The cost of cars is by far the top priority for car-buyers as the cost of living crisis bites, according to new findings from Close Brothers Motor Finance’s Dealer Satisfaction Survey.
Almost three quarters of dealers (74%) put the cost of the car at the top of the list of customer priorities when looking to buy, followed by the mileage (26%). Other priorities included extras like the sound system or Sat Nav (12%) and the colour (12%).
Similarly, when asked about the biggest areas of concern for car-buyers, more than half of dealers (52%) said the rising costs of used cars. This is much higher than the number who named the rising costs of new cars (21%), though this might be because of a high proportion of used car dealers in the survey respondents.
Around a third of dealers (31%) said that the availability of specific makes and models was a top concern for buyers, reflecting the impact of supply chain issues and the semiconductor shortage on stock availability.
A mere 10% said that the legislation around petrol & diesel were a concern, and only 2% spoke about the battery life for alternative fuel vehicles.
Car buying can be a complex process, and dealers play a vital role in advising and supporting customers. When asked what elements buyers needed most help understanding, a huge 62% said customers needed help working out how much car finance should or will cost.
This is significantly more than the 26% who said road tax and MOTs, and the 12% whose customers needed help with credit checks and the T&Cs of finance agreements.
Lisa Watson, Director of Sales, Close Brothers Motor Finance, said, “The soaring cost of living and spiralling energy bills are forcing consumers to hit the brakes on big ticket purchases, and that has caused a softening of demand for cars. Drivers may not be as confident as they once were; the value of dealer advice and insight is higher than ever.
“Dealers need to step up to bat, ensuring that they have the right stock on their forecourt at a fair price and with a comprehensive finance offering. Given the supply chain issues, it has never been more important to get stock sourcing and pricing right. Ultimately, dealers who provide the best service to customers now, in a time of economic crisis, will come out on top in years to come.”