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The Rise of Online Car Shopping

U.S. New Light Vehicles Sales Rise in Q1

According to Automotive News, the U.S. new light-vehicle market grew 5.5% in March and had an overall first-quarter growth of 5.1%. A great deal of the growth can be attributed to fleet deliveries and the increase in the number of buying incentives offered to consumers to counter the rising price of new vehicles and the growing cost of financing. Although the number of new light vehicles has risen, the average transaction price (ATP) has decreased by 4.2% due to an increase in brand and dealership incentives. Motor Intelligence noted that the average discount per new light vehicle rose to $3,150 last month, which is more than double the previous month. Despite that, the first quarter has still been a net win for light vehicles in the U.S. market.

2024’s First Quarter Sees Tesla Sales Drop

For the first quarter of 2024, Tesla has reported its first decline in year-over-year sales since 2020. The EV maker points to production delays as the primary driver of the decline. EV sales have stalled across the market as automakers have found that consumers are less enthusiastic about leaving the gas pump behind than they first thought. Tesla’s stock dropped a total of 33% thus far this year, and other brands are rethinking their investment strategy in response to this news.

The Rise of Online Car Shopping

While car shopping has been slower in transitioning to the virtual world than other consumer experiences, the trend is shifting. According to CarGurus, a growing number of car shoppers are embracing the convenience of online car buying. Currently, most consumers begin their car shopping experience online by researching new models, dealerships, and trade-in values. However, somewhere between their first search query and signing the purchase agreement, most shoppers transition to an in-person experience. Still, a future where most vehicles are purchased completely online isn’t far away. How can your dealership adapt to the current car shopping process and prepare for the future of online car buying? You can start by becoming not just a dealership but also an online resource. Use your website and social platforms to provide shoppers with the information they need about vehicle specs and features, along with the value of their trade-in. This allows shoppers to build trust with you, so when they’re ready to transition to an in-person experience or complete their online purchase, they’re more likely to choose your dealership.


John Paul Strong

John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 150 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.

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