumers will want to physically see the product they intend to buy.
“The NFDA supports the dealer’s position and believes that there is still a place for dealers in the showroom.
"However, as we enter a digital era, the role of the car dealer is vital in the car buying experience.”
Of the 5,000 motorists surveyed for the report 56% admitted that they had paid the asking price or more (with add-ons) for a new or used car in 2015 – a rise of 12% on 2014.
Over a third of UK car buyers surveyed (34%) identified haggling as uncomfortable.
"Today's consumers are more informed, more discerning and fully aware of the financial packages available before entering the showroom. The industry is now driving towards a digital era with customers undertaking thorough research online – complementing price discussion in the dealership,” said Robinson.
“Dealers are becoming increasingly competitive with pricing, and understand that prices are now more transparent and easily comparable within the entire online UK car market.”