Reputation: Car Industry Dependent on Feedback  

Carly Read
Senior Reporter

Technologies depended upon to boost increasingly digital car-buying experience 

Reputation: Car Industry Dependent on Feedback  

Reputation has today unveiled findings from its annual automotive industry report, which revealed the sector is reliant on new technologies and customer feedback more than ever as it adopts a digital car-buying experience.  

The results of the study follow a whirlwind year for the automotive industry, which saw pandemic uncertainty, surging demand, and eroding margins due to a global chip shortage. Other findings from the study include:   

  • Reviews are more important than ever: Review volume for 2021 is higher than ever. Nearly 80% of consumers say reviews are important and 41% say they will read at least five reviews before visiting a dealership
  • Inventory shortages are top of mind for customers: Reviews mentioning shortages have increased 32.6x from January 2021 to July 2021
  • Reviews and star ratings drive customer leads: 64% of consumers surveyed say they would travel more than 20 miles to a top-rated dealership
  • Customer service is the main driver of positive ratings for auto dealerships: Despite the rise of digital, buying a car remains a largely human-centred, face-to-face experience. 65% of car shoppers told us they are influenced significantly by in-person visits
  • Price is the top driver of negative ratings: Dealerships need to manage consumers’ expectations about prices during the inventory shortage when demand is outstripping supply. 82% of consumers we surveyed with YouGov said price is an important consideration, more than any other factor

Joe Fuca, CEO of Reputation, said: “The automotive industry has seen it all over the past year, from huge spikes in sales to inventory challenges. Through it all, dealers and manufacturers have embraced digital tools and customer feedback to create a smooth car buying experience for all. 

“We are proud to say that our dealer and brand rankings this year highlight the value that tools like Reputation bring to the automotive industry, with many of our customers taking top spots.”

Cars allowed millions of people to reclaim their lives during the pandemic, evident in the sales surge the industry saw during the first half of 2021, despite the global semiconductor chip shortage that sent car prices rising to their highest in history.  

Now, unfortunately, this chip shortage promises to stunt supply, potentially costing the global auto industry almost double its initial projection of $110 billion.

Buying a car continues to be an inherently in-person experience, and can influence which dealership to buy from. Reputation data confirms this, with 65% of our respondents indicating they’re significantly influenced by in-person visits. 

However, the pandemic has changed how and where customers feel comfortable interacting with brands, with online as the preferred choice — at least during COVID-19.


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