Almost half (45%) of consumers want face-to-face guidance from dealers when deciding on which car to buy, according to a survey by Black Horse.

The number rose to over 50% for those in the 18-24 and over-55 age ranges.

18 to 24 year olds were also the group least likely to waive dealer guidance altogether, with just a third saying they would be comfortable buying a car without face-to-face interaction.

Around half of 18 to 34 year olds wanted advice on finance options, compared to just over a third of all other respondents.

Additionally, 80% of all respondents said they would be unlikely to buy a car that they had not had the occasion to test.

Richard Jones, managing director of Black Horse, said: “It’s clear that people still value the role of the car dealer and need the guidance they provide as part of the overall buying journey. This seems particularly true of the younger generation, especially in the area of finance.

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“Of course we recognise that digital has an important role to play in research and selection and that an integrated buying experience – one of both bricks and clicks – is the model of the future. So we need to put ourselves in the strongest possible position to deliver a great car buying experience.

“A core element of this is demonstrating our professionalism by being able to answer questions, provide clear explanations and help customers understand their options so they make fully informed decisions on the most suitable choice for them. An emphasis on training will help further develop the already excellent levels of knowledge and expertise on forecourts across the UK.”