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Growing Economy Means Buyers Getting Pricier Rides

New car buyers are purchasing more expensive vehicles.

by on Jun.18, 2015

New vehicle sales are going well and buyers are purchasing more expensive cars in 2015.

New car sales continue to benefit from positive economic trends, says a new report from Edmunds.com. While sales are not growing as rapidly as they did in 2013 and 2014, sales remain very healthy.

The U.S. light vehicle market in May had one of its best-selling months since the Great Recession. May is generally a strong month, with consumers flush with cash from tax returns, and upcoming summer vacation trips spurring strong demand, and this May was no exception, said Charles Chesbrough, the chief economist for IHS Automotive. The IHS Automotive sales forecast remains unchanged at 16.9 million units, while others are predicting sales in excess of 17 million units.

Sales News!

Sales are not only on the rise compared with last year, but also buyers are looking for pricier vehicles. Car shoppers’ revived interest in more expensive vehicles, which is led in some measure by the ongoing interest trucks and SUVs, is unlikely to end any time soon, according to the firm’s latest U.S. market analysis. Positive economic trends such as lower unemployment, higher confidence in the economy, and lower gas prices are encouraging shoppers to seek out bigger and more expensive vehicles, the analysis found. (more…)

Vast Majority of Car Shoppers Worldwide Now Ready to Buy Cars Entirely Online

Nearly half would be happy with a “virtual test drive.”

by on Apr.17, 2015

Chinese car buyers are the most interested in purchasing vehicles entirely online, finds new study.

Eight out of 10 shoppers in key markets around the world now use the Internet to help them choose what vehicle to purchase, and the vast majority would carry that a step forward, according to a new study, completing the car buying process entirely online.

Nearly half, in fact, wouldn’t even bother going to a showroom for a test drive, telling researchers they’d be happy with a “virtual test drive.”

Your Trusted Online Source!

“The impact of the digital customer is becoming pervasive, disrupting the traditional car-buying experience and the competitive landscape,” said Christina Raab, global managing director for Digital Consumer Services in Accenture’s Automotive practice. “This is clearly supported by the fact that many would consider conducting the entire car-buying process online.”

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Is it Better to Buy or Lease? Or is There Another Option?

Loans, leases – and lease assumptions – give shoppers options.

by on Aug.08, 2014

Car shoppers have a variety of options when it comes time to close a deal.

New car sales are stronger than they have been since the start of the Great Recession, and likely to keep climbing, according to industry analysts. Demand is expected to be especially strong in the coming weeks, with August traditionally one of the hottest months of the year at dealer showrooms.

The good news for consumers is that despite surging demand, interest rates remain at near-recession lows. That’s led many buyers to move up-market by stretching out loans to five, six and even seven years. But if you’re in the market for a new car, truck or crossover, should you be buying or leasing? Are there, in fact, other even more affordable options?

Auto Insight!

A new study underscores the financial advantages of leasing over buying, but it also points to a potential alternative, a small but growing number of motorists opting to take over existing leases, something equivalent to buying a “nearly new” vehicle.

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How to Get Santa to Deliver the Best Deal on a New Car for the Holidays

Some of the best deals of the year are available in December.

by on Dec.14, 2012

Holiday shoppers will put plenty of cars under the tree this year.

Unless you’re the sort of person who finishes up their holiday shopping even before the first Black Friday ads show up on television, you’re likely racing around trying to figure out what to get for your loved ones.  Maybe for yourself.

Perhaps a new car is on somebody’s wish list but you’re wondering whether it makes sense to buy one this time of year.  Well, if you can swing the down payment it just might be.

Buying Tips!

Historical data – and recent comments by industry executives – suggest that December is traditionally a good time to buy and this year may yield some especially attractive deals.

“This will be the highest discount period,” contends Jesse Toprak, chief auto analyst for the data tracking firm TrueCar.com.

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Social Media, Web Review Sites Strongly Influence Satisfaction with Car Buying Process

Nearly 80% of all buyers now go online to help chose their next vehicle, according to new Power study.

by on Nov.28, 2012

The new study makes it clear car buyers want dealers to listen and help them make the right decision.

How satisfied you are with the process of purchasing your next vehicle will likely be influenced by whether – and where – you do your research online, according to a new study.

Among the various brands, Lexus achieved the highest level of satisfaction among luxury brands but Mini wasn’t very far behind.

Nearly 80% of all American car buyers go online during at least some part of the purchase process, according to the latest annual Sales Satisfaction Index from J.D. Power and Associates.  And about a third of all shoppers rely on ratings and review sites to help them pick a dealer.  But buyers who consult social networking sites, such as Facebook, tend to be more satisfied.

Come Along for the Ride!

“For years, new-vehicle buyers have accessed the Internet to research model information, vehicle features, configurations and pricing,” said Chris Sutton, senior director of the Automotive Retail Practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “Now, neutral online ratings/review sites are playing a key role in dealer selection. Whether the online reviews are positive or negative, they impact buyers’ willingness to visit a dealer.”

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Growing Number of Buyers Steer Clear of Imports

“Conventional wisdom,” rather than latest quality data, often a factor in brand selection, says new J.D. Power study.

by on Jan.26, 2012

Makers like Ford -- its new 2013 Fusion shown here -- and Hyundai have to overcome negative quality perceptions that lag reality, according to a new study.

Word-of-mouth is typically a critical factor in the choice a car buyer makes, yet “conventional wisdom” about which brands have the best quality may be sorely out of date, notes a new study by J.D. Power and Associates. Nonetheless, 40% of buyers say they steered clear of one brand or another because of what they’ve heard about quality, rather than actually checking for the latest data.

