​Car dealers unable to offer test drives to some buyers

Some car buyers are struggling to test drive the exact model of car they're looking for as car dealers don't carry it in stock.

The news comes as a result of a survey carried out by What Car? magazine, which contacted 48 dealers to find out whether they were able to provide a test drive on a specific model.

63%, or 30 of the dealers questioned, were unable to do so.

Of the six major manufacturers included in the survey, BMW's dealerships, fared the worst – not one of those contacted was able to provide the correct model.

But the results showed that not even at the best-performing manufacturers' dealerships could buyers be guaranteed a test drive in the car they wanted to buy.

Ford's dealerships came top of the list, managing to source the right car for the test drive 75% of the time

Volkswagen came second, with a score of 50%.

Emma Butcher, What Car? consumer editor, says that a test drive is an essential part of making a car purchase, and that with the proliferation of different engine options and trim levels, finding the right model to test drive is becoming increasingly hard.

"Most car purchase transactions are still made in the car dealership," she says. "The test drive is such a crucial element in the buying process and we were quite surprised and disappointed at the lack of model availability."

"With almost 4000 model derivatives to choose from, the industry is making life difficult for themselves and the consumer. We would like to see more standard-specification demonstration cars available for test drive and that the options fitted are kept to a minimum."
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