US: digital car evolution driven by consumers and dealers image

The age when a car sale hinged on the sales person is almost gone – as mobile applications, websites and other business services offer the necessary information to the consumer and even allow the complete purchase.

The car-purchase process has been revolutionized in both cases – not only for the customers, but for the dealers as well, paving the way for informed consumers, transparent dealers and a new process of acquiring a vehicle. “Consumers are visiting fewer and fewer dealers,” comments Jared Rowe, president of AutoTrader, an online website that gathers listings for both new and used cars. “A lot of these consumers come in with a very precise idea around what it is they want, and who they want to buy from.” Now, regardless of age, car shoppers tend to use more time than ever before for online research instead of hitting dealer lots, with significant importance given to the third-party business providers, according to recent study conducted by AutoTrader and IHS Automotive. Back in 2011, 71 percent of the shoppers were using the Internet to search for cars, with the figure surging to 79 percent last year.

Buyers habits are now completely different than decades ago, when they walked blindly in the dealership, a sales person showed them around and they then negotiated a deal for a ride. The consumers can use numerous tools to research the preferred brand and vehicle, as well as financing, trade-in values and even see how large the discounts can be. The just go to the preferred dealer with the right vehicle in mind and an exact view on how much they should pay for it.