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Would you buy a car unseen?

Would you buy a new or used car unseen?


Here is the conundrum. Cars are expensive items. The internet provides both choice and great deals. The question is though, would you part with your money before you have ever seen the vehicle?

Would you buy a car unseen?


The huge rise in internet use has seen many routes to market for purchasing vehicles online. From online auctions like eBay to online marketplaces like Cazoo and Carwow, millions of vehicles are available at the touch of a button. 



The perceived wisdom is that when you buy such an expensive item as a car, that you would want to touch and feel it first. However, with the ever-increasing presence of online platforms has the view of the car-buying public changed?



A survey by AA-Populus polled around 17,100 UK motorists. The results provide interesting reading. 



  • 21% of UK motorists bought a car unseen in 2020

  • Of those who have bought a car unseen, 62% bought a new car from a dealer. 38% bought a used car either from a dealer, privately or through an online auction

  • 75% of motorists say they have not, and would never buy a car unseen. 



Remote Car buying confidence



It is clear that there is a difference in attitude between those buying a new car and those buying a used vehicle. It would follow that the likes of Carwow and Cazoo are mostly used for new vehicles, therefore. 



Even with the restrictions of the Covid crisis, the attitude of UK car buyers does not seem to have shifted at all from the pre-lockdown marketplace. 



Indeed, in 2019 a similar survey saw a lower proportion of people (69%) say that they have not, nor would they ever buy a car unseen. Despite all the problems of lockdown, the 2020 poll saw this percentage rise to 75%. 



Should we be surprised by that? 



There are numerous reports of a string bounce-back for car dealers with both new and used car sales from the re-opening of dealers on the 1st of June. Measures put in by the dealer network saw more virtual tours available for vehicles. Dealers also employed 'click and collect' and home delivery services for sales. 



Perhaps the UK car-buying public is not quite ready to embrace remote vehicle purchases entirely. It must be said though that dealers do seem to have more facilities in place for the market to go that way.