Checklist Malaysians tend to follow before buying a car

A typical middle class Malaysian family had one or more vehicles. — file pic
A typical middle class Malaysian family had one or more vehicles. — file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 17 — Exciting times are ahead in the transportation industry which certainly will change the way we decide on our dream cars.

This new outlook signifies that car ownership consideration today isn’t the way it used to be. Car purchases in Malaysia declined by 0.6 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year and the Malaysian Automotive Association is forecasting total industry volume (TIV) for new cars to grow at around 5 per cent next year before declining to 2.1 per cent in 2021.

Those figures aside, what exactly is it that Malaysians take into consideration when getting a car? Well to figure this out, Google and Kantar TNS recently conducted a study to track how people buy their cars with the study focused on four key stages to a new set of wheels: Purchase consideration, initial research, further research and point of sale.

Since cars are a complicated purchase and demand a large investment, many rely heavily on research to help them make the right decision with 96 per cent of Malaysians revealing that their conduct initial research online over an average duration of two months before deciding.

A whopping 93 per cent of Malaysians agree that the internet is an influential source of information and what they search for greatly affects their purchasing decision. Top on the search list included user reviews, best prices, professional reviews, price comparisons, quality performance and offers.

As many as 87 per cent also said that they followed up on their initial research by watching review videos and testimonials, which in the long run influenced their final car model choice.

Dealerships remain critical offline touchpoints and online research is crucial for driving consumers there. The study revealed that both search and video work hand-in-hand with one in four people deciding on a dealership after searching online and 37 per cent (or roughly four in 10) visited a dealership after watching online videos.  

“By promoting prices, quality and performance on the right channels and/or stage of the journey, brands can grab attention and steer consumers their way,” says Google Malaysia business development manager Meredith Wallace.  

Brand loyalty also plays a big part when it comes to cars and eight out of 10 Malaysians typically returning to the same brand with the average number of brands considered before final purchase at 2.7 — which leaves a lot of room for new brands and models to be considered.   

In fact, 37 per cent of respondents said they ended up buying a brand they did not initially intend. The initial online research process offers much of the opportunity to influence with 74 per cent of consumers saying they are willing to consider new brands.

No doubt buying a new car is a big step and can be an intimidating experience, hopefully the information shared from this study will steer you in the right direction.  

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