The changing face of the modern car buyer

Not only are today’s car buyers changing the way they find the car they will ultimately purchase, but they have also changed their attitudes towards the actual process of buying that car. It is no longer the men who have the exclusive right to make the choosing and buying decisions. Although women have long had an influence in the decision making process they are now taking much more of a lead and, because of the internet, they are much better informed. It may seem to some men, and let’s face it today’s motor trade although happily much more inclusive than in the past, is still dominated by men, that women are only interested in the colour and the badge and how easy the thing is to park! Clearly this has changed for the better, with women not so hung up with brand loyalty and more likely to buy a car that is the most practical and represents the best value for money. There is also a clearer sense of what is important to car buyers today and unsurprisingly, in these trying times, the all round package is now far more important than haggling over the sticker price. For example dealers are telling us that when presenting a car for sale the questions being asked are far more frequently based around fuel efficiency, maintenance, servicing costs and road tax savings. In practical terms the “green” message is not as important to buyers as the financial one. If buyers can buy green and save themselves money at the same time they are more likely to buy in to the overall concept, feel good about themselves in the process and tell their friends and family they’re “doing their bit” for the environment. With many products available to buyers today and therefore more profit opportunities for dealers, negotiating a bespoke package for each customer is mutually beneficial and if buyers perceive that a package looks great value to them and contains all their important needs they are far more likely to buy the car even if it’s maybe not their first choice. With low rate finance, free insurance, service packages, extended warranties, GAP policies and paintwork protection etc there are so many products that are appealing to customers and which are financially rewarding for dealers that the trick for buyers is in deciding which products they really want (and, more importantly, need) and do the research to make sure they don’t pay over the odds for them.

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