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.

FCA's new giving and business initiative is called "Drive Forward".

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

A new initiative by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles called "Drive Forward" will allow customers to take advantage of low-cost financing, online vehicle purchasing, and several donations to aid the nation.

"We are all one community and we can help during these unprecedented times," said Olivier Francois, Chief Marketing Officer, FCA. "We want to both offer consumers support and assist them financially while we all work hand in hand toward better days. And we'll continue to explore additional opportunities as a company to help as we all navigate our way through this difficult time together."

FCA Brands - Fiat, Chrysler, Ram Trucks, Jeep, Alfa Romeo, Dodge

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Today, FCA launched a new Online Retail Experience (ORE). According to a release, "ORE is a digital retailing solution that allows customers to complete the entire vehicle purchase process online and from the comfort of their own homes. Not only can consumers purchase a vehicle off a dealer lot, they can conduct a vehicle trade-in, apply for credit, receive price and payment estimates and review service protection plan options."

Customers can explore the new shopping experience via the company's branded Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram Truck, Fiat, and Alpha Romeo websites. A local dealership works to finalize the sale and deliver the vehicle to the purchaser's home.

FCA is also offering well-qualified buyers zero percent financing for 84 months and no payments for 90 days on select FCA 2019 and 2020 models.

In March, the company announced that they would work to produce 1 million face masks per month to aid first responders and health care workers. Now, FCA has announced that it is donating 1 million meals to school children across North America as well.