Saw some interesting research this morning which raises some questions around the power of automotive brands today . The research shows that 40% of potential car buyers search car manufacturer and dealer websites but 46% just start with Google. Almost one-third opt for car magazines and online reviews and 30% go to classified websites. The research was published by Motoring.co.uk.
The report also revealed that only one in four users order a brochure and one out of five book a test drive when going to a car manufacturer’s website, with young potential buyers scoring the lowest percentage of all age groups, just under 23%.
The group of young users, aged 18-24, in general tends to visit manufacturers’ websites the least, with about one in three doing so. We could assume this is because very few would buy a car new. At the other end of the spectrum were the 45/54-year-old users, who were most likely to engage in all of the methods of research mentioned above. Over half of them visited dealer sites, 47% went to manufacturer web pages and one-third ordered a brochure or signed up for a test drive.
More and more buyers use the Internet to make their choice and this changes the car selling business, the sales director of Motoring.co.uk Chris Green said. Buyers today are not as loyal to a certain brand as they were before and choose their next car after they have been fully informed. Hence Google’s domination is not surprising, as it gives them all the necessary details, Green added.
This falls in line the dealership marketing strategies that have been put in place over the past few years. With less brand allegiance, car manufacturers have invested in CRM programmes, and trade in deals to minimise consumer brand switching. The focus has been on protecting market share, rather than growing it, and the dealer networks have been key to this. It is likely that we’ll see many more dealerships deploying far more sophisticated local marketing programmes supported by brand HQ.