Buyers of “premium” brand cars are most likely to find a dealership on the automaker’s website.
“Premium” brand websites were the most successful at connecting customers with dealers, especially German brands, led Audi with 12.8% of its customers, according to new consumer research from JudgeService. stating that they first visited the brand’s website before being referred to one of its dealers.
Other top 10 premium brands were BMW (12%), second, followed by MINI (11.4%), Volkswagen (10.9%), Volvo (9.5%), Mercedes-Benz (8 , 9%) and Jaguar (8%).
Car manufacturers’ websites were less important to major brand customers, with Ford, the UK’s biggest new and used car seller, being the top online port of call for just 4.4% of its buyers.
âOur research reveals that buyers of premium brand cars are most likely to choose the badge before finding the car itself,â said Neil Addley, Managing Director of JudgeService.
âFor them, brand equity or loyalty are vital considerations. They may aspire to own one of the brand’s cars, own one now, or have had good experience in the past and therefore associate it with good product quality. Therefore, for many of these buyers, the dealer they are buying from is almost a secondary consideration.
âBig brand dealerships have a lot less traffic from manufacturers’ websites because their customers are likely to have few existing brand preferences before they find the car they wanted to buy.
âThese buyers are more likely to settle for a good-value car with the features they need, rather than sticking to a brand they know or going for a brand with a perceived status.
âOur advice to all resellers, even those representing prestigious brands, is not to depend on the websites of their manufacturer partners. Almost a third (31%) of all buyers said they found the car they ultimately bought on a website, highlighting the importance of online marketplaces, while more than a quarter (26%) had purchased after visiting dealer websites for the first time.