Urgent need to replace old vehicle behind almost one-in-five new car purchases

Almost one-in-five new car buyers are in the market because their current vehicle needs to be urgently replaced, according to new research.

These buyers are more likely to have a negative experience at a dealership and are more likely to spend less. They are also less likely to wait for a factory-ordered car.

Consumer outlet What Car? surveyed 1,534 in-market buyers and found 18 per cent were only buying a new car because of a ‘catastrophe’ with their existing vehicle, such as a breakdown or accident.

These buyers were more likely to test drive a vehicle before buying, too, with 65 per cent saying they drove multiple cars while looking for a replacement compared with 33 per cent of normal buyers.

Furthermore, almost half of ‘catastrophe buyers’ said they changed their mind a lot during the buying process (20 per cent for normal drivers) with a similar number saying they also spent less than expected, compared with about 20 per cent of those who didn’t change their mind regularly.

Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?, said: “Qualifying customers and understanding their needs is more important for retailers now than ever – but this study highlights just how many buyers are in an urgent need for a new car, and just how different their needs are compared with those of the majority of buyers.

“With nearly one-in-five buyers self-identifying in this category, they are clearly a demographic retailers cannot afford to ignore – especially given that they enter the showroom with a longer shortlist to consider but with less time to contemplate a buying decision.

“It’s evident that dealers having adequate stock, being able to organise test drives at short notice and being accommodating on price and finance are all especially important to catastrophe buyers.”

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