Less than half of motorists would actively seek-out face-to-face guidance from a car dealer when making their next automotive purchase, according to a new survey.
Finance specialist Black Horse found that just 45% of car buyers would actively seek-out a personal approach to the purchase of their next car, with 37% of the survey’s 2,030 respondents stating that the did not want face-to-face advice and 18% suggesting that they ‘don’t know’.
Out of the age categories surveyed, however, new drivers and over 55s emerged as the most likely motorists to value a face-to-face car buying experience.
This desire is strongest amongst over 55s (52%) and 18-24 year olds (51%) with only 32% of 18-24 year olds stating that they would be comfortable buying a car without face-to-face guidance from a dealer.
Test drives proved to be a key factor in dealers’ opportunity to gain a valuable touchpoint with customers, with 80% of all drivers stating that they were “unlikely to buy a car without test driving beforehand”.
And the main element of car buying that people want face-to-face guidance with are the vehicle itself (67%) and any warranty/maintenance information (68%), whilst 37% want help on the finance options available.
Black Horse found that, once again, younger drivers were most likely to want support with money matters, with a large proportion of those aged 18-24 (50%) and 25-34 (44%) saying they want a dealer to help with finance options. This compares with only 31% of 45 to 54 year olds.
Richard Jones, managing director of Black Horse claimed that the results showed it was “clear that people still value the role of the car dealer and need the guidance they provide”.
He added: “This seems particularly true of the younger generation, especially in the area of finance.
“Of course we recognise that digital has an important role to play in research and selection and that an integrated buying experience – one of both bricks and clicks – is the model of the future.
“So we need to put ourselves in the strongest possible position to deliver a great car buying experience.
“A core element of this is demonstrating our professionalism by being able to answer questions, provide clear explanations and help customers understand their options so they make fully informed decisions on the most suitable choice for them.
“An emphasis on training will help further develop the already excellent levels of knowledge and expertise on forecourts across the UK.”
Black Horse claimed that the survey’s results demonstrated the “continued importance of knowledge and expertise on the forecourt”.
The survey also coincided with Black Horse reporting the number of dealers completing its online training courses has already doubled in 2017 to over 25,000.