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MORE than half of UK car buyers would buy without a test drive and 25 per cent said they would avoid haggling over the price, a survey of 2000 drivers by a UK insurance company has found.

The Opinium survey, commissioned by GAP insurance supplier InsuretheGap.com, found that 51 per cent of buyers showed no interest in driving the car first and men were more likely to buy a car without a test drive.

Test drives were also discounted by 47 per cent of the women surveyed.

Nine per cent of respondents said they would be happy buying a car online without seeing the car first.

GAP said that many car buyers still wanted to avoid visiting a dealership, with 20 per cent of under-35s saying dealerships were intimidating. This is double the number of over-55s (10 per cent). Women (16 per cent) also find dealerships more intimidating than men (nine per cent).

InsuretheGap.com COO Ben Wooltorton said: “Older generations are used to face-to-face interactions being the norm, so maybe this is the reason why they aren’t intimidated or put off by the atmosphere of a car salesroom.

“For younger generations, used to doing everything online, it might feel a more alien and less comfortable environment.

“Car salesrooms might need to find new ways to engage with a younger audience, who are used to shopping around, comparing prices and buying things online.”

The survey found that 82 per cent of over-55s bought their new or second-hand car from a car showroom, compared with 60 per cent of 18-to-34-year-olds, who are more than twice as likely than over-55s to have used a private seller when buying their car.

One source of stress for younger generations centres around negotiating on the price of a car.

A fifth (20 per cent) of respondents to the survey said that they found haggling over the price is stressful and would rather cars were advertised at the final selling price than being expected to negotiate (22 per cent men and 17 per cent women).

“Over-55s are more comfortable negotiating than younger generations,” the survey said.

“Almost a third (32 per cent) of car buyers go to car showrooms, but then compare the cars’ prices online.”

By Neil Dowling

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