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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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Lexus has one of the best reputations as a brand, according to new research.

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

Reputation.com has ranked North America's automotive brands. Each brand was scored, with the industry average coming in at 594, the highest of any industry Reputation.com measures. However, it's not all sunshine and roses.

The industry's average dropped from February 2020's score of 603. Reputation.com says that the lower average is driven by a decrease in review volume due to Google suspending reviews for weeks in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the health crisis, Reputation.com found that a dealership's valet service is the top new driver of positive sentiment while dealership hygiene is the key driver of negative sentiment. Overall, price-related complains constitute the second-highest factor driving negative sentiment, behind service.

Nissan retained its ranking as the top dog with its Reputation Score nearly the same today as it was in February. Mitsubishi had the highest increase over the February rankings (up 54 points) while Cadillac's score dropped the most (down 45 points).

Tesla had a hard go of it. While consumers tend to like their Tesla cars, the company has the lowest rate for responding to negative reviews and lowest engagement scores, as well as worst for pricing and speed of service.

Here's a look at the brand rankings, from worst to first.

No. 32 - Genesis

2020 Genesis G70 Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

Reputation Score: 366
Sentiment Score: 65%
Visibility Score: 24%
Engagement Score: 61%

No. 31 - Cadillac

2020 Cadillac CT6 Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Reputation Score: 504
Sentiment Score: 74%
Visibility Score: 36%
Engagement Score: 80%

No. 30 - Tesla

Tesla Model S

Photo courtesy of Tesla Motors

Reputation Score: 520
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 40%
Engagement Score: 4%

No. 29 - Jaguar

2019 Jaguar I-PACE

Photo courtesy of Jaguar

Reputation Score: 542
Sentiment Score: 74%
Visibility Score: 43%
Engagement Score: 57%

No. 28 - Mazda

2020 Mazda CX-5 Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Reputation Score: 549
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 51%
Engagement Score: 64%

No. 27 - Volvo

2020 Volvo XC90 T8 Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Reputation Score: 560
Sentiment Score: 74%
Visibility Score: 43%
Engagement Score: 57%

No. 26 - Fiat

2020 Fiat 500L Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Reputation Score: 578
Sentiment Score: 66%
Visibility Score: 57%
Engagement Score: 65%

No. 25 - Land Rover

2020 Land Rover Defender Photo courtesy of Land Rover

Reputation Score: 588
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 49%
Engagement Score: 71%

No. 24 - Mitsubishi

2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors America

Reputation Score: 593
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 52%
Engagement Score: 61%

No. 23 - Volkswagen

2022 Volkswagen Taos

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Reputation Score: 596
Sentiment Score: 69%
Visibility Score: 54%
Engagement Score: 66%

No. 22 (tie) - Ram

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Reputation Score: 601
Sentiment Score: 70%
Visibility Score: 56%
Engagement Score: 63%

No. 22 (tie) - Chrysler

2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Reputation Score: 601
Sentiment Score: 70%
Visibility Score: 56%
Engagement Score: 63%

No. 20 - Jeep

2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Reputation Score: 602
Sentiment Score: 70%
Visibility Score: 56%
Engagement Score: 63%

No. 19 - Honda

2021 Honda Ridgeline

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Reputation Score: 603
Sentiment Score: 71%
Visibility Score: 56%
Engagement Score: 63%

No. 18 - Kia

2021 Kia K5 Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Reputation Score: 604
Sentiment Score: 69%
Visibility Score: 56%
Engagement Score: 63%

No. 17 - Porsche

2021 Porsche 911 Targa Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Reputation Score: 612
Sentiment Score: 78%
Visibility Score: 48%
Engagement Score: 70%

No. 16 - GMC

2020 GMC Terrain Photo courtesy of GMC

Reputation Score: 614
Sentiment Score: 74%
Visibility Score: 52%
Engagement Score: 68%

No. 15 - Dodge

2020 Dodge Challenger

Photo courtesy of Dodge

Reputation Score: 615
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 56%
Engagement Score: 64%

