How car shopping, buying could change as shoppers alter the rules

Car shopping will look a lot different in the future if car shoppers get their way. That would include fewer visits to dealerships.

Only about one-third of 2,500 shoppers questioned in a recent survey by Swapalease leasing marketplace said they would prefer buying from a dealership in the traditional way in the future.

Many would prefer mobile dealerships “where all the cars come to my house and I pick the one I want.”


The survey, which separated male and female results, found some interesting differences between them across questions ranging from “How would you like to shop for cars in the future?” to “What type of in-vehicle technologies will influence the selection of your next vehicle the most?”

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On the question of shopping in the future, significant majorities of men (66.67 percent) and women (56.25 percent) want dealers to submit bids, and around 35 percent of each would prefer “showtailing,” or looking at cars at the dealership but then buying online.

Photo: Car shopping at the mall?
Car shopping at the mall?

Among other results of the Swapalease survey:

About one-third of men and a quarter of women would like to “buy cars online with no physical dealer.”

Around 20 percent of men and 17 percent of women would like to see mobile dealerships, which may not be possible, unless they’re talking about visiting Mobile, AL.

Almost three times as many men would like to buy cars from a storefront in a shopping mall.

The question about which technologies would influence selection of their next vehicle showed very high acceptance of most features among men, but somewhat less so among women, with respondents allowed to choose all features that would apply to their decisions.

More than half the male drivers identified back-up camera systems (64.32 percent), in-vehicle WiFi (59.8 percent), cutting-edge navigation systems (58.97 percent), lane-departure systems (51.76 percent) and brake assistance (51.26 percent). Just under half the males identified sophisticated high-end audio systems (47.24 percent) and radar-based cruise control (41.71 percent).

Women favored back-up camera systems (68.25 percent), in-vehicle WiFi (60.42 percent) and cutting-edge navigation systems (58.33 percent). Three of the four other technologies – radar cruise control, lane-departure systems and high-end audio systems – would influence only about 31 percent of women.

In what may be another flight of fancy among survey respondents and/or stab at humor by Swapalease, about 65.5 percent of men and 58.3 percent of women would like to see “every home garage outfitted with a diagnostic center that can do regular oil changes and servicing.”

The survey results clearly suggest dealers will have to work even harder in the future for your business.