Car Buyer Expectations at the Dealership

happy woman holds key to new car

Buying a car can be stressful and is an important decision for your customers. Some car buyers come prepared with a wish-list of items and others know the exact make and model they want to purchase. Regardless of their readiness, most car buyers are looking for a dependable and safe car that falls within their budget.

According to Cox Automotive's Car Buyer Journey Study (2022), 75% of consumers were “highly satisfied” with their experience at the dealership in 2021. Even with a year full of supply chain issues, which is out of dealer’s hands, customers were happy overall with their car buying experience.

What do your customers expect when buying a car from your dealership?

  1. Online Presence
    Today, many car buyers search for cars online before going to the dealership. Your potential customers want to see the available inventory, pricing, and photos of the cars you have on your lot. Once a car buyer finds a new or used vehicle online, the next step is usually to contact the dealership to negotiate and test drive.

  2. Transparency
    Since car shoppers are inundated with advertisements every day -- especially for deals on new cars for low monthly payments or no money down – there could be misconceptions before walking into the dealership. The Federal Trade Commission's Know Before You Go: Car Dealer Ads and Promotions article explains how some ads are misleading. It also highlights how the fine print with eligibility restraints or low monthly payment amounts are deceptive. Being transparent about the car’s history, out-the-door cost and financing options helps your prospective customers make educated and informed decisions on their car purchase.

  3. Negotiation
    For many car buyers, their budget drives the purchase. While new and used cars have increased in price over the last year or so, NASDAQ recently reported that “used car prices are finally dropping” (2022). However, that does not mean car prices are down to where they were pre-pandemic. The pandemic caused supply chain issues that are not yet resolved. Dealers should expect car buyers to try and negotiate the price, as many are focused on the monthly car payment and will try to negotiate the price to get within their budget.

Credit Acceptance can help your dealership fund more deals and make more money. Let us help you help your customers buy a car, regardless of their credit history.

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