Marketing Exec Leads Internet Site Panel in Discussing Price Transparency

Price negotiation for most consumers is often described as one of the most arduous parts of the purchase process, according to Joel Ewanick, managing partner of Global Automotive Systems, Inc. The former GM chief marketing officer led a panel discussion about “Vehicle Price Transparency” with four third-party website executives at the October J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable (AMR) in Las Vegas, NV. Excerpts from the panel discussion are highlighted in this post.

Moderator: Joel Ewanick, managing partner, Global Auto Systems, Inc.

 Panel Members:

Seth Berkowitz, president and COO,

Larry Dominique, executive vice president, TrueCar, Inc.

Jared Rowe, President, Kelley Blue Book

Alex Vetter, senior vice president,

Third-Party Website Leaders Define Business Models

Joel: I see that companies like yours are trying to help the consumer through the process. Can you explain what you do, what your business model is, and then we’ll start to compare and contrast?

Seth (Edmunds): “At Edmunds, we’re working through a major transition. For years, we’ve been an information and pricing authority. We probably have the largest repository of automotive information on the Internet with somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.5 million pages of content. We’ve decided that being this comprehensive encyclopedia of automotive information isn’t enough. . . We’ve decided to make car buying easier. We are going to do this by fostering trust—which is at an all-time low— between consumers and dealers.” Continue reading ›

Certified Used Vehicles are More Attractive to India’s New-Vehicle Buyers


Mohit Arora

Some 13% of new-vehicle buyers in India considered a used vehicle during their shopping process—an increase of 10% over the past three years, according to our 2013 India Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, which evaluates sales satisfaction among 8,434 new-vehicle owners who purchased their new vehicle between September 2012 and April 2013.

Findings show that more than one-third (37%) of new-vehicle buyers who considered a used vehicle this year indicated using the Internet during their shopping process to find information about vehicle financing, trade-in options and service-related issues.

In contrast, only 27% of new-vehicle owners who only considered new vehicles used the Internet for shopping, primarily to look up vehicle features and specifications. Continue reading ›

How Important is the Internet to Attracting New Vehicle Shoppers in the U.S.?


Tim Dunne

With sales of new light vehicles in the United States continuing to rebound from the great recession years (light-vehicle sales are up 7% in the first trimester of 2013, after having increased 13% in 2012), one question that automotive marketers might be asking themselves is: How important is the Internet to attracting new-vehicle shoppers?

Based on J.D Power’s 2012 Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, four out of five new-vehicle buyers are Automotive Internet Users (AIUs)—people who use the Internet to shop for their new vehicle. By far, the most frequently accessed automotive content on websites and mobile apps are vehicle pricing information (64% of shoppers say they search for this information), and model information such as vehicle options, features and technical specifications (63% search for this information). Other popular uses in the online shopping experience include vehicle comparisons (48%), build-a-vehicle, and photo galleries (each 46%). Continue reading ›

Online Ratings/Review Sites, Social Networking Sites Influence Dealer Selection

Chris Sutton

New-vehicle buyers, 80% of which use the Internet during the shopping process, are much more likely to use an online ratings/review site than a social networking site to select a dealer, according to our 2012 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study. Yet, our study finds that satisfaction with the dealership experience is significantly higher among new-vehicle buyers who consult social networking sites than among those new-vehicle buyers who use ratings/review sites.

For years, a majority of new-vehicle buyers have accessed the Internet to research model information, vehicle features, configurations and pricing. However, this year’s study also finds that nearly one-third consult online ratings/review sites. These neutral online ratings/review sites are playing a key role in whether a buyer will be willing to visit a dealership. Continue reading ›

Gathering Together to Talk about Present and Future Auto Shoppers

Arianne Walker

Consumers are relying more and more on digital devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to help them in their vehicle shopping process. Also, new-vehicle shoppers are going online nearly as soon as they decide to buy a vehicle, according to the latest research presented by J.D. Power experts on Wed., Oct. 24, at the 2012 Automotive Marketing Roundtable (AMR) in Las Vegas, NV. The three-day event (Oct. 23-25) at the Bellagio Hotel is being attended by a record 1,400 participants.

To attract shoppers, the auto industry—automakers, marketers, advertisers, website and search engine providers, and dealers—needs to have a much better understanding of the ways that shoppers—especially younger generation buyers—are using the Internet. During an opening Automotive Marketing Overview, J.D. Power’s Arianne Walker, senior director, Media and Marketing Solutions, spoke about trends from J.D. Power new-vehicle buyer and consumer behavior research. A few key points:

Digital Research has Biggest Impact on Millennials

• A majority of new-vehicle shoppers (80%) are Automotive Internet Users (AIUs), meaning that they go online as part of their shopping process

• Millennials, those born between 1977 and 1994, will be in the market buying vehicles in large numbers by 2020, based on their life stages.

• These Millennial shoppers are more than twice as likely as other generation shoppers to use social media and blogs for shopping.

• Digital research has a greater impact (46% of shoppers indicate it  has a large impact) on make/model purchased in comparison to the price paid (39%)

• For Millennials, digital information has an even greater impact across the board in determining their selection of make/model; viewing pricing; selecting a dealer and choosing a lender.

• These younger generation buyers use more kinds of content, particularly photo galleries, interactive 360 views, and payment estimators

• New-vehicle shoppers who read dealer reviews are 6 times more likely to click through to the dealership website (source: Continue reading ›

Cross-Shopping Multiple Models Increases In India

Mohit Arora

More of India’s new-vehicle buyers are shopping around and looking at multiple vehicles during the car-buying process than ever before. This year, 28% of new-vehicle buyers in India considered one or more vehicles before making their ultimate purchase decision, which is up from just 23% in 2011, according to our 2012 India Escaped Shopper Study.

Repeat buyers tend to be driving this trend of cross-shopping. One-third of these buyers (those who are purchasing a second vehicle or replacing a household vehicle) considered one or more models during their shopping activity this year—up 9% from 2011. In contrast, first-time buyers tend to be more conservative and their cross-shopping rate remains largely unchanged from 2011 at 20%.

Our study also finds that repeat buyers are more involved in the shopping process and are more likely to visit a dealership and test drive new models before making their purchase decision. It appears evident that the increase in cross-shopping has also risen due to the launch of several new models and a wider range of vehicle choices in the market. Continue reading ›

New-Vehicle Buyers in India Engage Family, Friends in Purchase Experience

Mohit Arora

In India, nine out of 10 new-vehicle buyers shop with a family member or friend, which can make it more difficult to satisfy these buyers during the sales and purchase experience in comparison to buyers who shop alone for a new vehicle, according to our 2011 India Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, which is based on responses from 6,840 new-vehicle owners. In addition, the study finds that new-vehicle buyers who are accompanied by family or friends are more apt to shop across brands and dealerships.

It’s evident that family members are trusted advisors throughout the purchase process for many new-vehicle buyers in India, and this is especially true when customers are buying their first new vehicle. These first-time new-vehicle buyers, who bring family members or friends to the dealership, tend to be more critical of the sales experience than are return buyers.

Among new-vehicle buyers who shop with family members, satisfaction with the sales experience averages 823 on a 1,000-point scale. If they shop with a friend, the satisfaction score drops even further—averaging just 807. However, buyers who visit the dealer alone are more satisfied—the satisfaction score averages 835. Continue reading ›