New approaches to selling autos forced by the coronavirus crisis will play right into the desires of consumers, a study by KPMG has found.
Seventy-five percent of consumers would prefer to handle their purchase, trade-in, financing and delivery remotely, according to a survey of 2,500 U.S. consumers in the week beginning April 8. Nearly half said they'd prefer to take a test drive without having to enter a dealership.
"The whole online experience, we think people are going to be pushing for that," Gary Silberg, KPMG's auto chief for the Americas, told Automotive News.
The study says remote sales and deliveries have kept U.S. sales from a total collapse during the COVID-19 pandemic and are the future of auto retailing. Dealers have weeks, not months, to get their systems ready for e-commerce capabilities, the management consulting firm says.
Twenty-five percent of those surveyed said they were considering purchasing a vehicle within three months prior to the outbreak. Nearly half of those potential buyers said they now have a higher intention to buy or a lease a car.
Silberg credits some of that surprising result to the peace of mind people are seeking in an age consumed by fear of infection.
"The concept of safety, cleanliness, owning it myself is elevated," Silberg said.
He said consumers with small children and elderly relatives value knowing who has been in a vehicle and whether it's sanitized and safe for higher-risk individuals.