Survey Says

Capital One study reveals 74 percent of buyers aren't confident car shoppers

The car buying process is a hassle for most buyers, according to a new study.

Photo by Getty Images

Its a hassle that's been played out comically in commercials for years. The salesman and buyer decide on a price for a new vehicle and the salesman then heads to the back room where he's supposed to be negotiating with the finance team but instead makes himself a cup of coffee. Meanwhile, the nervous buyers sit and wait for what seems like hours.

It's no wonder that dealerships are the biggest pain point in the car buying process. A Cars.com study recently found that potential car buyers would rather clean toilets than go through the hassle.

A new survey by Capital One reveals the factors that lead to buyers' anxiety. To get the results, a survey of 1,004 U.S. adults ages 18 and older was conducted on behalf of Capital One Auto Finance using Engine Insight's Online CARAVAN omnibus in September 2019.

Capital One - Auto Navigator Infographic Graphic courtesy of Capital One

The results showed just how far dealerships still need to go to ease the process and how much educational opportunity there still is for buyers.

Only 26 percent of respondents said that they feel very confident when shopping for a car. This is a six percent increase over the 2018 results.

The lack of confidence came from three major areas:

  • 27% said it was because they did not have finances in order when visiting a dealership
  • 43% revealed that it was because of lack of research into the vehicle they're shopping for
  • 28% attributed the anxiety to past car buying experiences

In the 2018 survey, 16 percent of respondents said that they felt "like a boss" when car shopping. In 2019, that number rose to 24 percent.

"Car shopping should be enjoyable instead of stressful, and with a little pre-work, consumers can ensure their decision complements their lifestyle and budget," said Jeffrey Rabinowitz, managing vice president, Capital One Auto Finance. "We found that 88 percent of consumers surveyed understand what it means to pre-qualify for financing, but only half are willing to try it."

Financing is traditionally the longest part of the car buying process, which Cars.com says lasts around four hours on average.

While budget is the largest determination of which vehicle a buyer selects, 28 percent of Capital One survey responders said that they are also looking for the lowest monthly payment while 27 percent focused more on the final sale price. Just 20 percent of potential buyers said that they were concerned with the total cost of ownership.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents said that they are looking for improvements in the car buying process, especially when it comes to transparency in financing options, negotiations and more clarity on dealer incentives and promotions.

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The 2022 Acura TLX has the technology enabled.

Photo courtesy of Acura

Toyota and Lexus announced that the WarnerMedia RIDE app would be coming to their models earlier this year. Now, Honda and Acura will be offering the same.

On certain Wi-Fi enabled Honda and Acura vehicles, AT&T unlimited in-car Wi-Fi users will have access to the WarnerMedia RIDE app. The app allows users to connect multiple devices in their vehicles to browse, stream and share premium content from the WarnerMedia library while on the road.

Honda and Acura vehicle owners have been able to use their on-board modem as a hot spot for connecting up to seven devices since 2017. Models compatible for the new tech include the Acura RDX (2019-present), Acura TLX (2021), and Acura MDX (2022) across all trim levels. Honda vehicles with the tech include Accord (2018-present, Touring), Odyssey (2018-present; Touring, Elite), Insight (2019-present, Touring)., Passport (2019-present; Touring, Elite)., and Pilot (2019-present; Touring, Elite, Black Edition).

The WarnerMedia RIDE App allows passengers to access 1,000+ hours of live and on-demand entertainment. The app includes hit TV shows and movies from top brands such as Cartoon Network, CNN, HBO Max, TBS, TNT and TruTV, spanning animation, entertainment, news, sports and more.

WarnerMedia RIDE app The WarnerMedia RIDE app allows users to choose their own avatar.Photo courtesy of Acura

Users can set up profiles and personalize their user exerpience with an avatar from the WarnerMedia library. Profiles also ensure age-appropriate content with options for adults to restrict access to their profiles with an access code.

"Wireless connectivity and connected car services continue to be key features for customers and our long-standing relationship with AT&T continues to be one way we deliver exciting new content to Honda and Acura owners," said Art St. Cyr, vice president of North American Auto Strategy for American Honda. "Honda will continue working to enhance the in-car experience, including the capabilities of the AT&T network and access to top content with WarnerMedia RIDE."

"We're always looking for new and innovative ways to elevate the connected car experience for our customers. With WarnerMedia RIDE, we are delivering a connected experience that's perfect for journeys," said Joe Mosele, vice president, Mobility & Internet of Things, AT&T. "Our collaboration is keeping Honda and Acura owners connected wherever they travel with hours of news and entertainment for the whole family."

WarnerMedia RIDE is available now in the App Store and on Google Play for all U.S. unlimited data plan subscribers. WarnerMedia RIDE is included at no additional cost for existing and new unlimited subscribers.

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Roundabouts are safer than traffic lights according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Photo by Pete Ark/Getty Images

New information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) points out that roundabouts are safer than traffic signals and stop signs. Roundabouts are one of 20 evidence-based safety countermeasures recommended by the Federal Highway Administration.

Studies of intersections in the United States converted from traffic signals or stop signs to roundabouts have found reductions in injury crashes of 72-80 percent and reductions in all crashes of 35-47 percent.

The logic comes down to engineering. The tight circle of a roundabout requires drivers to slow down so they can safety maneuver around the circle. Because of the ingress and egress of the roundabout's design, right-angle, left-turn, and head-on collisions are unlikely.

roundabout Europe Traffic circles, rotaries, and roundabouts are common all over the world.Photo by supergenijalac/Getty Images

Modern roundabouts build on the traditional rotary design. According to IIHS, the new style of roundabout requires vehicles to negotiate a sharper curve to enter resulting in slower speeds within the circle.

According to IIHS, research shows that traffic flow improves after intersections are converted to roundabouts. Additionally, there is less vehicle idling, which results in fewer vehicle emissions at the location.

Older traffic circles sometimes have traffic signals dictating the right of way but most modern ones only have yield signs. Some modern roundabouts feature flow-through lanes which allow shortcutting for partings simply going a quarter of the way around.

Roundabouts aren't just safer for vehicles. They have distinct advantages for pedestrians as well as they are able to walk on sidewalks around the perimeter rather than crossing only one direction at a time. Crossing distances are usually shorter than they would be during a traditional frolic through the roadway and vehicles are frequently moving slower than they usually would.

What we now know as the roundabout gained popularity in the United Kingdom in the 1960s and is seeing expanded use throughout the U.S. and Europe in modern times. The first modern roundabouts were popularized in Nevada in the 1990s.

While there are benefits for motorists and pedestrians, it comes at the cost of cyclists who are often required to ride in the road and can find themselves caught up amongst vehicles in the rotary when speciality lanes are not present.

Cycling races often bemoan the uptick in rotaries, which cause hazards to racers at speed while crashes often happening as the peloton splits to traverse the obstacle and the surrounding lane dividers.

Some states, including New York and Virginia, have adopted "roundabout first" policies requiring that roundabouts be considered a preferred alternative when building new intersections or upgrading older ones.

Up-front construction costs of roundabouts can be pricey, but the overall cost of maintenance once built is generally cheaper, according to IIHS. There is also the benefit of a lessened cost of police and firefighter time spent dealing with accidents at high-risk intersections in addition to the human life toll.

The service life of a roundabout is significantly longer, approximately 25 years, compared with 10 years for a typical traffic signal.

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