From budget to reliability to look and feel and more, a lot of decisions go into buying a car for today’s consumers. To get a pulse on what matters most to them, we surveyed a combination of new and used shoppers—over 500 in total—and analyzed the data in the recent CarGurus Reliability Survey.
What we found is that, along with budget, reliability is a top priority for shoppers when choosing a car. In fact, 36% of total shoppers cited reliability as a top-three factor driving vehicle selection, nearly tied with budget (37%) for most common responses, followed by driving feel (24%) and brand (24%). It even ranked higher as a concern than safety ratings (20%), although 80% of respondents agreed with the statement “safety and reliability go hand-in-hand.”
Judging a vehicle’s reliability isn’t always easy for consumers, and used car shoppers find this task especially challenging. Only 51% of used car shoppers believe judging a vehicle’s reliability is easy, compared to 70% of new car shoppers. One thing that consumers do consider when judging reliability is brand. Many, especially those buying used, believe it can be a strong indicator of how reliable a vehicle is. According to our survey, Toyota wins the perception as most reliable (29%), followed by Honda (23%), Ford (19%), Chevrolet (18%), and Subaru (16%). In addition to brand, many buyers also look to third-party sites, detailed maintenance and history reports, and ratings/reviews for validation.
What does this mean for dealers?
Ultimately, it comes down to providing shoppers with the transparency they need to feel confident about making a purchase. Whether you sell new cars or used, answer shoppers’ questions directly and give them the information they’re looking for. Use the top five resources ranked by consumers below as a guide when catering to potential buyers:
|New Shoppers||Used Shoppers|
|Maintenance and history report (76%)||Maintenance and history report (80%)|
|Detailed inspection from dealer (71%)||Detailed inspection from dealer (63%)|
|Expert reviews (70%)||Call out damage (63%)|
|Consumer ratings/reviews (65%)||Consumer ratings/reviews (62%)|
|Make, model, and trim info (61%)||Expert reviews (60%)|
Providing this transparency will help shoppers make the reliability call and ultimately choose your dealership for the purchase.