MUNICH -- Automakers and their dealers in Europe are losing sales because of a "widespread" failure to act upon test-drive requests from Internet shoppers, a survey shows.
Some 61 percent of Internet shoppers' requests for a test drive were unanswered within four days and 45 percent of the shoppers were not contacted within 14 days, according to a survey by Germany-based consultancy BearingPoint and Dutch customer relationship management company Multi-M/IT.
The ability to quickly and efficiently respond to sales inquiries will be a key as automakers confront a prolonged period of weak consumer demand in Europe, said James Rodger, automotive partner at BearingPoint, in an interview with Automotive News Europe.
He said none of the brands assessed in the survey had successfully addressed weaknesses in their lead management processes highlighted in earlier surveys. "This appears to be an endemic issue for an automotive industry," Rodger said.
19 brands surveyed
The survey covered 19 brands in seven European countries and involved researchers attempting to make more than 4,400 test-drive and brochure requests via car brand Web sites during November and December 2010.
Rodger said customers asking for test drives are close to making a purchase, so a quick response is essential.