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How car dealers and consumers perceive the digital car buying process


Capital One recently launched the 2022 Car Buying Outlook (CBO), and Tim Mullins, National Sales Vice President with Capital One, joins us on Inside Automotive to discuss the data collected from the study.

The 2022 CBO found dealers and car buyers have different approaches to digital car buying. Dealers anticipate a more digital car buying process, but consumers plan on a mix of in-person and online car buying, says Mullins. Dealers perceive that two-thirds of car buyers completed every aspect of the process online. In reality, 75% of car buyers say they’re most comfortable with a hybrid or in-person approach. Looking ahead, 39% of future car buyers say they plan on visiting at least three dealerships for their next car purchase. 

Mullins adds that car buyers intend to do their research online, but prefer an in-person experience as they get further into the process. In fact, 44% of car buyers walk into dealerships because they either want to browse options in-person or are looking for more information they can’t find online. 

Dealers are making significant efforts to invest in digital tools, stay competitive and serve their customers. Mullins says in his experience, car dealers provide customers as much information as possible, both online and in-person, especially regarding financing. The 2022 CBO also found that car buyers prefer to discuss financing and pricing in-person, and that financing has become less frustrating for them in the last year. 

“Equipping customers with information through digital tools could make the process more transparent and also make the customer feel more confident and empowered when shopping for a car,” said Mullins. 

With that in mind, digital tools can allow car dealers to maximize their in-person offerings and provide a great in-person and online experience. With the help of these tools, car buyers can focus on the fun aspects of their purchase, like test driving and finding car features that suit their needs. These moments matter and help car dealers strengthen their relationships with consumers. 

For more insights into car buying from Capital One, check out the 2022 CBO.

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