Ford is revving up its build-to-order business model as a new study from S&P Global shows that a growing number of American car buyers are opting to order their next ride instead of purchasing from a dealership lot. The study, based on the responses of 1,450 U.S. consumers over the past year, found that 56% of American-based car buyers are willing to wait over a month for delivery, and 30% are willing to wait over three months. The shift in consumer behavior is largely due to the pandemic, with most surveyed consumers preferring to complete the process online (60%) and even willing to select a dealership further away if it offers more online options (76%).
However, the traditional test drive still holds strong, with 82% of respondents saying they want to complete one before making a purchase. But they prefer to do it at their home or office, not at a dealership. As Treffen White, Director of Consulting for S&P Global Mobility, puts it: “The dealer network of the past is not necessarily the network the industry will need for the future. Having the right digital tools will be more important than the size or appearance of the showroom.”
With Ford retail orders rising 69.6% YoY to 329,000 units in 2022, it’s clear that the automaker is heading in the right direction. The survey data from S&P Global confirms that American car buyers are warming up to the idea of ordering their next ride, and the industry will need to adapt to this changing consumer behavior.