Research Shows Dealers Are Overestimating Trust from Customers, Not Completely Knowledgeable About Vehicles and Significantly Dropping Price

April 11, 2017

CHICAGO — April 11, 2016 — MAXDigital, a premium end-to-end software provider for automotive dealers, released new strategic dealer research on the subject of trust and transparency in the digital age. In conjunction with Erickson Research, MAXDigital surveyed U.S. dealers during the 2017 National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention.

Key findings from the research include:

  • Dealers are overestimating their trust by customers. Nearly 70 percent of dealers said their customers have a high level of trust in their salespeople. That is a huge disconnect from the December 2016 Gallup poll that showed just 9 percent of consumers have a high level of trust in car salespeople.
  • Customers are not only driven by price; they’re looking for value. Only 21 percent of dealers completely agreed that customers were most concerned about getting the lowest price on a vehicle. This closely aligns with a consumer study that found 79 percent of consumers bought because they were getting quality and value at a fair price, versus only 21 percent that bought on price alone.
  • Salespeople are not completely knowledgeable about all the cars they sell. Only 35 percent of dealer respondents said their salespeople are completely familiar with all the cars they sell.
  • Customers do their research before arriving at the dealership. 8 out of 10 dealers said customers arrive— either most of the time or always— at the dealership having thoroughly researched car options.
  • Customers sometimes know more than the salesperson. 61 percent of respondents said customers either sometimes, most of the time, or always know more about a vehicle they are considering than the sales team.
  • Dealers are providing large discounts on price. 56 percent of dealers are dropping price $500 or more per vehicle during the sale. Another 11 percent don’t know their average “drop.”

“This research highlights the need for dealers to recognize that their sales processes may no longer match customer expectations or pre-conceived notions,” said MAXDigital CEO Steve Fitzgerald. “Consumer buying habits have changed and it appears that many dealers haven’t addressed the need to become product experts and to sell based on quality and value, instead of price.”

Nearly 400 U.S. dealers completed the survey in January 2017 before and during the 2017 NADA Convention. Respondents included General Managers, Dealer Principals, Internet Managers and Used Car Managers.

Access the full report and findings here:

About MAXDigital
MAXDigital provides cloud-based software and mobile applications to the automotive industry. As the industry’s premium end-to-end software solution for automotive dealers, MAXDigital empowers thousands of dealerships across the U.S. to manage inventory, increase gross profits and sell more cars through digital retailing. Founded in 2001 with the FIRSTLOOK inventory management product, the MAXDigital suite of products now includes the innovative MAX Ad®, a content generation and distribution system, MAX for Website®, a vehicle value and content creator for dealer websites, and MAX Digital Showroom®, a real-time inventory and pricing tool for desktop and mobile that builds trust and transparency with customers. For more information visit