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RESEARCH commissioned by the online automotive marketplace, Autotrader, reveals that nearly two thirds of Australian drivers between 22 and 54 years old do not feel confident to undertake a used car purchase because they lack the knowledge to manage the negotiations.   

Autotrader said of the results that there is a gap between ‘car people’ who feel confident they are getting a fair deal and ‘non-car people’.

The research by YouGov and commissioned by Autotrader reveals that 50 per cent of Australian  drivers do not consider themselves knowledgeable about cars.

The research also revealed that 64 per cent of Australian drivers aged 22-54 are uncomfortable with negotiating pricing, leading to a more stressful purchase journey.

They said they feel very uncomfortable in haggling and negotiating about pricing and would be more confident in buying a second-hand vehicle if they were given insights and tips on what to look for and check when buying (79 per cent).

The research showed that being prepared for the purchase by doing research and getting advice “builds confidence which is vital when undergoing the purchase of a vehicle”. 

Autotrader said in a statement that as a result of the research and “to support the owners of more than 20 million registered motor vehicles in Australia, Autotrader’s online marketplace gives buyers access to vital tools, information and insights to help build confidence and get a fair deal when purchasing a vehicle”. 

The online quantitative national poll surveyed 1245 Australians between June 17-22, 2021.

Richard Dicello

According to the survey, 81 per cent of the drivers who were “very confident when looking to buying a second-hand car” (just 29 per cent) and those “somewhat confident when looking to buying a second-hand car” (52 per cent) agreed that they got a “great” or “fair” deal the last time they made a purchase. 

This compared to the 17 per cent who said they were“not very confident” (14 per cent) or “not at all confident” (3 per cent).

The survey also found that three in four (77 per cent) of drivers aged 22-54 said that quality/reliability of a secondhand vehicle was important in constituting a ‘fair deal’.

Richard Dicello, head of motors at Autotrader, said: “Our mission at Autotrader is to help Aussies get a fair deal when purchasing a second-hand vehicle and make the overall experience a win-win for both the buyer and the seller.” 

“Australia has long been divided between those who are ‘car people’ and those who aren’t. For those who aren’t car people, a key time they wish they knew more about cars is when they’re buying or selling one to make sure they are getting a ‘fair deal’.

“As such, we’ve enhanced our offering to level the playing field between those who are car people and those who aren’t to make sure that everyone looking to buy or sell a vehicle on our platform is armed with the tools, knowledge and information to boost their confidence and ensure they walk away feeling satisfied they’ve achieved a great deal,” Mr Dicello said .

He said the tools were available on the Autotrader website and apps from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Meanwhile, to help Australians get a fairer deal on their next automotive purchase, Autotrader said it has enlisted the support of Dr Tim Sharp, a behavioural psychologist and founder of The Happiness Institute, to help educate and empower Australians to feel confident in their buying decisions. 

“While household finances come under the microscope, there are plenty of ways you can achieve the best outcome when making a considered purchase. A vehicle is the second if not the most expensive asset most Australians will own, so confidence is the key to getting a fair deal,” Dr Sharp said.


Dr Sharp has outlined “three helpful tips to build confidence and get a fair deal when making a considered purchase:

  1. Do your research Build information and knowledge on what you are looking to purchase, what the value and history of that product is. Enlist support of those around you who are experts in the category to come armed with information when it comes time to purchase.
  2. Practice negotiation Ask yourself “what is the price I want to pay, and what am I willing to pay?” Be prepared to find value in more than just the final price.
  3. Imagine a successful outcome When it comes to what a successful transaction looks like, imagine what you want to achieve and the steps you need to take to get there.

Dr Sharp said that when it comes time to seal the deal, negotiation can be a big roadblock between walking away happy or with buyer’s remorse. 

“When completing a major purchase, the factors that affect pricing can play a major part on our psychological wellbeing. We typically experience a range of emotions in the lead up to and during the purchase from anxiety to excitement,” he said . 

“However, when we focus on the positive emotions and let that guide our decisions, we typically walk away with a fairer deal and a better experience as a result. The best way to do this is be prepared and do your research. By building your knowledge and information, you’ll be in a better place to achieve a successful outcome.”

By John Mellor

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