What are the Biggest Frustrations for New Car Buyers?

The biggest frustrations for new car buyers include spending time on buying, negotiating prices, and dealing with salespeople, difficulty in searching dealer inventory or inaccurate inventory information and problems in applying for vehicle financing. It is found that new buyers spend nearly half of the time on negotiations and paperwork at a car dealership.

In this other post, you will discover The Biggest Vehicle Ownership Frustrations. Also, feel free to check out Best and Worst Cars going into 2021.

1. Time Spent on the Buying Process

  • According to Cox Automotive’s recent Car Buyer Journey Survey, about 52% of buyers were dissatisfied with the time taken for buying a new car at a dealership. Further, about 33% of respondents considered paperwork among the top frustrations when buying a car.
  • It is found that 90% of buyers prefer shopping at a dealership that offers an online buying process, and about 72% would be interested in visiting dealerships more often if the buying process was improved.
  • It is noted that consumers who used online tools to complete paperwork spent about 45 minutes less at the dealership and reported a better buying experience. Further, about 60% of consumers would like to utilize the time saved with online processing to know the vehicle better.

2. Negotiating Prices and Deals

  • Cox Automotive’s report reveals that 27% of buyers consider price negotiations frustrating, and 20% complain about finding the best price at dealerships.
  • Assurant’s recent survey states that 20% of customers found pricing negotiation a significant pain point when buying a new car. Further, about 9% of buyers report that dealerships offer too little financing and insurance options.
  • According to Autotrader, about 72% of buyers are interested in completing their credit application and financing work online.
  • CapitalOne’s survey reveals that about 57% of respondents seek improvements in the car buying process, particularly in transparent financing options and clarity on dealer incentives.

3. Dealing with Salespeople

  • Cox Automotive’s report states that 16% of buyers consider dealing with salespeople to be frustrating. Alternatively, Assurant’s report reveals that about 15% of buyers think salespeople are too pushy.
  • It is noted that about 6% of buyers had to wait too long for a salesperson, and another 6% of customers did not find salespeople to be helpful.
  • Six in 10 buyers are interested in getting help from the dealership staff, but they require a product specialist to learn more about vehicles and not a salesperson.
  • According to Cox Automotive, about 70% of respondents were interested in the idea of a “Brand Experience Center,” wherein the customers can get product details without the help of a salesperson.

4. Difficulty Searching Dealer Inventory/Finding a Vehicle

  • As per the 2020 Car Buyer Journey study published by Cox Automotive, nearly 12% of the car buyers have stated difficulty in searching dealer inventory to find the right or the desired vehicle to be among the top frustrations in the new car buying process.
  • A similar study by Cox Automotive in 2019 also revealed that problems in searching dealership inventory were among the top frustrations for new car buyers. Nearly 16% of the buyers had expressed this as a concern in the 2019 study as well.
  • A survey by Assurant highlighted that nearly 6% of the American car buyers were unhappy and complained about the low quality and poorly maintained inventory at the dealerships.
  • An infographic by the market research company Lab42 also corroborates the above findings and outlines that finding the right car to buy from the available dealer inventory is among the top frustrations of new car buyers.
  • The Lab42 survey highlights that nearly 52% of the car buyers are not sure about the make or model that they intend to buy before arriving at the dealership, and hence the deluge of available buying options and lack of a robust inventory search tool at dealerships makes it frustrating and confusing for the buyers to make the right choice.
  • An article by Perficient indicates that inaccurate inventory listings are a huge problem plaguing the automotive shopping process. Since consumers spend a great amount of time searching the dealer inventory listings to find the right car for them, the non-availability of the selected model due to lapses in the inventory listing leads to a terrible and frustrating car buying experience.

5. Applying for Financing

  • The 2020 Cox Automotive study highlights that getting access to and applying for vehicle financing is another major frustration in the car buying journey of American consumers. Nearly 12% of the buyers have expressed this as a major pain-point in their new car buying process.
  • This has continued to be a persistent pain-point for new car buyers, and even in the 2019 Cox survey, 12% of the new car buyers had highlighted vehicle financing to be one of their top frustrations.
  • The Lab42 survey also indicates that understanding financing terms and how the same works are among the major frustrations and pain-points for new car buyers in the US.
  • A 2019 survey of US consumers conducted by FICO also identified the vehicle financing application process to be a major frustration in the consumer car purchase journey. The survey indicated that 91% of the buyers “would accept, or at least consider, an instant vehicle loan offer if it meant they could avoid dealing with a bank or doing extra paperwork.”
  • The FICO survey further outlined that a majority of US new car buyers (58%) waited over 30 minutes to complete their financing process, while 42% of buyers waited less than 30 minutes to finalize their loan financing, compared to 43% globally.
  • As per eLendSolutions, the main buyer pain-points in the car financing process are the length of time it takes (including background ID check and approval process), filling out long forms (F&I process, clipboards, in-store), and lack of online shopping functionality.
Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at The Digital Momentum with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

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