How Much Does an Auto Review Influence Your Buying Decision?

You’re in the market for a new or used car. You’re starting your research, still several months out from your actual goal date of buying. You’ve even checked your credit score to see where you stand so you can fix any errors.

No doubt you’ll be looking at the manufacturers’ Web sites to get specs, pictures, options, etc. on the cars they currently have on the lots. You’ll probably check out other sites to see what kind of manufacturer rebates and incentives are being offered.

I’m sure most of us ask our family, friends, co-workers and others we trust what their opinion is on a certain brand or vehicle model. Buying a car is a big purchase. How many of us though take into consideration a review we’ve read about the car in a magazine or online?

David Berkowitz, an associate professor at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, who chairs the school’s marketing and management department, says that automotive reviews have a big influence on people who are looking to buy a new car.

"Opinion leaders are sought out by most everyone," he says. "The more significant a purchase decision, the more likely an opinion leader will be sought out."

Obviously, manufacturers and dealers worry about reviews because a bad review can be detrimental to them. Negative reviews seem to carry more weight than positive ones.

"Companies go to great lengths to make sure they (re­views) turn out positive," Berkowitz says.

Personally, I look at the publication or Web site and the author when determining the credibility of a car review. Who determines who is an expert?

I guess that’s up to the individual person and what type of advice they’re looking for a review to give them.

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