Dealer Closings Won’t Hurt Auto Sales, Might Hurt Brand Loyalty

CarGurus survey finds majority of consumers willing to travel an average of 125 miles when shopping for a new car, but only 27 miles for warranty service.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., December 7th, 2009 — CarGurus® (, a leading online automotive community, today announced the results of its latest survey of 2,100 online automotive consumers worldwide. With 59% of respondents willing to travel an average of 125 miles to visit a dealer while shopping for a new car, recent auto dealership closings do not appear to be an issue affecting consumer automotive shopping behavior and sales. However, when it comes to long-term ownership issues like warranty service, the majority of consumers (61%) are only willing to drive an average of 27 miles.

Earlier this year, the automotive press raised concerns about the Big Three’s closing of many car dealerships during the auto industry bailout. CarGurus’ survey results suggest those dealership closings may not matter to consumers while they’re shopping for a car.

“Consumers are willing to travel long and far to shop for a new car. In fact, 61% of respondents in our survey want to visit 4 or more dealerships when shopping for a new car,” remarked Langley Steinert, CEO and founder of CarGurus. “In the long run, however, manufacturers need to keep a close eye on dealership density in important geographic markets, as having too few service dealerships in a given market could hurt a manufacturer’s brand image and loyalty. Consumers will travel long and far to buy a car, but not to have it serviced.”

Survey Results

Across the CarGurus Network, approximately 2,100 respondents answered these questions:

What’s the farthest you would drive
to visit a dealer while shopping for a new car?

(Total Votes = 2,112)
22% Up to 30 miles.
19% 30-60 miles.
15% 60-90 miles.
11% 90-150 miles.
33% More than 150 miles.
How many dealers would you want to visit while shopping for a new car?
(Total Votes = 2,118)
11% 1
9% 2
19% 3
9% 4
52% 5 or more
What’s the farthest you would drive to a dealer
for warranty service on a new car?

(Total Votes = 2,123)
37% Up to 30 miles.
24% 30-60 miles.
12% 60-90 miles.
8% 90-150 miles.
19% More than 150 miles.

About CarGurus LLC
Located in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA, CarGurus LLC is a leading online automotive community founded by Langley Steinert , formerly Chairman/co-founder of TripAdvisor LLC, the 3rd largest online travel site in the world. CarGurus’ founders, board, and investors bring a wealth of experience from such leading web companies as TripAdvisor, eBay, Expedia, and Yahoo. For more information about CarGurus, visit us at

CONTACT: Steve Halloran, Editor, CarGurus LLC
617-354-0068, x12

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