The first thing your members do when they are in the market for a new car is research. They may ask their friends and family, they may look online, or they may consult with a dealership directly. During this phase of the car shopping process, what do shoppers look for most?

 First we must examine the question of what triggers a search for a new car in the first place. Big life changes like a baby, a move, new job, kids going to college or other major event could be reasons people seek out a new vehicle.  Other reasons might be another type of milestone, for example, an expired lease, an out of date warranty, upcoming maintenance, or impending depreciation. Don’t forget the number of folks who have to buy a new car after an accident, and of course the ones who just like to upgrade every two or three years. These factors influence the type of car they will need, their budget, and the method used to finance the vehicle if needed.

In the first research stage, shoppers have a multitude of factors working together to shape their initial considerations. Studies show that buyers are often optimistic at this stage. A potential car buyer begins to notice cars on the street and talk to their network about the cars they drive. Online research from organizations like Edmunds, TrueCar, and Kelley Blue Book inform and assist shoppers explore their options based on price, customer reviews, features and various other important criteria. Many also look for hands on experience with vehicles, either by renting a car or visiting dealerships.

The most common questions people ask themselves when researching a new vehicle are:

“What cars do people like me drive?”

“What brandsof cars do I know and trust?” 

“What cars are looked highly upon by peoplewho know about cars?”

Can this car fit in my parking spot/garage?”

How does this car compareto a similar one made by a competitor?”

Then finally, the most important question, “What are the things I know I want in a car?” Buyers are most often looking for specific features such as a sun roof, navigation, or all-wheel drive. Many individuals seek out eco-friendly and hybrid automobiles.

Research is the most important part of the car buying experience. The more information a shopper can gather when looking for a new car, the happier and more confident they will be with the choice they ultimately make.

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