wjr business beat

WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: Online Car Sales are Becoming the New Normal (Episode 92)

On today’s WJR Business Beat segment, Jeff talks about a story with roots right here in the Detroit region. A study of recent car buying trends by researchers at Cars.com suggest that dealerships’ transition to digital sales during the pandemic will become a permanent fixture in what is sure to be part of the “new normal.”

According to Cars.com research, 71 percent of car shoppers want to complete at least some of a car purchase online. Additionally, a recent survey by Capgemini found that 64 percent of potential buyers prefer to complete the entire transaction of buying a new vehicle online rather than going into a dealership and making the purchase (that’s up from 39 percent just before the pandemic).

Tune in to the WJR Business Beat below for more!


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Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at 7:11 a.m. for the WJR Business Beat. Listeners outside of the Detroit area can listen live HERE.

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WJR Business Beat Transcript

Good morning.

Today on the Business Beat, a story that has roots right here in our own backyard in the Detroit region. A study of recent car buying trends by researchers at Cars.com suggest that dealerships transitioned to digital sales during the pandemic will become a permanent fixture in what is sure to be part of the “new normal.”

By May, car sales through Online Shopper, a digital sales platform, were up 63 percent, compared to before the pandemic. According to Cars.com research, 71 percent of car shoppers want to complete at least some of a car purchase online.

Going further though, a recent survey by Capgemini found that 64 percent of potential buyers prefer to complete the entire transaction of buying a new vehicle online rather than going into a dealership and making the purchase. That’s up from 39 percent just before the pandemic.

I mean, who likes to go into an auto dealership to make the car purchase? You can make it online anonymously. It’s more efficient, all the paperwork’s done online and they deliver the car right to your driveway. This is the new normal 33 percent of American shoppers want their local dealerships to offer at home test driving and 31 percent want dealers to deliver their cars to their homes after the purchase is made.

One other point worth making from the survey while car sales online are up, consumers appear to be focusing more on the used car market than searching for pricier new car models. Cars.com reports the highest average search price fell from $39,000 to $27,000 between March and June.

We’ve said it many times before here on the Business Beat and it holds true in the car sales industry as well. If you’re an entrepreneur here in the Detroit region, looking for an opportunity to carve a niche into a sector experiencing major change, change likely to be a big part of the new normal in the future, think of ways to inject yourself and your new business into the booming online cars market and the ancillary needs and opportunities it no doubt creates.

I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO of StartupNation.com, and that’s today’s Business Beat on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.

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