European dealers losing sales due to Internet test-drive requests

Article by Christian A., on March 26, 2011

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 percent of Internet shoppers' requests for a test drive were not answered within four days and 45 percent 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 percent of brochure requests resulted in no material being received within seven days over the 44 percent posted in the previous year's survey. It also found out that 61 percent of those who asked for a test drive didn’t get a response within four days, compared with 63 percent last year.

Based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, BearingPoint is a multinational management and technology consulting firm that provides consultancy services. In 1997, KPMG established its consulting services operations as a distinct business unit. This consulting unit was spun off from KPMG in January 2000 as KPMG Consulting LLC. KPMG Consulting went public on the NASDAQ market -- under the ticker "KCIN" – in February 2001.

Soon, KPMG Consulting managed to acquire some of KPMG's country consulting practices, as well as from country practices and hiring from the business consulting unit of Arthur Andersen. In October 2002, the company changed its name to BearingPoint and started trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker "BE."

In 2009, the US operations of BearingPoint for Chapter 11 petition in a US Bankruptcy Court. The company’s other operations and businesses were sold off. The company was burdened with heavy debt load resulting from expansion moves and costly management errors.

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Topics: europe, survey

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