No. 14 - Chevrolet

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet​

Reputation Score: 616
Sentiment Score: 73%
Visibility Score: 53%
Engagement Score: 69%

No. 13 - Infiniti

2021 Infiniti Q50 Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Reputation Score: 617
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 54%
Engagement Score: 70%

No. 12 - Audi

Audi E-Tron Sportback Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Reputation Score: 625
Sentiment Score: 73%
Visibility Score: 56%
Engagement Score: 71%

No. 11 - Hyundai

2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Reputation Score: 626
Sentiment Score: 73%
Visibility Score: 59%
Engagement Score: 66%

No. 10 - MINI

2020 MIIN Cooper Photo courtesy of MINI

Reputation Score: 630
Sentiment Score: 79%
Visibility Score: 50%
Engagement Score: 68%

No. 9 - Ford

2021 Ford Ranger Lariat Tremor Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Reputation Score: 631
Sentiment Score: 73%
Visibility Score: 59%
Engagement Score: 68%

No. 8 - Mercedes-Benz

2020 Mercedes-AMG C63 S

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Reputation Score: 633
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 59%
Engagement Score: 69%

No. 7 - Toyota

2018 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Reputation Score: 633
Sentiment Score: 71%
Visibility Score: 62%
Engagement Score: 74%

No. 6 - BMW

2021 BMW M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe Photo courtesy of BMW

Reputation Score: 654
Sentiment Score: 75%
Visibility Score: 61%
Engagement Score: 73%

No. 5 - Lincoln

Lincoln Aviator Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Co.

Reputation Score: 658
Sentiment Score: 73%
Visibility Score: 63%
Engagement Score: 71%

No. 4 - Acura

2021 Acura TLX

Photo courtesy of Acura

Reputation Score: 666
Sentiment Score: 78%
Visibility Score: 57%
Engagement Score: 71%

No. 3 - Subaru

2020 Subaru Crosstrek Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

Reputation Score: 669
Sentiment Score: 75%
Visibility Score: 65%
Engagement Score: 78%

No. 2 - Lexus

2021 Lexus RX Black Line Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Reputation Score: 673
Sentiment Score: 77%
Visibility Score: 63%
Engagement Score: 77%

No. 1 - Nissan

2021 Nissan Rogue

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Reputation Score: 681
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 71%
Engagement Score: 79%

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Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai Motor Group, the parent company of Hyundai, has announced the formation of a new unit - New Horizons Studio. The new venture is focused on the development of what Hyundai calls Ultimate Mobility Vehicles (UMVs).

New Horizons Studio is part of Hyundai's larger focus on the future of mobility. Unit workers will work to envision vehicles that wander with "unprecedented mobility". These products will focus on target customers that have unconventional travel needs whether it be to access places they have never been or adapt their mobility limitations to their surroundings.

Hyundai 'Elevate' Walking Car Concept

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

New Horizons Studio is led by Vice President Dr. John Suh, who has held several leadership roles at Hyundai Motor Group since 2011. He served as founding director of Hyundai Ventures, and then led Hyundai CRADLE (Center for Robotic-Augmented Design in Living Experiences) as its founding director based in Silicon Valley. He brings over 35 years of expertise in the automotive and emerging technology sectors, including roles at Stanford University, Palo Alto Research Center (PARC; formerly, Xerox PARC), and General Motors Company.

"We aim to create the world's first transformer-class vehicle, also known as the Ultimate Mobility Vehicle," said Dr. Suh.

Dr. Ernestine Fu will move to New Horizons Studio as Director of Product Management. She has led research on human operator and autonomous vehicle interactions at Stanford University's Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab, as well as scaled emerging technology companies for over nine years as a venture capital partner at Alsop Louie Partners.

The Hyundai Elevate is the first vehicle being developed by the Studio. It debuted at CES 2019 and does not rely solely on wheels to makes it way across urban, suburban, and rural landscapes. The unit sees the Elevate as being able to respond in emergency situations like natural disasters or assist with persons who do not have access to an ADA ramp.

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