2010 Chrome Consumer Survey Reveals Changes in Vehicle Buying Behavior

 

More Consumers Buying out of Necessity; Less Brand- and Dealer-Loyal
 
PORTLAND, OR, Oct. 4, 2010 – Chrome ® Systems Inc., a subsidiary of DealerTrack Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: TRAK) and an industry leader in managing automotive data, today announced the results of the 2010 Chrome Consumer Survey, which highlights significant shifts in the way consumers are researching and purchasing vehicles in 2010 compared to the previous year. Among the survey’s key findings were:
 
·           Necessity has become the primary driver for vehicle purchases. In what may be a sign of the economy’s continued softness, fewer respondents said they purchased or leased a vehicle simply because they wanted something new (21% in 2010, down from 32% in 2009). The number one reason cited for purchasing or leasing a new vehicle was the current vehicle being unreliable or broken down (26%, up from 19% in 2009).
 
·           Vehicle availability influences consumers’ choice of dealerships.  20% of respondents chose a dealer based on specific online inventory listings, up from 15% last year.  Dealer loyalty is eroding, as only 24% said they selected a dealer because they or someone they knew had previously purchased or leased from that dealer, down from 37% in 2009.
 
·           Brand loyalty is diminishing. Compared to 2009, consumers are less likely to want to purchase the same brand of car they previously owned (35% in 2010 versus 39% last year).
 
·           More than four out of five car-buyers shop online first. 83% of respondents said they were likely to shop for a vehicle online before making a purchasing or leasing decision. Among those researching vehicles on OEM and dealer websites, price and preferred equipment selection was cited as the leading factor in purchase decisions.
 
·           Concerns about fuel economy have waned with the stabilization of gas prices. While fuel economy is critical to about half the consumers, (54%, down from 60% in 2009), vehicle price (74%), body style (68%) and overall appearance and styling (59%) rank higher as must-have features.
 
“It is no surprise that the sluggish economy has changed consumers’ vehicle purchasing habits, and this survey highlights some of the critical shifts in sentiment,” said Amit Maheshwari, general manager, DealerTrack Data Services. “The need for a strong online presence is greater than ever as price, availability and convenience can convert an online review of inventory into a relationship with a dealer.”
 
Mr. Maheshwari continued, “Building upon the results from last year’s survey, we are able to see marked shifts in consumer vehicle purchasing trends that will help trend-conscious auto retailers make decisions that drive traffic to their websites and stores. As consumers become more research-savvy, dealers should aggressively manage their inventory, stocking in-demand new and used vehicles and pricing them to sell quickly and profitably.”
 
About Chrome (www.chrome.com)
 
Chrome provides vehicle content, software, technology and services to deliver complete enterprise solutions to all segments of the automotive retail industry.  Chrome pioneered the technology behind electronic vehicle configuration with the introduction of PC Carbook®, and since 1986 has collected, analyzed and enhanced “raw” automotive data from all manufacturers. Chrome Systems Inc. is a subsidiary of DealerTrack Data Services, Inc., a DealerTrack Holdings, Inc. company (Nasdaq: TRAK).
 
Safe Harbor for Forward-Looking and Cautionary Statements
 
Statements in this press release regarding the Chrome Survey and all other statements in this release other than the recitation of historical facts are forward-looking statements (as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995). These statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements of DealerTrack to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.
 
Factors that might cause such a difference include the accuracy of the responses received in the survey and other risks listed in our reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009. These filings can be found on DealerTrack’s website at www.dealertrack.com and the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Forward-looking statements included herein speak only as of the date hereof and DealerTrack disclaims any obligation to revise or update such statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events or circumstances.
 
 
 

 

 

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