Majority of online requests for new car test drives are being ignored
A comprehensive new survey by BearingPoint and Multi-M/IT reveals widespread failure to act upon test drive requests from potential customers.
The survey of 19 different brands, across seven European countries, saw researchers attempt to make more than 2,500 test drive and brochure requests through car manufacturer websites. Surveyors asked for a brochure to be mailed to them or requested a test drive at a dealership.
The results show that 44% of brochure requests resulted in no material being received within seven days. Even more critically, 63% of those asking for a test drive received no contact within four days. At the close of the survey, which lasted for 14 days in each country, 45% of those asking for a test drive had still not received a reply.
The consensus across the automotive sector is that 2010 is set to be a really tough year. Scrappage schemes artificially boosted demand and brought forward sales into 2009 but manufacturers are set to feel the impact of low consumer confidence for some time. Against this backdrop of low demand, our survey shows brands are failing to help themselves by responding effectively to those customers who are in the market for a new car. All brands believe that a test drive significantly increases the likelihood of the consumer going on to purchase the car. They must therefore look carefully at these results which show an inability to capitalise on serious interest in their products.
James Rodger, Automotive Partner at BearingPoint
The automotive industry spends billions of Euros each year on advertising and sales promotion in order to raise awareness and increase consideration amongst the car buying public. Our research shows that a significant amount of the investment in this area is wasted through failing to follow through and satisfy the requests of those potential customers who are closest to making their final buying decision.
This is a comprehensive survey covering traditional and emerging high volume markets and brands right across the price spectrum. No one single brand performs consistently well across all markets. Results within each country vary significantly. Surprisingly, premium brands do not typically perform better than the volume brands and in some cases they perform worse. Our conclusion is that this is an endemic industry-wide issue that needs prompt attention if manufacturers and their dealers are going to protect their share of a depressed European car market.
Rob Malyn, Director at Multi-M/IT
To identify and address the root causes of poor performance in lead management manufacturers need to take a holistic approach which looks at issues associated with their systems, people or processes. The respective roles and responsibilities of the brand and the retail channel are particularly important and the communication between the two parties is critical. Addressing the leakage in the sales process will take time and require investment but for those brands prepared to take action the rewards could be significant.
BearingPoint and Multi-M/IT both work extensively across the automotive sector and have helped a number of brands improve their processes, systems and results.
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