Internet used by one in four car shoppers

Ebusiness consultants at KPMG Consulting said although face-to-face negotiations in showrooms are still by far the most popular method to conclude deals, the internet is becoming an important part of the purchasing process.

James Rodger, principal consultant at KPMG Consulting, said: ‘A quarter of respondents to our survey [in which it polled 756 members of the general public] said that they would be likely to use the internet when choosing a new vehicle.

‘Our survey also showed, contrary to popular opinion, that price was ranked below convenience [36%] and cost [24%] as the main advantages of shopping on the web.’

Rodger says dealers have a natural advantage because most people find buying a car an emotional experience and prefer to go into a car showroom to complete purchases, but they should not take this for granted.

‘For car dealers to assume that this in-built advantage can never be eroded would be a very risky policy,’ he said. ‘A number of new car sellers offer an integrated combination of channels such as the internet, call centres, digital TV – and could also offer physical retail locations.

‘Equally, customers may opt for alternative ways to complete their car purchase if they become more widely available, or simply more comfortable with them.

Meanwhile, dealers may soon be selling cars to online customers that allow for in-car surfing. French car manufacturer Peugeot Citroen and IT firm Vivendi plan to bring Wap-compatible services to the dashboard by 2002.

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