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Online car sales more and more common in SA

Survey suggests that people prefer buying cars online.
Survey suggests that people prefer buying cars online.
Image: 123RF/dolgachov

Thirty-one percent of consumers would consider buying a car completely online – from identifying the car‚ liaising with the dealership‚ arranging the finance to signing the deal – and then having it delivered to them.

That’s what emerged from a recent study initiated by online motoring portal Cars.co.za‚ which had about 1‚500 motorists completing a survey.

“That statistic really surprised us‚” said Cars.co.za co-founder Alastair MacMurray. “We didn’t expect it to be so high.”

I’d caution that it’s a really bad idea not to inspect and drive a car before you commit‚ especially in the case of a used car‚ but even new cars have snags and are known to have little bodywork mishaps before delivery.

Just last week I was contacted by a man who’d bought a year-old luxury car from a prestigious dealership online‚ trusting that all would be well‚ but the car was delivered with multiple problems‚ which he’s now battling to get rectified.

The survey results were also a wake-up call for dealerships in terms of how quickly consumers expect them to respond to a lead – 20% of respondents expected to be contacted within two hours of posting a lead‚ and 50% within 12 hours.

The advent of the smartphone has had a major impact on the way people research and choose the cars they buy. Whereas 56% of those who visited the cars.co.za site in 2014 did so via phone‚ that number had surged to 72% last year.

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