Consumers clearly want to spend less time buying a car or truck.
At the same time, the purchase process often still gets held up, for such reasons as dealership employees having to sift through duplicate leads or reenter information they already keyed in.
A new survey of dealership leaders and vehicle buyers, being released Monday, Feb. 7, suggests that improving dealerships' processes can help mitigate some of those friction points, in turn reducing transaction times. And dealers are open to making changes, the findings show.
CDK Global Inc. and the National Automobile Dealers Association's NADA Academy surveyed 303 dealership leaders — some of whom are customers of Roadster, the digital retailing platform CDK purchased last year — between Dec. 31 and Jan. 9. Additionally, they polled 1,113 consumers in January who purchased a vehicle in the past 12 months.
Waiting is still the biggest pain point for consumers, the survey found, with roughly 4 in 10 buyers saying they waited at the dealership for some reason, such as to meet with a sales employee or someone in the finance office. About 61 percent of shoppers who responded said they waited at least a half hour to meet with a finance-and-insurance manager.
The biggest share of respondents — a third of consumers and nearly half of dealership leaders — said a vehicle purchase took between one and two hours at a dealership to complete, according to the survey. Dealership respondents on average said a purchase took 1.8 hours, while consumers on average estimated time spent at 2.1 hours.
Process time ultimately was related in part to how long dealership employees spent chasing repeat leads or retyping customers' information, the survey found. For example, when the sales process was reported to take three hours or longer, 57 percent of dealership respondents said reentering information was a pain point. By contrast, when the process took an hour or less, just 29 percent identified that as a pain point, according to the survey.
For Internet and business development center managers, 75 percent of those who said the transaction took three hours or longer pointed to duplicate leads as a pain point.
The array of new software tools that dealerships have adopted to enable online transactions don't always interact smoothly with one another, which can create the need for employees to reenter information into multiple systems, a CDK executive said.