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RESEARCH SHOWS MANY CAR BUYERS PREFER TO DICKER

 NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- In spite of the growing popularity of one-price selling among auto dealers, many American car and truck buyers still want to negotiate on their next new vehicle purchase, according to a nationwide consumer survey conducted by The Dohring Company.
 Survey results were announced at a news conference held today in conjunction with the National Automobile Dealers Association annual convention opening here February 6.
 According to Doug Dohring, chief executive officer of the nation's leading market research firm specializing in automotive retailing, of the 85 percent of survey respondents who negotiated their last new vehicle purchase, only 34.3 percent of those people said they disliked the process. 52.8 percent of those surveyed said they liked the negotiation process and 11.5 percent said they neither liked nor disliked the negotiation process.
 The survey also showed that of the 15 percent of those who accepted the dealer's initial asking price on their last purchase, none cited a dislike of negotiating as the reason why they didn't dicker.
 "What the numbers seem to be saying is that one-price selling isn't a cure-all for the American auto retailing industry," said Dohring. "Although one-price strategies do appeal to car and truck buyers who dislike negotiating, the majority of consumers seem to actually like haggling in order to get the perceived best possible price."
 Dohring said 38.9 percent of consumers surveyed said they'd be inclined to shop and buy from a one-price dealership, while 28.7 percent said they'd go to a negotiating-type dealership and 32.4 percent said they'd visit both. This suggests, he said, that the majority of car buyers want to assure themselves of the best possible price.
 Supporting this is the fact that, when directly asked, 88.6 percent of respondents said they would still be likely to comparison-shop even after getting a price from a one-price dealer.
 "People seem to like the one-price concept in general -- and see the potential benefits -- but when it comes down to their own purchase decision, they want to make sure they don't pay too much," he said.
 Adding to this concern could be consumer perceptions regarding dealer profits on new car and truck sales. According to Dohring, the study showed that consumers think the average dealer makes over $3,850 profit on a vehicle listing for $20,000.
 But, Dohring reports, the respondents also said they're willing to allow dealers a profit of over $1,850 on their own purchase of a vehicle listing for $20,000.
 "For dealers, this study strongly suggests that auto consumers want a good price, but they're not opposed to dealers making a fair profit," said Dohring. "Consumers, however, feel that dealers are making a lot more than they actually are on a per unit sold basis.
 "Interestingly, when we asked consumers how much profit they were willing for a dealer to make on their own purchases of new vehicles, the amounts they indicated averaged about 30 percent more than the national dealer average on a new vehicle sale," said Dohring.
 "These results clearly show that the dealer and consumer need to get to know each other a lot better."
 Other survey findings include:
 -- 43.3 percent of consumers intending to purchase a new vehicle in the future said they would do so within the next 24 months.
 -- 58.4 percent of all consumers have not heard of the one-price concept, with 18-24 year-olds (78.8 percent) and women (68.4 percent) the least aware of the concept.
 -- The 18-24 and 65+ year-olds had the highest preferences for negotiating of any age groups, while the 25-34 and 35-49 year-olds tended to dislike negotiating more than other age groups.
 -- 68.9 percent of respondents feel that American cars are better in overall quality than they were three years ago.
 -- 64.4 percent said American cars are currently comparable or better than Japanese imports in terms of overall quality.
 The national consumer telephone survey was conducted from Jan 3-12, 1993 with a random sampling of 1,246 respondents throughout the United States who intend to purchase a new vehicle in the future. The sample was drawn from randomly selected geographic areas throughout the country with all states represented. The sampling in each state was selected in proportion to its household population. The survey was conducted to ensure that results would accurately reflect potential new vehicle buyers nationwide. The study has a 95 percent confidence level with a +/- 2.9 percent margin of error.
 The Dohring Company, based in Glendale, Calif., has conducted over 1,500 individualized market studies for auto dealers and manufacturers in all 50 states and Canada. The 80-employee company interviewed over 100,000 car and light truck buyers in 1992.
 -0- 2/6/93
 /CONTACT: Eric Hood, 313-433-9651, for The Dohring Company/


CO: The Dohring Company ST: California IN: AUT SU: ECO

SB -- NYSA009 -- 3822 02/06/93 14:35 EST
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Date:Feb 6, 1993
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