Dealerships still putting drivers off

Nearly half of drivers said they felt pressurised into buying add-ons when they last bought a vehicle from a dealership or garage.

Research from the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) found that finance and insurance products are added to 60% of car purchases, but in nearly half the cases the drivers said they felt over-charged or mis-sold finance.

This practice is part of the reason 42% of car buyers said they had avoided dealerships.

However, according to the IMI research this mis-trust could be avoided, with 64% saying buying a car would be easier if the people they were buying from were members of a regulated body. Over half said they would feel more comfortable making financial decisions relating to a car purchase if additional measures were in place to ensure they weren’t overcharged

Steve Nash, chief executive at IMI, said, ‘Our research highlights that nearly two thirds (63%) of car buyers find the process stressful, therefore it’s our role to restore consumer confidence by improving the car buying experience. This research however does underline why it’s the right time for the retail motor industry to take more responsibility to ensure anybody selling finance and insurance products has the correct training to be able to help drivers decide whether or not they would like to buy these extras when purchasing a vehicle.

‘The IMI F&I Accreditation helps safeguard customers by ensuring the salesman is giving accurate and truthful information. It also gives the car salesman the knowledge to be able to identify which products, if any, are suitable for that individual customer. This training is just one step further in ensuring the industry is providing a good quality and honest service.’

Sabina Hegarty, managing director at Calibre Group Solutions, added, ‘It’s clear from the research that perception of our industry continues to be a barrier for customers. The only way to change this is to ‘improve from within’ by developing and upskilling our people to ensure the advice they give is fair, transparent, consistent and in the best interest of the customer.

‘Savvy shoppers of today are looking for more than just a good price. Knowing that staff in a particular retailer carry additional and ‘voluntary’ IMI F&I Accreditation might be what sets them apart from their competitors and could make the difference between winning a new customer or not. F&I specialists on site need to actively improve their approach, leading to better customer satisfaction and ultimately resulting in greater consumer confidence.  It certainly won’t happen by itself.’