Survey Says

Autolist Survey: Car shoppers trust word-of-mouth advice above all

Survey respondents named a number of influences on their vehicle purchasing habits.

Photo by Getty Images

What their mother, best friend, co-worker, and children have to say matters most to car shoppers, according to a recent survey by Autolist.com. Fifty-two percent of survey respondence said that personal recommendations had the biggest influence in their car-buying decision.

"When someone in your immediate circle has a good or bad experience with anything, it makes you feel better about making the same decision," said Chase Disher, analyst at Autolist. "Because cars are such a huge purchase in our lives, word-of-mouth means that much more here."

Autolist surveyed more than 1,100 current car shoppers in late January and early February to conduct the survey. Respondents were given a list of influences on their car buying in the past and asked to pick up to three that affected them.

Those surveyed were also given other choices which included recommendations by data-backed organizations (Consumer Reports and J.D. Power), media awards, YouTube reviews, community recommendations (Reddit, Facebook groups, online forums), and social media influencers on platforms.

Respondents ranked "Data-backed media recommendations" second with 33 percent of those surveyed saying that they had influenced past vehicle purchases.

Coming in third place was media awards. Publications including MotorTrend and Car & Driver give annual awards. Other influential awards come from the North American Car, Truck, and Utility of the Year jury, Kelley Blue Book, and Cars.com.

A close fourth was YouTube. Across all age groups, 22 percent of shoppers said that YouTube played a roll in their buyer choice.

Social media influencers came in seventh, chosen by 11 percent of respondents.

Nine percent of respondents chose "none of the above."

The results change when 18-23 year old buyers' choices are isolated. They too chose word-of-mouth as their top influence but named YouTube as their second favorite.

A new Autolist survey shows that American car buyers are still likely to buy a car in 2020, just not right now.

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As the stock market see-saws between positive and negative territory on an almost daily basis, the chief question for automakers is, "Will people still buy our cars?" There's no need to produce more vehicles if no one has plans to buy the ones already on dealership lots.

A recent Autolist survey of 1,500 current car shoppers found that many had worries about the economy but were still planning on buying a vehicle at some point this year.

Respondents submitted their answers between March 2 and March 24. On March 12, the COVID-19 outbreak was classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The results received between March 2 and 11 were grouped together and those received post-pandemic announcement were grouped separately.

According to Autolist,

"Prior to the pandemic declaration on March 11, 80 percent of the car shoppers Autolist polled said they didn't expect the coronavirus to affect their decision to buy a vehicle in 2020. That number fell to 60 percent for shoppers who responded after the pandemic declaration."

Many automakers are recognizing the road ahead is uphill. They are currently offering heavy incentives and zero percent financing for qualified customers. Still, J.D. Power has revised its new vehicle sales projections for 2020 for 16.8 million sales to between 14 and 16 million, estimating that March sales will end up down around 41 percent from 2019.

Some vehicle sales companies, like Carvana, offer the opportunity to purchase a vehicle online, with very little human-to-human contact. Cadillac recently launched a virtual shopping experience and Ford is promoting low-risk vehicle maintenance services in addition to producing supplies for medical workers to use to help combat the effects of the coronavirus.

Toyotas reign supreme on used car lots in San Antonio.

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From family sedans to electric vehicles to off-road friendly SUVs and farm trucks, the Texas used vehicle market could not be more diverse. December is widely regarded as the best time to buy a new car. Before you're ready to unload your current model, take a look at what used vehicles San Antonio area buyers were keenest to purchase in 2019.

AutomotiveMap has partnered with Autolist.com to share this data. To come up with the results, Autolist looked at more than 4 million used vehicles that left the Autolist marketplace from April to September 2019 (six months). Only vehicles from the 2015 to 2018 model years were included due to the high concentration of the used market found in that timeframe. Vehicles with fewer than 100 miles on them were excluded from the analysis, as well as low-volume specialty models.

The results for the San Antonio data set include the fastest-selling vehicles in the San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas area.

No. 13 (Tie) - Dodge Journey

2017 Dodge Journey

Median Days on the Market: 26

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

No. 13 (Tie) - Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

2017 Jeep Wrangler Un,

Median Days on the Market: 26

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

No. 13 (Tie) - Ford Mustang

2017 Ford Mustang

Median Days on the Market: 26

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

No. 13 (Tie) - Dodge Charger

2017 Dodge Charger

Median Days on the Market: 26

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

No. 13 (Tie) - Honda Civic

2017 Honda Civic

Median Days on the Market: 26

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

No. 13 (Tie) - Dodge Challenger

2017 Dodge Challenger

Median Days on the Market: 26

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

No. 7 (Tie) - Ford Explorer

2017 Ford Explorer

Median Days on the Market: 24

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

No. 7 - Ford Fusion

2017 Ford Fusion

Median Days on the Market: 24

​Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

No. 5 - Toyota 4Runner

2017 Toyota 4Runner

Median Days on the Market: 23.5

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

No. 4 (Tie) - Toyota Corolla

2016 Toyota Corolla

Median Days on the Market: 23

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

No. 4 (Tie) - Nissan Sentra

2017 Nissan Sentra

Median Days on the Market: 23

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

No. 2 - Toyota RAV4

2016 Toyota RAV4

Median Days on the Market: 22

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Fastest-Selling Used Vehicle in San Antonio: Toyota Tacoma

2017 Toyota Tacoma

Median Days on the Market: 21

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.