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New Car Shopper Relations 101: You Never Write, You Never Call

This post’s title is a bit of an exaggeration, but nearly 60% of new car shoppers’ first interaction with the dealership is simply walking through the front door. No text, no call, no email lead, no chat — they just show up on your lot.

What’s also interesting is that about 60% of your new car buyers have never purchased from your dealership or done service with you before.

So if 60% of your shoppers don’t contact you prior to showing up and 60% have never been customers before, what is driving their interest in your dealership?

The answer is simple — the right car at the right price.

The percentage of shoppers who know exactly what they want is growing. According to the 2018 Car Buyer Journey Study, commissioned by Cox Automotive, 40% of new car shoppers had determined what they were going to buy before they arrived at the dealership.

These realities make it very clear that the dealers who will thrive are those who have a very clear view of the most desirable inventory — and who make sure that inventory is competitively priced. Notice I did not say “most competitively” priced. I’ll concede that some customers will drive 50 miles to save $50 … but this is more of an exception than a widespread practice.

New car dealers who manage their inventory with greater precision and keep a closer eye on the overall market’s pricing will be in the best position to bring online shoppers into their dealership.

About the Author

Brian Finkelmeyer serves as the senior director of new car solutions at vAuto. In this role, he is responsible for all aspects of vAuto’s new car business. Prior to vAuto, Brian spent 18 years with Nissan North America in a variety of sales leadership positions. He is a frequent presenter and author for various automotive trade publications. His topics focus on the importance of increasing new vehicle inventory turn by having the proper inventory mix, strategically pricing based on age and supply, and maximizing the effectiveness of dealers' marketing investment.

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