Research Reveals Dramatic Influence of Dealerships on Automotive Brand Building and Vehicle Purchase

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ROCHESTER, Mich., May 17 /PRNewswire/ — Foresight Research, a Rochester, Michigan based market research firm specializing in automotive research, has spent more than five years compiling data for its proprietary “2010: Automotive Marketing Return On Investment” study. As part of that study, a detailed examination of the influence of automotive dealerships on the brand and the consumer purchase decision was conducted and returned compelling results.

Over 50% of all new car buyers surveyed reported the dealership experience as being “highly influential in the purchase process”, a figure which places dealership experience higher than any other element in the car buying process for positively influencing sales — including the internet.

“At a time when the dealership network is under increased pressure across the industry, this data clearly supports that no single aspect of the automotive sales and marketing spectrum is more influential than what happens inside the dealership,” said Steve Bruyn, President of Foresight Research.

Of note, 22% of all conquest buyers reported that the experience at the dealership gave them their “first favorable opinion” of the brand they ultimately purchased. “Many buyers visit the dealer early in the shopping process, not just at the end of the process,” Bruyn stated, “so automotive marketers have a big opportunity to win new customers and build brand equity by offering attractive dealership environments.”

67% of respondents surveyed said that an inviting, modern and well-organized showroom were keys to influencing the sale. Brochure availability, financing options, accessorized vehicles and signage were also frequently mentioned as important to influencing the customer to “buy here”.

Of all buyers who were highly and positively influenced by the dealership experience, 90% suggested that their salesperson was professional; 84% noted the salesperson was knowledgeable and 66% noted the salesperson as trustworthy.

Bruyn comments on interesting findings in the report citing, for example, that 42% of all Mercury buyers and 38% of all Lincoln buyers surveyed said that dealership experience provided their first positive brand image during their purchase decision. These figures are nearly double the average of other brands.

“Customers are won at the showroom and creating positive experiences is the job of every automotive marketer and dealer,” said Bruyn. “Our data offers a clear snapshot of how OEMs and dealers currently perform and can provide insight into developing a blueprint for improving purchase influence. The study also contains media and internet habits that can be used to communicate with new car and truck buyers.”

Foresight’s complete research study offers more detailed and intricate views of the data, including by brand and major metro areas. All those interviewed were actual car buyers who had made their acquisition an average of six months prior to the interview. Foresight Research is based in metro Detroit, Michigan and can be reached on the web at www.foresightresearch.com for more information.

Source: Foresight Research

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