More and more car shoppers rely on advice from online and social media sources, according to a survey conducted by a subsidiary of DealerTrack Holdings Inc., a Lake Success automotive-industry software company.
And that trend can be exploited by car dealers to overcome a dilution in consumer brand loyalty, the company says.
The DealerTrack subsidiary is Chrome Systems Inc., of Portland, Ore.
The survey of potential buyers shows that 35 percent want to buy the same make as their previous purchase, a drop from 39 percent the previous year.
The survey also showed an increase in the number of buyers who go online to see side-by-side comparisons of competing brands.
Car dealers "can increase brand awareness and attract more shoppers with a savvy mix of robust research tools backed up by social networking," the Chrome Systems survey says.
With diminished brand loyalty, the survey says, the car industry has to find new ways to connect with return customers and to attract new ones.