Auto Trader Study Reveals Customers Opinions of the Car Buying Process

28th July 2015

Auto Trader has revealed the results of a two year long research process into what customers do and do not like about the car buying process.

The results showed that one of the main things that put people off venturing into showrooms was the car salesperson. The role of the car salesperson has always been stereotypically brash and competitive, and this stereotype seems to still be putting some people off. The research pulled the views of over 1,000 car buyers and showed that 43% said the 'feared' salesperson pressure, while 33% worried about negotiating with them. The reality fared different with only 21% saying they actually felt pressure when they had visited a showroom and 17% saying they had not enjoyed negotiating with sales staff.

When it came to finding the right car dealer 23% of those surveyed said this had been difficult and 22% actually worried about this before they had even begun their research. The findings prove that retailers could do a lot more online to build trust with potential customers and in turn drive more traffic to their showrooms.

Auto Trader also compiled a wish list of things they thought may improve the buying process and asked the respondents to choose any number of responses. The top five responses chosen on the wish list were as follows:

Freedom to browse – no pressure


Better information about the real cost of cars


A 'one stop shop' to find everything online


Clearer information on car prices


Better information on the best car deals and finance


The research shows that most people judge their buying satisfaction on their actual dealing with the dealership. Three quarters of respondents said they were satisfied with the whole buying process and their experience of being in a dealership, and talking to an advisor was the factor most likely to shape a positive experience.

Nick King Auto Traders Director of Insight said of the findings: “There are clearly things that could be done to smooth the journey for buyers both on and offline,” We know for example that part exchange negotiation is often the breaking point in a deal. We also know that more could be done online to inform buyers about competitive finance deals before they get to a showroom, perhaps pre-empting what might be seen as pushiness in the showroom. Making things more transparent online could help smooth pain points in the journey, leading to more business and happier customers.”

By Jenna Niblock