Auto dealers tend to treat their customers pretty well, proving that some stereotypes are just wrong, a new study concludes.
Consumer Reports surveyed 2,000 households with adult residents who bought a new or used car or truck from a new-car dealership in the past year. Almost 90 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with their vehicle-buying experience, the magazine said today. Fifty-seven percent were very satisfied and just five percent were dissatisfied.
Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union, an independent, nonprofit organization best known for testing and reviews of new products. The survey was conducted by Consumer Reports National Research Center.
According to the survey, 96 percent of respondents thought they got at least a fair deal and 90 percent said dealership salespeople were helpful and informed.
Rob Gentile, director of Web products for Consumer Reports, told Automotive News that his organization expected most respondents to be satisfied. But he said he was surprised by the high percentage of customers who described an overwhelmingly positive experience.
He attributed those results to more knowledgeable consumers and to savvy dealers who have adjusted to the reality that more customers come to them armed with their own research.
Despite the generally positive results, the survey uncovered problems.
Some customers, especially younger and less-affluent buyers, didnt get the best deals because dealership personnel discussed trade-in values first and negotiated the monthly payment instead of the bottom line, Consumer Reports said.
Customers need to protect themselves by doing their homework and learning about negotiating strategies, said Jeff Bartlett, deputy editor of ConsumerReports.org.