ETI releases market research study results on new car buying preferences

Findings suggest shop recommendations are based on quality and availability of aftermarket information and tools for a particular brand

Farmington Hills, Mich.—In an effort to assist its members in bringing new and improved equipment and tools to the marketplace, The Equipment and Tool Institute (ETI) released it research study findings.  The survey intended to quantify the impact aftermarket service facilities have on the new car buying preferences of consumers, such as: If a particular brand of vehicle is difficult to repair in the aftermarket, are future sales of that brand negatively impacted?  By the same token, if a particular brand of vehicle is easy to repair in the aftermarket will sales be boosted due to positive recommendations made to consumers by happy technicians?

Automakers, especially the import brands, have often asked ETI why providing scan tool data and other specialized information to tool and equipment makers is important, as they understand what it means to aftermarket equipment companies, but not their benefit, ETI representatives said.

ETI stated it believes that the quality and quantity of aftermarket tool support each automaker provides indirectly affects new and used car sales volume because independent shops influence consumer brand choice. Furthermore, it states that shop recommendations are based in large part on the quality and availability of aftermarket information and tools for a particular brand.

In the past, when asked for evidence that this is the case, ETI answered using anecdotal references to some specific instances where buying decisions have been influenced, but was not been able to provide any statistical data to back up our claims.

ETI developed two surveys, one for aftermarket shops and one for consumers. They were designed to determine if consumers ask aftermarket shops for recommendations regarding the purchase of their next vehicle and what, if any, advice they are given.

Shop owners and technicians were surveyed which vehicle brands are difficult to repair in the aftermarket, and if they receive consumer requests regarding what brand of car to buy. It was also asked if their answers were based on repair difficulty, and what factors make a particular brand easier or more difficult to repair.

Consumers were surveyed where they get their cars repaired, and if the answer was an independent shop, ETI asked them if they ever ask for a recommendation regarding what brand to buy the next time they are ready to purchase a vehicle. If the answer was yes, ETI asked whether or not the recommendation influenced their decision.

“ETI’s study has uncovered a very important facet of “word of mouth” advertising and influence,” said Charlie Gorman, the study’s author.  “According to a 2012 study done by Maritz Research, word of mouth plays a more important role in vehicle purchase decisions than magazine reviews, TV advertising, sales brochures, sponsored events and newspaper ads combined.  Imagine if just a small portion of the money auto makers spend on advertising were diverted to aftermarket support.  It could go a long way toward increased brand promotion.

“It is no coincidence that the automakers recommended the most in this study are also the companies that tend to support ETI’s efforts to acquire tool and equipment information specific to developing aftermarket products.  It is ETI’s hope that the automakers that are farther down the list will see the value.  It could help them gain approval from a very influential source of word of mouth advertising.”

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