Consumers are apprehensive going into a dealership but feel pretty good about the experience afterward, a new study for Automotive News found. Photo credit: DAVID PHILLIPSA small percentage of car shoppers say negotiations over prices and terms could be handled better, and even fewer feel that way about the presentation of F&I products.James B. Treece
Automotive News | June 20, 2018 - 11:00 am EST
Consumers are unhappy with the F&I process at the dealership, right?
Yes and no. A survey of consumers by DealerRater, conducted for Automotive News, found that a small portion of respondents think negotiations over price and terms could be handled better, and an even smaller portion feel that way about the presentation of F&I products and document signing.
Consumers who recently visited a dealership to buy or lease a vehicle were asked, "In general, what part of the dealership experience could be improved the most?" The survey included seven possible responses:
1. Delivery and explanation of in-car technology
2. Interaction with salesperson
3. Negotiation over price/terms, if applicable
4. Presentation of F&I products and document signing
5. Responses to questions and appointment-setting, before visiting the dealership
6. Test drive
7. None of the above
Nearly four out of five respondents -- 79 percent -- checked "none of the above."
Of course, "none of the above" is not necessarily the same as "nothing." There could be another aspect of the experience that consumers feel could be improved.
Still, the results are in line with what other studies have found: Consumers are apprehensive going into the dealership but feel pretty good about the experience afterward.
The survey, conducted May 24-31, drew 14,312 responses from consumers who recently had visited a dealership to buy or lease a new or used vehicle and 3,802 responses from folks who recently had visited a dealership's service department. This article focuses on the responses from those intending to buy or lease.
The areas that, after "none of the above," drew the most responses were the ones you'd expect. "Negotiation over price/terms" was checked by 8 percent of all respondents, followed by "interaction with salesperson," at 5 percent.
"Delivery and explanation of in-car technology" tied with "presentation of F&I products and document signing" at 3 percent.
That's industrywide. A look at responses by brand shows some notable differences.
Audi and Ram stood out for their customers finding the negotiations acceptable. Just 5 percent of those brands' customers, vs. 8 percent for the industry, checked negotiations as an area needing improvement.
In contrast, 14 percent of Chrysler customers said the negotiations needed work. Among brands with at least 100 responses, the only others with double-digit responses in that area were Mazda, at 11 percent, and Acura, at 10 percent.
At Jaguar Land Rover, 6 percent of respondents checked "presentation of F&I products and document signing" -- double the industry average -- followed by Mazda and Ram, both at 5 percent. In contrast, 0 percent of Mitsubishi customers checked that box.
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