Mark Dolliver: Welcome to the Showroom Floor

Automotive advertising often aims at luring people to the showroom, on the theory that the substantive selling will take place there. Maybe it will, but as the charmingly named “Escaped Shopper Study” from J.D. Power and Associates makes clear, lots of consumers get to a showroom and then decide not to buy anything in it. Polling of new-vehicle shoppers found that about 45 percent “took a test drive prior to rejecting a model, and 25 percent of consumers tried to negotiate pricing before ultimately purchasing a different model.” What prompts people to reject a vehicle they’d considered buying? The chief deterrent is price, cited by 40 percent of the poll’s escapees. Other factors include the vehicle interior (10 percent), the “dealer experience” (10 percent) and quality/reliability concerns (9 percent).