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May 2023

Dealerships beat online when choosing and buying a car

Simonluca Pini - Contributing Editor Sole 24 Ore

Italian drivers prefer to buy used cars at the dealers rather than looking for them on the internet. The possibility of carrying out a test drive is decisive
Where do Italian drivers prefer to buy used cars? Although online ads continue to increase, most people who are about to switch their car still turn to the classic car dealers. This is what a study conducted by CarVertical shows: the research focuses on Italy and seven other countries, and is aimed at finding out what are the factors that influence decisions to purchase a vehicle.

Italian vs. European habits
In Italy, 35.5% of used car buyers go to private retail companies, while a similar percentage of people (34.7%) prefer authorized dealers to buy their cars. Figures change significantly in terms of web searches, with only 12.6% of Italians looking for a car online, visiting websites where other individuals and companies put their vehicles on sale. Worse than Italy, in terms of drivers looking for vehicles online, is France, which stops at 11.5%.
At a European level, as reported by the company expert in car history reconstruction, in Romania, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic most people prefer to buy cars on online marketplaces. In Italy, by private companies or resellers, while in France, Spain and the United Kingdom by authorized car dealers.

Italians choose their used cars on their own
Italy is one of the countries where most car buyers tend to make decisions on their own; only 15.8% of purchases are influenced by friends or relatives. Similar data also in France and Spain, where decisions are mostly personal. For Romanians, Czechs, Hungarians and Poles however, consulting friends and family is a widespread practice. The French, Spanish and Italians are of a completely different opinion.

The importance of checks and test drives
Carry out as many checks as possible before testing the used car of their choice. In fact, the study shows that 58% of buyers who checked the history of the car they wanted to buy, did so before the test drive. However, a test on the road remains the main and decisive factor in Italy. As the research reveals, 27.9% of purchase decisions are the result of a test drive, while 12.9% are derived from the assessment of insurance costs. On the other hand, as regards the attention on the analysis of the car, only 13.3% of Italian buyers consider the online check of the vehicle history as an important tool for making a purchase decision. Although a significantly smaller share of drivers believe that checking the history is one of the most important factors in buying a car, as many as 70.3% of used car buyers in Italy checked the history online before buying a car. The situation differs in Hungary, the United Kingdom and Poland, which have the highest share of buyers who have checked a vehicle's history.

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