J.D. Power Study Points at Dealerships as Cause for 'Escaped Shoppers'

September 24, 2008
According to a new study by J.D. Power and Associates, shoppers reject most vehicles simply due to their experience while visiting a dealership.

In its 2008 Escaped Shopper Study, released today, J.D. Power found that 80 percent of shoppers rejected a model they strongly considered based on dealer service, limited availability of their model of interest, and lack of professionalism among the dealership's employees. The study is based on vehicles sales between May and July of 2008.

Said Tom Gauer, senior director of automotive retail research for the quality-control firm, "given today’s challenging automotive market, both sales and service experiences at the dealership are particularly critical in the decision-making process of shoppers."

Dealer service and professionalism would seem to be areas well within the control of management, with the exception of low employee morale due to an extremely tough market at present. Limited availability would seem to apply more to the few models that are selling like hotcakes presently, such as the Honda Civic, Toyota Prius, and Ford Focus. If, say, you were in the market for an '08 Dodge Ram or Chevy Suburban, we imagine you'd have your pick of vehicles with perhaps a nice dealer rebate, to boot.

Not surprisingly, the study also finds that the number of shoppers considering an Asian brand is slowly but surely increasing. Those numbers are at 63 percent in 2008, compared with 60 percent in 2007. The study cited a concomitant decline in consumers considering the purchase of a domestic. And of domestic purchasers, most were moved to purchase simply from a desire to "buy American," rather than due to incentives, rebates, or purchase price.

Have you ever been turned off of a car simply from the showroom experience? Tell us in a comment below.--Colin Mathews

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