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4 in 5 car buyers prefer dealership purchase, Vertu survey finds

A stock picture of someone buying a car in a dealership

Fewer than one in five consumers are happy to buy a car remotely after only watching a personalised video or a live virtual walkaround, new consumer research has found.

AM100 dealer group Vertu Motors commissioned a survey of almost 4,000 customers and discovered more than four in five (83%) want to visit a dealership when they buy a car.

Half said they would only use virtual viewings during the early stages of their buying journey.

Robert Forrester, Vertu Motors' chief executive, said it was interesting to learn that few want car dealerships to go the way of other retail outlets where the focus is on online sales post-pandemic.

He added: “Online options may have helped car buyers during COVID, but as life gets back to normal customers do not want this to become the norm.

"The desire to build a relationship with your salesperson, negotiate on price and get a feel for the vehicle are as important as ever and, in the minds of today’s customers, online methods simply are no replacement for doing that in person."

Personalised videos were preferred by only 7%, a live virtual tour by 6% and only 2% said they prefer doing it all online only.

Forrester said Vertu's core proposition will continue to be in-person car viewings.

The AM100 top 10 motor retailer recently promoted Steve Rowe to sales director and stressed it will revamp the car buying process to make it "more customer centric, flexible and friendly".

Reasons that people surveyed prefer in-showroom car purchase included that it was easier to ask questions (59%), they could look at their own pace (48%) and they could understand the options better (41%).

Two in five (38%) felt it was hard to visualise on screen.

A seperate study by JudgeService earlier this year found only one in 10 consumers would buy their car entirely online.

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