AutoTrader.com ranks highest among online buying services in satisfying auto dealers with new-vehicle leads, while Cars.com ranks highest in satisfying dealers with used-vehicle leads, according to a J.D. Power and Associates study.
The 2008 Dealer Satisfaction with Online Buying Services Study measures dealer satisfaction with online vehicle buying services?and uses?four factors to measure overall dealer satisfaction with online lead providers: business generation; dealer support/service; competitiveness of fees; and transmission of leads. For used-vehicle leads, an additional factor – advertising -?is also considered.
For the second consecutive year, AutoTrader.com received the highest scores for satisfying dealers with new-vehicle leads, performing particularly well in the business generation, dealer support/service and transmission-of-leads factors:
Cars.com, Dealix and AutoUSA, respectively, follow AutoTrader.com in the rankings and also performed above the industry average.
In the used-vehicle lead segment, Cars.com received the highest score, performing best in the areas of business generation and transmission of leads:
AutoTrader.com is second in used-vehicle-lead segment rankings and performed well in the areas of dealer support/service and advertising.
- Overall satisfaction in the used-vehicle lead segment has declined considerably in 2008, averaging 581 on a 1,000-point scale – compared with 613 in 2007. This decline is driven by decreases in satisfaction within the business-generation factor, specifically in the areas of the quality and quantity of leads.
- 53% of dealers report subscribing to a lead notification program, which instantaneously alerts them to an incoming lead via cell phone voice or text message. The average number of online lead providers that dealers subscribe to has increased steadily in recent years – from 5.6 in 2006 to 6.8 in 2008.
- Dealers who subscribe to lead notification programs tend to have high levels of satisfaction with the services. Approximately two-thirds of subscribing dealers “completely agree” that lead notification programs work well and believe that they are worth participating in.
“As both new- and used-vehicle sales decline, it is now more important than ever for dealers to cast as wide a net as possible toward the limited supply of vehicle shoppers, which is one reason why dealers are increasing their use of online lead providers in the hopes of generating more traffic and sales for their dealerships,” said Jon Osborn, research director at J.D. Power and Associates. “Also, dealers use vehicle lead notification systems to try to differentiate themselves from their competitors through faster lead response times. In this highly competitive industry, creating even a slight edge over other dealers is critical during a period of slow sales.”
About the survey: The 2008 Dealer Satisfaction with Online Buying Services Study is based on 4,141 dealer evaluations of the online buying services they use. The study was fielded in April and May 2008.