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Rent Me, Test Me, Buy Me

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On: Thu, Feb 6, 2014 at 9:32AM | By: Karen Cook

Rent Me, Test Me, Buy Me

Back in the day, my generation purchased a vehicle based on what we needed the car to do (i.e. cart family around, attract potential partners, get back and forth to work, etc). We watched television commercials, asked questions of salesmen, and took test drives ranging from 5 to 15 minutes. Then we made a decision and bought a car. The up-and-coming generation seems to have a different approach. Television commercials may still pique their interest, but research is done online instead of at a dealership—with a salesman who may or may not answer honestly depending on how many cars he still needs to sell for the month.

All the new technology in a vehicle is a major concern for the twenty-somethings buying a new vehicle. You can’t get a good feel for all the gadgets on a typical test drive, so young people are renting vehicles they have an interest in, using the time as a sort of extended test drive. Besides the gadgets, gas mileage can also be monitored, and it can be determined beyond a doubt whether this vehicle fits in with a lifestyle.

Enterprise Holdings recently conducted a survey of 1,363 previous renters who were between 25 and 34 years old. These participants were selected randomly from the company’s customer database. The survey found that 79% believed that owning a vehicle is “extremely important” and 68% had their first experience with new technology in a rental car. 53% chose a specific make and model to try something new and 88% said that a good experience with a particular rental changed their opinions about that make and model. 28% decided to buy a new car based on an enjoyable rental and said this experience motivated them to purchase.

It seems clear that it would be in the best interest of manufacturers to equip vehicles destined to be rentals with all the latest gadgets they can fit in them. Today’s car buyers may be interested in something they saw on TV but they probably won’t buy if they can’t play with it first.


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