Okay, maybe they wouldn’t stroll 500 miles, but a new study by the eggheads of an American research group suggests that customers are now willing to travel an average of 469 miles to buy a car.
Corresponding Automotive News, the study was conducted by Quantrell Subaru, a Kentucky dealer who seems more on the ball than others whose doors your author had the misfortune to walk through. Some retailers don’t even pay for four-legged chairs or to get the mice out of the coffee maker, so commissioning a study (which sounds like schooling, horrible) would have been out of the question for them. In any case, the Quantrell survey showed that people are now far more likely to look outside their own backyard for a vehicle due to a shortage of products – both new and used.
“Most of it is just availability and the type of car you have,” Quantrell Subaru GM Brentley Jones said in an interview with Automotive News. His dealer also goes out of his way to pick up customers from the local airport when they fly in to purchase a vehicle. He goes on to say that a majority of his Fly-n-Drive clientele (our term, not his) are well-researched folks who know exactly what they want before stepping foot on the property, which tire kickers are definitely weeding out. That said, TTAC always advises buyers to inspect any used vehicle closely before signing any note, and to ensure they get a third-party inspection just to be safe. Yes, it would be annoying to fly or drive 500 miles and then not buy the vehicle you were looking at. You know what’s even more irritating? Buy a lemon and have to deal with it for the next tens of years.
riffing on the state of today’s used car market, A has also pointed out how dealer-only auctions are changing compared to their business-as-usual model that has dominated the industry for years. While the move toward digital sales, rather than crowded aisles where auctioneers routinely took bids from the Coke machine, was already underway, the pandemic accelerated these practices, damaging those who were unwilling (or refusing to bid). change).
Talking heads who know the remarketing industry estimate that over four-fifths of deals are done online today, up from around half before 2020. This is made worse by a crater in available products. One source estimated that around 64,000 vehicles passed through traditional auction channels in a week in mid-May this year, up from over 111,000 for the same period in 2019. Dealers are now experimenting with sourcing vehicles through different channels, with savvy shops finding ways to source the inventory they need without getting the headaches of stiff competition and high fees.
Back at Quantrell, a quick look at their website shows 23 vehicles in their Subaru shop with over a hundred models available through the dealer network, suggesting their used car managers are on the ball in terms of having product on the floor. No wonder some people travel long distances to their locations.
[Image: Matthew Guy]
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