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Car shopping trends

May 13, 2014

Are car salespeople dishonest?

That depends on who you ask, though the majority of Americans seem to have made up their mind.

According to a recent survey from DMEautomotive (DMEa), a marketing company that specializes in automotive trends, only 21 percent of respondents claim they view car salespeople as “trustworthy.” That puts car salespeople on a lower rung than lawyers, mortgage brokers and insurance salespeople. However, Americans viewed car salespeople as more trustworthy than politicians or telemarketers.

Many Americans don't trust car salespeople.
The DMEa survey wasn't a small sample size, either. The firm polled 2,000 automotive consumers, and also found that less people are heading into showrooms. DMEa reported that 68 percent of buyers only visited two dealerships or fewer before buying a vehicle, while 40 percent only visited one dealer.

Women proved to me more weary of dealerships than men, as 46 percent of women visited one or fewer to look at inventory. Meanwhile, men came in at 41 percent for this category. Women also tended to skip test drives, with 19 percent skipping them before purchase compared to 12 percent of men.

“This avoidance of physical dealerships is in stark contrast with how much online vehicle research is happening:  4 in 5 people now use the Internet for car buying, visiting 10 auto websites in the process,” said Dr. Mary Sheridan, DMEa's manager of research and analytics. “More people are stealthily comparison-shopping dealerships and inventory online, and then swooping in to buy when their minds are already made up.”

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Other car shopping revelations

The survey from DMEa also found that used-car buyers make slightly more dealership visits to check out inventory than new buyers do, as 38 percent of consumers buying used visit three or more dealerships compared to 28 percent of new buyers.

Younger buyers are also more likely to test drive a car than their older counterparts. Of those younger than 35, 57 percent took more than one vehicle for a test drive. For those older than 35, 48 percent drove more than one vehicle.