Test drives drive sales

Cooper Solutions highlights the power of the unaccompanied test drive as EV and Hybrid popularity rises

Cooper Solutions is calling upon dealers to recognise the power of an unaccompanied or 48 hour test drive as new research from What Car? reveals more and more consumers expect to test drive more than two models the next time they buy a car. Nearly 32% of car buyers surveyed by daily rate insurance provider, Cooper Solutions, said that an extended test drive would increase the chances of them ‘falling in love’ with the vehicle they were test driving. Despite this, data from Cooper Solutions shows the average test drive offered by dealers lasts just 46 minutes.

Of particular interest to dealers will be the view of What Car? that the rise in choice and popularity of electric or hybrid vehicles will increase demand for test drives of these vehicles, but that it will be a new experience for millions of drivers and they will want to understand what they are buying. This is supported by the findings of the Cooper Solutions survey that revealed 1 in 4 car buyers like to test a car to make sure it fits their lifestyle, which is all the more important if a customer is considering switching from a petrol or diesel vehicle to an electric or hybrid model.

The study also shows that the all-important test drive is more likely to seal the deal, with 43% of buyers saying they would use an extended test drive as an opportunity to show off a potential purchase to friends and family to gauge their opinion and a staggering 89% – admitted that a positive response from loved ones would likely rubberstamp their decision.

Dealers will be concerned to learn that the study by What Car? also showed that 62% of buyers still find contact with dealers difficult. However, the good news is that half of car buyers surveyed by Cooper Solutions said they would feel more positively about a dealer if they were offered an extended or unaccompanied test drive which would help them make a better informed purchase decision.

Dean Pipitone, Director of Cooper Solutions explains: “Those dealers allowing their customers to fully immerse themselves in the driving experience over an extended period of time, are much more likely to benefit. Dealers need to actively encourage customers to go beyond trying out the comfort and the way the vehicle handles in terms of performance, instead focusing on how the car can satisfy their daily needs. Most importantly, it’s the opportunity for other people to admire and envy a potential purchase, particularly if this is an upgrade, where the test drive process substantially increases the chances of a sale.”

*The Cooper Solutions survey results are based on 200 responses from consumers aged 18-55+ conducted by Gorkana Surveys.