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Cost of driving tops list of customer concerns, says dealers

Woman driving car

The cost of cars is the top-priority for car-buyers as the cost-of-living crisis bites, according to findings from Close Brothers Motor Finance’s Dealer Satisfaction Survey.

Almost three quarters of dealers (74%) put the cost of the car at the top of the list of customer priorities when looking to buy, followed by the mileage (26%).

Other priorities included extras like the sound system or sat nav (12%) and colour (12%).

When asked about the biggest areas of concern for car-buyers, more than half of dealers (52%) said the rising costs of used cars, while 21% named the rising costs of new cars (21%) - though this might be because of a high proportion of used car dealers in the survey respondents, said Close Brothers.

Lisa Watson, director of sales, Close Brothers Motor Finance, said: “The soaring cost of living and spiralling energy bills are forcing consumers to hit the brakes on big ticket purchases, and that has caused a softening of demand for cars.

“Drivers may not be as confident as they once were; the value of dealer advice and insight is higher than ever.

"Dealers need to step up to bat, ensuring that they have the right stock on their forecourt at a fair price and with a comprehensive finance offering.

“Given the supply chain issues, it has never been more important to get stock sourcing and pricing right. Ultimately, dealers who provide the best service to customers now, in a time of economic crisis, will come out on top in years to come.”

New tactics by car manufacturers to keep new car supply constricted could cause long-term shortages in the used market, says the Vehicle Remarketing Association (VRA).

The volume of used diesel cars going under the hammer reached an all-time low in Q2, according to Aston Barclay’s latest monthly used market report.

Around a third of dealers (31%) said that the availability of specific makes and models was a top concern for buyers, reflecting the impact of supply chain issues and the semiconductor shortage on stock availability.

10% said that the legislation around petrol and diesel were a concern, and 2% spoke about the battery life for alternative fuel vehicles.

When asked what elements buyers needed most help understanding, 62% said customers needed help working out how much car finance should or will cost, 26% said road tax and MOTs, and 12% said customers needed help with credit checks and the terms and conditions of finance agreements.

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