Two-thirds of car buyers want to see financing options online before purchase

During a traditional car purchase, customers will select a vehicle and only afterward go to the F&I office to learn about their financing options. But a recent survey from leasing marketplace Swapalease suggests most buyers would like to reverse that process.

Two out of three American car buyers would like to see all their financing options online before visiting a dealership, according to the recent survey, which polled 2,500 drivers.



An increasing level of comfort using technology in the car-buying process has shifted buyer habits on car selection, financing and purchasing, the study suggests, with survey respondents showing a strong preference for completing at least some of the process online or on a mobile device.

“Technology is allowing customers to make more decisions online, and this improves the process for them,” said Scot Hall, Swapalease’s executive vice president of operations. “Dealers need to be prepared for these customers and make allowances for them.”

According to the Swapalease survey, 65.9 percent of respondents would like to see their financing options online to begin the car-buying process, and nearly half would like to secure their financing online before arriving at the dealership to complete a deal.

In terms of purchasing a vehicle, one-third of respondents (33.3 percent) said they would like to continue buying vehicles the traditional way from dealers, with no part of the process online, and about a third were okay with some combination of traditional and online process.

About 32 percent would like to buy cars completely online with no role for a dealership.

“The data show buyers are becoming more comfortable buying online,” Hall said. “The fact that people want to buy online is no surprise to me whatever. They’re used to Amazon and eBay, and are slowly coming to the conclusion that they can buy a car there, as well.”

Tesla’s direct-to-consumer model, which overcame strong dealer resistance to be signed into law recently in the state of New Jersey, speaks to the 32 percent. New Jersey is one of just a handful of states to allow direct-to-consumer purchases from auto manufacturers.

Philip Ryan

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