A study conducted by JD Power Asia-Pacific shows that more and more car buyers in India are now basing their purchase decisions on online research. The ‘India Escaped Shopper Study 2009’ took inputs from 5,400 car buyers and 2,000 rejecters of new cars who bought their vehicles between September 2008 and April 2009. According to the report, only 69 per cent of new car buyers in 2009 visited a dealership to decide on which model to buy, compared to 82 per cent in 2008.
Car buyers no longer feel it is necessary to go to a dealership to make a decision. In fact, a number of them make up their minds based on internet-based research and the views of friends and family, before they actually see the car in a showroom. While 21 per cent vehicle shoppers used the internet to find out about makes and models in 2007, 34 per cent did the same in 2009. The most-researched topics include technical specifications, vehicle prices, brochures, pictures, features and accessories.
The study shows that the reason for the rejection of a given model is most often its price, followed by exterior styling. In case of new vehicles, a significant cause for rejection is the long waiting period before delivery. 80 per cent customers who visited dealerships in 2009 actually ended up buying the vehicles they wanted, up from 77 per cent in 2008, indicating that relatively more car buyers are now sure about which car they want when they go to a dealership.
About 40 per cent of vehicle shoppers in the country end up buying Maruti Suzuki cars, which continues to be the most trusted brand. Also, those wanting to buy Mahindra & Mahindra or Tata Motors vehicle are relatively less likely to switch to another make.