Meanwhile, though Detroit automakers have long abandoned their “Buy American” campaigns, the public’s interest in bringing more manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. seems to be paying off.  Power’s latest annual “Avoider Study” finds that that nearly one in seven buyers has steered clear of a foreign-badged product precisely because of where it was made.

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The 2012 Avoider Study also found that fuel economy is now the most influential factor in choosing – or avoiding – a product, though factors like price and styling are also strongly influential.

“The fact that so many new-vehicle buyers may be basing their opinions about quality and reliability on pre-conceived notions, rather than concrete information or data, demonstrates how important it is for automakers to promote the quality and reliability of their models,” said Jon Osborn, research director at J.D. Power and Associates.

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TrueCar Yields to Critics and Regulators

Facing mounting legal hurdles, pricing service plans “sweeping changes.”

by on Jan.17, 2012

TrueCar founder Scott Painter is promising "sweeping changes" to the site's business model.

Scott Painter has never been one to readily yield to his critics, but with state regulators taking aim and a series of huge legal battles looming across the country, the Internet car sales pioneer has backed down, announcing “sweeping changes” to the way his latest venture, TrueCar.com, operates.

The service has generated significant buzz – and plenty of traffic – since its launch, promising to provide consumers with what it has claimed to be the most accurate pricing data online.  Dealers, in turn, were provided an alternative model to attract customers.  Instead of paying for leads, as is the case with most online auto sites, they only paid a $300 fee whenever a car was actually sold.

News Now!

TrueCar’s approach has generated strong support in some quarters – but plenty of criticism elsewhere.  And angry dealers, always a force to be reckoned with, were able to rally support in a number of states where TrueCar appeared to be running afoul of strict franchising laws.  Notably, states like Texas and Virginia bar so-called “bird-dogging,” or auto brokering, where a third party steps in to help a customer get a better price.

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December A Great Deal Time for Car Shoppers

Put a new car under the tree and save a bundle.

by on Dec.08, 2011

Forget the sweaters and ties. You may get a better deal on a new car this holiday season.

Becky Poston admits she’ll be spending a little less on ties, sweaters and the other small gifts she normally puts around the family’s tree for Christmas.  She’ll need the cash she saves for a downpayment on a new BMW 328i she decided to buy.

“I wasn’t really serious, just looking,” says the New Jersey administrative assistant, “but when I heard the deal they were ready to make I couldn’t say no. So, the new car is the real present to my family this year.”

Ho, ho, ho...!

Poston isn’t alone.  As many savvy buyers have discovered, some of the best deals of the year are usually offered between Thanksgiving and New Year, a time when shoppers usually turn their attention to more traditional gift-giving purchases like clothing, toys, consumer electronics – and bad ties.

“December is going to be the best month of 2011 to buy a car with manufacturers offering attractive year-end incentives and dealers motivated to move inventory to get to their sales objectives,” notes Jesse Toprak, head of Industry Trends and Insights for TrueCar.com.

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Are American Drivers Immune to Fuel Price Hikes?

Buyers are changing driving patterns rather than shifting vehicle choices.

by on Aug.09, 2011

Buyers continue to go for pickups and SUVs - albeit with high-tech engines that can deliver better mileage.

When gas prices first hit $2.50 a gallon, auto industry planners braced for a dramatic shift in the market.  It didn’t happen.  When the pump price first nudged $4, back in the summer of 2008, environmentalists rejoiced, betting that hybrids would replace pickups and SUVs as the vehicles of choice.  Yet after a month or so, most U.S. motorists went right back to the cars and trucks they long preferred.

This year’s run-up in fuel costs has once again led many to anticipate a wholesale shift in demand and indeed, sales of small cars have been gaining ground – but pickups, SUVs, crossovers and muscle cars haven’t exactly vanished from the sales charts – a new study by AutoPacific, Inc. suggesting that despite wishful thinking, Americans have largely grown immune to high fuel prices.

Stay Informed!

The consulting firm’s latest Fuel Price Impact Survey concludes that while, “American drivers complain about near historically high fuel prices…few are doing much about it. In fact, choice of what vehicle to buy in the future appears to have decoupled from the price of fuel.”

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Mercedes Dealers Best At Treating Customers

Detroit makers show biggest improvement, says new study of showroom satisfaction.

by on Jul.12, 2010

A new study suggests that the automotive retail experience is undergoing significant change.

Product, product, product?  Perhaps, but even the best vehicles won’t sell unless dealers know how to work with their customers, and according to a new study, Mercedes-Benz leads the way when it comes to doing the best job on the showroom floor.

Not surprisingly, luxury makers lead the way when it comes to satisfying customers during the shopping experience, according to the latest annual Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index, which uses a cadre of “mystery shoppers” to see how dealers across the country perform.  Lexus ranked second, in the PSI, with Land Rover, Acura and Jaguar rounding out the Top Five.

But Detroit brands lead the way, in the 2010 study, when it comes to improving the way their dealers work with customers.  Ford, Lincoln and Chevrolet all scored above industry average for the first time since the study was launched, four years ago.  In fact, Chevy was the only mainstream brand in the Top Ten, followed by Ford and Honda.

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“Overall industry performance improved notably from 2009 to 2010, with 25 of the 34 major auto brands achieving higher PSI scores,” said Fran O’Hagan, CEO of California-based Pied Piper Management.  But he added that, “Despite the continual improvement in how cars are sold, there is still plenty of room for improvement, although not necessarily in the expected areas.”

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