Super car

Most car buyers want fixed prices but one in four enjoys the haggle

One in four car buyers actually enjoys the process of negotiating with a dealer on their purchase, a latest consumer study by What Car? reveals.

But it found that 55% of the 1,221 in-market buyers it surveyed would rather purchase their next car with a guaranteed price, direct from a manufacturer, rather than negotiate at the dealership.

What Car? found that three in four buyers either dislike the haggle, accept it as part of the buying process, or never do it.

When asked whether they were in favour of manufacturers moving to an agency model in the future, which would see standardised prices introduced across new cars, 55% of the in-market buyers said they were.

That shows little change over the past 15 months – What Car? published similar research in January 2022, when it found that 57.5% of buyers were in favour of purchasing their next vehicle directly through the manufacturer over a dealer.

Steve Huntingford, What Car? editor, said: “Our latest research highlights that a slightly higher percentage of customers still prefer the agency model over traditional dealers, with fixed prices seen as a more convenient way to purchase a vehicle.

“However, the fact that despite more than 12 months of progress, a near identical share of buyers still prefer the agency model, suggests that the traditional forecourt will remain a part of the UK automotive landscape for some time.”

Startline Motor Finance’s April Tracker survey found used car buyers are being driven away from online purchases and into dealerships because of the cost-of-living crisis, as many of them expect to negotiate a better deal that way.

Startline Motor Finance CEO Paul Burgess said that people are being much more careful with their money, especially when it comes to major purchases such as cars, and potential buyers are more likely to want to take time looking at a vehicle to make sure it is a sound purchase.

‘Additionally, it’s interesting that almost one in five also believe they’ll get a better deal by turning up and negotiating in person as well as wanting to talk to someone about their finance needs.”

The Startline Used Car Tracker also shows that 35 per cent believe they’ll get a better deal online, with 25 per cent confident about buying remotely and 10 per cent wanting to have the vehicle delivered to them.

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