Driving the Car Buying Revolution


When it comes to buying products online, new car sales have lagged behind other online products and services. However, that’s rapidly changing.

According to a recent Google Automotive Shopper study, 90 percent of vehicle buyers research online before visiting a dealership. Today, a vast majority of consumers rely on, and expect, a digital experience, using websites, mobile apps, and social media to research their purchases.

On average, vehicle buyers take more than two months to collect information prior to purchasing a vehicle, according to Google and Luth Research. Increasingly, credit unions are turning to solutions such as CU Direct’s AutoSMART auto-shopping site to deliver a digital experience to their members. AutoSMART offers buyers access to more than 2 million vehicles from 13,000 dealerships nationwide, to help them make an informed decision. Providing a member-centric experience advances member loyalty and keeps credit union financing top of mind. Nearly 900 credit unions have incorporated AutoSMART to help members with the auto-buying process.

“Consumer expectations around automotive research and buying are increasing exponentially, which challenges us to provide valuable data, features and experiences to help them on their shopping journey,” notes Jason Samson, CU Direct’s director of automotive media. “Consumers are no longer just looking for vehicle and dealership information online; they now expect features that simplify the entire experience.”

It’s essential for credit unions to remain relevant by incorporating technology that meets growing consumer expectations in the digital marketplace. CU Direct’s network of 1,117 credit unions makes up the largest auto lender program in the country, booking 1.8 million loans in 2017. Digital solutions like AutoSMART are playing a major role in helping credit unions achieve success as consumers continue to embrace digital retail experiences. Credit unions have the ability to serve more members and grow auto lending by engaging their members early on during the auto-purchase process.

This article was authored by Bill Meyer, Communications Lead for CU Direct.

Questions about AutoSmart and how it can help your members? Contact NWCUA’s Strategic Partnerships Manager Kaitlin Ramos by emailing kramos@nwcua.org  

Posted in GoWest Solutions.