CONSUMER perception of the motor finance industry is “better than how it views itself” according to new research carried out for Startline Motor Finance.
When asked to compare motor finance to other retail sectors in a traditional store-based setting, 39.6% of consumers placed motor finance a long way ahead or slightly ahead of other retail sectors compared to 26.3% of dealers.
Only 23.8% of consumers believed that motor finance was slightly or a long way behind other retail sectors compared to 31.6% of dealers – while 42.1% of dealers and 36.0% of consumers rated it around the same.
The picture is similar for online retail, where 36.8% of consumers placed motor finance a long way ahead or slightly ahead of other retail sectors compared to 24.6% of dealers.
Just 30.3% of consumers believed that motor finance was slightly or a long way behind other retail sectors compared to 45.6% of dealers online – with 29.8% of dealers and 32.9% of consumers rating it around the same.
Does the motor finance industry give itself a hard time?
Paul Burgess, Chief Executive at Startline, said: “The motor finance industry tends to give itself quite a hard time about its reputation but these figures show that consumers view it significantly better than how it views itself.
“Whether looking at store-based or online retail environments, it ranks very competitively against sectors that would generally be perceived as being much more customer-focused.
“While there is clearly still work to do to drive forward standards still further, this is very much welcome news for our sector.”
Burgess said that moves in recent years to improve levels of compliance in motor finance and create an ethos based around meeting consumer needs may have had an impact.
“It’s because of the media coverage around this issue that motor finance tends to be wary of how it is perceived but, conversely, maybe the regulation which is now being enforced is helping to create a better environment for consumers.”
The sectors against which motor finance was measured in the survey included food, clothes, consumer technology, travel and financial services.
The research was carried out by APD Global for Startline’s “The Future of Used Car Finance” report and surveyed 57 dealer businesses including franchise groups, independents, car supermarkets and online specialist brokers.
The sample chosen was designed to be representative of the dealer sector as a whole. All the respondents were senior managers who had responsibility for used car retailing and finance propositions.
The research covered 300 people who were planning to buy a used car.