About half of consumers who use the Internet to shop for new vehicles would rather buy cars directly from the factory - even if cutting out the middleman didn't save them any money.
That is the conclusion of a study by consulting firm J.D. Power and Associates of Agoura Hills, Calif., which surveyed 400 recent new-car buyers who used the Internet to shop for vehicles, whether it was just to research the purchase or to arrange the transaction.
'That's amazing when you consider these people were told they would have to give up many conveniences to buy from the factory,' said Chris Denove, director of consulting services for J.D. Power.
'They were told they couldn't drive home the vehicle in the same day, and they would have to wait for delivery. And they couldn't test drive the same vehicle they want to buy. They would have to test drive a similar vehicle at a regional test-drive facility.'
The study also says slightly more than half would buy directly from the factory if it would save them $1,000, and 70 percent would buy direct if it would save them $3,000.
The car buyers most likely to avoid dealerships tend to be younger consumers who buy high-volume import makes such as Toyota and Honda. Consumers over 50 and those who buy luxury car lines prefer the personal attention they receive at a dealership.
Generally, the main reason car buyers prefer to do business with a dealership is that they want a local operation that can address potential problems with the transaction or the vehicle.