Mercedes-Benz customers are travelling further to showrooms than any other car buyers as consumers increasingly look to purchase locally, JudgeService research has found.
The research of more than 53,000 car buyers found the willingness to travel further for the right car was brand specific and weighted in favour of prestige and niche brands.
Mercedes-Benz customers were prepared to travel the furthest, averaging 48 miles to make a purchase, followed by Subaru buyers at 38 miles and Jaguar buyers at 36 miles.
Other brands making up the top 10 included Lexus (35 miles) and Volvo (35 miles), BMW (34 miles), Land Rover (34 miles), Isuzu (30 miles), Honda (26 miles) and Volkswagen (25 miles).
When it came to purchasing a car in 2022, most buyers (44%) only travelled up to five miles to visit a franchised dealership, while over a quarter (28%) were prepared to travel between five and 15 miles. However, buyers prepared to travel over 30 miles fell year-on-year (YoY) from 21% to 16.5%.
Neil Addley, managing director of JudgeService, said: “During the pandemic we saw an increase of customers buying cars from longer distances. However, this changed in 2022 with more customers buying locally than at any time since 2018 when we started tracking sales by distance.
“This highlights the need for dealers to be local heroes and maximise on the opportunities in their local communities.”
Previous poor reliability has put nearly a third of in-market buyers off from purchasing from the same car brand again, research by What Car? has found.
The research also identified how dealers need to work harder to satisfy customers who have travelled a long way.
Addley said: “When customers travel long distances to visit showrooms, the premises becomes more important to them as they judge the facilities more harshly than local customers. This is no doubt due to the time they’ve invested in travelling to the dealership.
“Our research found distance customers score dealers 13% lower than local customers. Therefore, when someone has made a journey, it is important to do simple things well by making sure the vehicle they’re interested in is ready to view, a salesperson is available, and refreshments are offered. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.”
Sales teams must focus on making every customer interaction an “empathetic and positive experience” in order to boost used car stock turn, says Judgeservice.