The Internet is increasingly affecting new-vehicle buying decisions, and dealers should think twice about withholding inventory information on line, according to J.D. Power and Associates' 2003 New Autoshopper.com study.
Of 30,352 people surveyed, 49% say the Internet influenced their make and model purchase, up from 40% last year.
Nearly half say the Internet played a role in the price paid for their new vehicles, up from 41% in 2002.
Nine of 10 auto dealerships have websites, but 31% of those don't post vehicle inventory information, a feature in which consumers have shown interest.
“Many of today's buyers are savvy shoppers with advanced Internet navigation and communication skills,” says Dennis Galbraith, senior director-automotive website research at Power.
He warns, “Dealers who approach online leads with a strategy of withholding information in an effort to lure shoppers into the showroom may prompt shoppers to simply find another dealership willing to provide online price quotes or inventory information.”