What Really Drives Car Buyer Loyalty?
Given that car sales are lagging in today’s current economy, it is probably more important than ever for manufacturers to know the car buyer’s priorities. What really matters to the consumer in the quest to purchase a new vehicle, and does the brand name of a car influence those in the car-buying process?
Evidently, it does. According to a recent survey on BuyingAdvice.com, an overwhelming 85% believe that brand name is indeed a good indication of reliability, and nearly three-quarters of the participants stated they have bought more than one car of the same brand.
Ironically, however, only 39% declared to be loyal to one particular car manufacturer.
While brand name is a major priority for almost half of car buyers, where the car is purchased proved less important to the consumer. Of the 2,217 individuals that participated in the survey, nearly 83% of respondents said they were not loyal to one dealership.
This could be attributed to the fact that the Internet is playing a more significant role in the automotive industry. Everyone wants to get the most for their money and find the best deal possible. Today, the majority of car buyers do research, decide on options, and do price comparisons – all online – before they even step into a dealership.
And even though car dealers must adapt to the world of online car-buying, in order to reel in customers, the dealer’s main goal is still to get you into the dealership: “They use the Internet as a come-on but still want to deal with you in person, so they can maximize profits,” reveals a source from one of the major dealer websites. Clearly, an internet-savvy car buyer makes the dealer’s job more difficult.
As for the origin of the vehicle, buyers are a little more divided. Only 26% of those polled state that the brand’s country of origin is “very important” to them. The majority, 39%, consider origin to be an “important” factor, while 33% reveal that it is “not important at all.” While many people have a preference for “buying American”, the fact is that other issues are now impossible to ignore. Without doubt, the priorities of the car buyer have shifted from years past and are not difficult to pinpoint, considering the nation’s current economic predicament.
According to an article in the Honolulu Star, the top three concerns for prospective car buyers at a recent auto show were: fuel economy, price, and size. Fel Sepada, a sales consultant in Honolulu, notes that in addition to hybrids, many buyers are asking about smaller and older models. “There have been a lot of questions like ‘When are you bringing some older models out?’” he said, “Price, value and size is what they are looking for.”