To save time when car shopping, many consumers use the internet or read newspapers and magazines to learn all they can about a vehicle before venturing into a showroom. It’s surprising, then, that the average time spent at a dealership in making a purchase rose 8.3 minutes this year to an average of 187 minutes — more than three hours!
That’s J.D. Power and Associates’ finding in its just-released annual Sales Satisfaction survey of new-vehicle buyers.
Not surprisingly, the more satisfied you are with the sales experience, the less time you spent in the store. Those most pleased spent an average of 177 minutes in the dealership, while those least pleased spent an average of 195 minutes.
The extra time this year versus last was mostly accounted for in three areas — negotiating the deal (up three minutes to an average of 41), selecting the vehicle to buy (up two minutes to 49), and waiting after negotiating the price before being sent to the F&I office to arrange financing and get the extended warranty pitch (up two minutes to 32).
“With so many different incentives, consumer need to digest every kernel of information about what the incentives are or if they have changed, and that means they spend more time,” says Jerry Cizek, president of the Chicago Automobile Dealer Association.
Knowing that the car has a navigation system or USB port before you enter the store is one thing, but “explaining the details and features, especially of a navigation system, can be complex and take time,” he said.
The good news is that delivery time — from signing the last paper to having a newly washed car pulled up to the front of the store — has come down — by 15 seconds, to 30 minutes.