New data from Autotrader's 2015 In-Vehicle Technology Shopper Influence Study shows car buyers are increasingly swayed by the technology found in today's new vehicles.

Selling customers on technology

If you want your dealership to close more new car sales, the findings from Autotrader's latest survey, its 2015 In-Vehicle Technology Shopper Influence Study, would suggest that new car salespeople should become familiar with the latest technology your vehicles have to offer.

Conducted in September 2015, Autotrader contracted with KS&R to conduct an online survey of 1,012 vehicle owners who were in the market to purchase a new vehicle.

Here are some of the results:

  • 9 of 10 consumers, likely to purchase in the next year, already have or plan to research the latest technologies as they shop for a new vehicle.
  • 77 percent said a vehicle with all of the technology features they wanted was more important than car color.
  • 65 percent said they would switch vehicle brands to have all of the technology features they desired in their next vehicle.

"In-vehicle technology ranks increasingly higher for consumers as they consider must-have and desired features in their car shopping," said Michelle Krebs, Autotrader senior analyst. "That puts automakers under intense pressure to anticipate and offer the technologies consumers desire, or they risk losing them to a brand that delivers."

The right technology

Selling Technology to Car Buyers

It's also important for your salespeople to understand those technologies most important to consumers, thoroughly understand them, and point out those vehicles in your lineup that have them – especially if your vehicles include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. That's because 57 percent of those surveyed, according to the report, said they wanted automakers to "focus on better integrating smartphones into all vehicles." In fact, 39 percent of those surveyed also preferred to use the navigation app on their smartphone, rather than a system built into a vehicle.

Another rather interesting fact is that despite the naysayers that say in-vehicle systems are becoming too complicated, 70 percent of survey respondents said they would still consider a vehicle, even if its technological features were "perceived to be too difficult to use."

Educating your customers

So, what's the first step?

Car salespeople need to thoroughly understand the technologies on the various vehicles they sell. That makes the next step possible: Educating the buyers that come into your showroom.

"Education is key to consumer acceptance of new technologies, which is a huge opportunity for automakers and their dealers," says Krebs.

According to the study, now in its second year, here are other features buyers are looking for:

  • Must-have car features are cruise control (59%), diagnostic alerts (52%) and USB charging ports (49%).
  • 67% of consumers think being able to use streaming music services such as Pandora or Spotify makes driving more enjoyable (up 12% from 2014).
  • 61% of consumers surveyed wish their current vehicle had Wi-Fi (up 16% from 2014).

The Bottom Line

If your dealership wants to close more customers, it's important for your salespeople to thoroughly understand and be able to explain the latest technological features found in the vehicles on your showroom floor.

At the same time, if you want to increase the traffic coming through your doors, you should also know that now is a great time to take advantage of the current boom in subprime lending and increase your store's monthly unit sales and gross profit per vehicle.

Call us at 888-535-2277 or fill out our contact form on our website and we'll have one of our knowledgeable customer representatives contact you. They'll walk you through our process and show you why we are the preferred lead provider for more than 1,000 dealerships with successful subprime departments in the United States and Canada.