Car buyers skipping the test drive

How disinterested are consumers in their cars? According to a new study reported in The Detroit Free Press, more than 10 percent of new car buyers can't be bothered to take a test drive.

The study, conducted by Maritz Research, surveyed over 80,000 people who had bought 2012 model year vehicles, and the final tally of those who didn't take a test drive was 11.4 percent, according to the report. The implication is that with some 80 percent of consumers doing their car research on the Internet, combined with a universal dislike of car sales practices, people are increasingly willing to buy a car almost sight unseen.

Dealers, oddly enough, are not happy about this trend, according to the report. The test drive is part of the dealer's arsenal of tactics to get people excited enough to part with their hard earned cash. As one former dealership representative told the Freep, "The feel of the wheel will seal the deal."

But the test drive can also be a crucial determiner for consumers, especially when car shoppers do an adequate job of comparing different vehicles by undertaking thorough test drives. No matter how good a model might look on paper or how glowingly some "professional" car reviewer might describe it, there's no replacement for actually getting it out on the road and experiencing it yourself.