Survey reveals what car buyers least like about buying a car, and it isn’t the dealership

Consumer Reports News: May 26, 2011 11:08 AM

Consumers are clear on the two things they least like about buying a new car: the cost (30 percent) and the dealership experience (22 percent). In a recent survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, adult car owners said by a large margin that these are the two greatest turnoffs.

The survey is based on 1,764 random, nationwide telephone interviews of adult car owners, exploring attitudes and trends related to car buying.

What do you like least about buying a new car? Percentage
Cost of the car 30
Dealership experience 22
Financing 6
Trading in or selling old car 5
Not knowing if you got a good price 5
Making the final choice 4
Researching 3
Time committment 3
Browsing ads or classifieds 2
Concern for reliability 1

When it comes to used cars, consumers are most concerned about reliability (24 percent), with dealership experience (11 percent) ranked second, despite that many used cars are bought privately.

Used cars are attractive purchases since the original owner suffered the steep, initial depreciation hit. However, there is greater risk when buying used, and there are valid concerns about how a vehicle has been treated and how it will hold up. Buying a car with a track record for above-average reliability and having it inspected by an independent mechanic can go a long way toward ensuring a relatively trouble-free ownership experience.

What do you like least about buying a used car? Percentage
Concern for reliability 24
Dealership experience 11
Cost of the car 8
Not knowing if you got a good price 7
Researching 4
Trading in or selling old car 4
Time commitment 2
Browsing ads or classifieds 2
Financing 1
Making the big decision 1

The dealership experience will vary by brand, store, salesperson, model, and even day of the week. One way to get a competitive price on a new car and minimize the chance of having a bad dealership experience is to use a service like Consumer Reports’ Build & Buy program. Available through the car model pages at, the Build & Buy service provides guaranteed price quotes from local dealers who are held accountable for high customer satisfaction.

Learn more about buying a new or used car, with buying advice, recommendations, and ratings.

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Jeff Bartlett

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