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Volvo sales

Not a salesman fan? You’re not alone as demand for extended test drives is on the up.

Have you ever wanted to test drive a car without a salesman breathing down your neck, spewing trivia such as boot space, top speed and fuel economy?

Seems you’re not the only one – as research by automotive software specialist, DCML, has found demand for extended test drives has risen by 23 per cent in the past 18 months.

In addition, drivers are seeking more unaccompanied test drives away from pressuring salesmen, too.

With the average consumer visiting less than two showrooms before buying his or her new car, the findings underline the need for dealers to avoid old-school pressure tactics, in favour of a more relaxed approach.

Vince Powell, managing director of DCML, said: “The opportunity to sell in a traditional sense is disappearing fast. As a result of distant decision making, with consumers choosing one model rather than a selection to test drive, the demand for more than the usual accompanied test drive is on the rise.”

This is partly due to the huge amount of online content now available to potential car buyers. Everything from expert reviews to pricing, specifications and extensive option lists are available on the Internet, backed up by videos, advice and retrospective owner opinion.

While walking into a dealer and asking for a 48-hour test drive may not be as easy as one might hope, some manufacturers and dealer franchises are embracing the wants and needs of new consumers.

Volvo, offers a selection of test drive programme at dealers, which allows business car users  to mimic their actual driving routines.

Each test drive lasts 45 minutes and is completely unaccompanied. Customers are encouraged to bring along their children, golf clubs, pushchairs and even surfboards, to see if the car can satisfy their daily needs.

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