Sales opportunities are being missed by European carmakers and their dealers due to a "widespread" failure to act upon test-drive requests from Internet shoppers, according to a survey by European consultancy BearingPoint and Dutch customer relationship management company Multi-M/IT.
The survey found out that about 61% of Internet shoppers' requests for a test drive were not answered within four days and 45% of the shoppers were not contacted within 14 days.
In an interview with Automotive News Europe, James Rodger, automotive partner at BearingPoint, said that for the automakers to get through the lengthened period of weak consumer demand in Europe, they would have to quickly and efficiently respond to sales inquiries.
Rodger stated that not one of the brands included in the survey was able to address weaknesses in their lead management processes cited in earlier surveys. He said that this seems to be “an endemic issue for the automotive industry." Nineteen brands in seven European countries were studied.
Researchers attempted to create over 4,400 test-drive and brochure requests through car brand Web sites during November and December 2010. Rodger believes that responding quickly to requests for test-drives are essential because the ones asking for them are close to making a purchase.
The survey looked at traditional and emerging high volume markets and brands right across the price spectrum. The survey determined that 42% of brochure requests resulted in no material being received within seven days over the 44% posted in the previous year's survey. It also found out that 61% of those who asked for a test drive didn’t get a response within four days, compared with 63% last year.