According to What Car?, dealerships can expect an increase in demand for test drives following the rise of electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid vehicles.
The study found that 45% of drivers intend to test more cars, compared to the last time they purchased a vehicle. A recent report in the Financial Times has also revealed that electric carmaker Polestar is currently running around 1,000 test drives a month in the UK.
Furthermore, as the EV and hybrid market continues to expand, test drives are set to become more important than ever before as customers will be testing a whole new type of vehicle compared to the ICEs they are used to. This means that dealerships need to work even harder to provide the best possible test drive experience.
But how can you make sure your test drive experience leaves a positive impression on potential buyers? Read on to find out!
How long should test drives be?
We recently carried out consumer research into unaccompanied test drives and found that one in five motorists seek test drives lasting more than two hours, and almost two-thirds prefer test drives to last between 15 minutes and two hours.
Test drives can be any length in theory, but it’s important to give the customer enough time to get to know the vehicle and its features. They need to ensure they feel comfortable in the car and potentially get a second opinion from friends and family members - something that can only happen if they are offered an extended test drive.
With more and more drivers adopting EVs, drivers may also need a test drive to get to grips with an EV before they can assess the car on its own merits and make an informed decision.
How to create a better test drive experience
The better the test drive experience is, the more likely the customer is to buy a vehicle from your dealership. Here are some ways in which you can improve your dealership’s test drive experience:
Allow unaccompanied test drives
Traditionally, test drives have been carried out with a salesperson present in order to help the customer make a decision about the car. However, our survey revealed that the majority of motorists would prefer to test drive a car solo.
63% of respondents told us that they’d rather take an unaccompanied test drive, the biggest reason being that it would enable them to focus on the car without distraction from a salesperson.
Other reasons cited by our respondents were:
- It would make the test drive experience less awkward
- It would give the driver a chance to drive the car on their preferred route
- It would allow them to test the car’s performance more thoroughly
- The driver would feel less pressure not to make a mistake while driving
- It would help them to maintain social distancing recommendations during the ongoing pandemic
Allowing your customers to test drive a car over the space of one or two days enables them to focus on how the car would satisfy their daily needs, such as shopping or travelling to work. It also means that your customers can show the car to their friends and family and get their opinions before they decide to buy.
If a customer feels under pressure to buy a vehicle, they are likely to be put off making the decision.
Rather than putting pressure on potential buyers to sign on the dotted line on the day of the test drive, offer them the chance to go away and consider it for a few days. It is fine to let them know if car availability is limited, but it’s important to relay this information without making it sound as though you’re forcing them to buy straight away.
This can also be applied to the test drive experience. Rather than making the customer feel rushed by asking them to return in 15 minutes because another customer is booked in, make sure that appointments are spaced out appropriately to allow for more time in the vehicle.