Consumers found the vehicle purchase process easier in May as dealership inventories are rising, despite persistent high interest rates that may impact those looking for affordable options. Market research by CDK Global, an automotive retail software provider, found consumer satisfaction rose to 84%, one of the highest scores recorded for the monthly survey.
Availability of new vehicles is improving, as 72% of buyers found the car they wanted in stock and in transit, compared to 70% of shoppers in April. Last month’s purchases required consumer sleuthing for availability as shoppers visited several dealerships to find the cars they hoped to purchase in stock. Nearly half visited two stores in May, up from 44% the previous month, only 26% of buyers visiting one dealership.
But while dealer inventories are on the upswing, rising interest rates are plaguing customers looking to secure affordable loans. May’s survey results took a significant dip, showing 58% of car buyers reporting that the credit application process was easy compared to 63% in the previous two months. Adding to the headache was discussing and agreeing on a final price, 41% of respondents saying the process was increasingly difficult in May versus 40% in April.
“With inventories rebounding in spots and the purchase process still relatively easy, it’s important for dealers to stay on top of new issues,” said David Thomas, automotive industry analyst at CDK Global. “Shoppers dreaming about a new car for summer travel may need to shape up their credit in order to make that big purchase a reality.”
CDK Global’s May Ease of Purchase survey data also found:
- Time spent at the dealership fluctuated slightly, 16% of respondents saying the process took less time than expected, compared to 19% in April. Conversely, 49% of consumers said it was what they expected, up over April results of 46%.
- Seventy percent of customers found the purchase process easier when it came to locating the vehicle they wanted, improving over April’s results at 67%.
- Agreeing to a trade-in value was easier in May, at 51%, up from 50% in April.
For more in-depth information on the latest scorecard data results, visit CDK Global’s blog, Credit Struggles Don't Dent Ease of Purchase Score in May.