KUALA LUMPUR: The process of buying a car in Malaysia today starts behind the computer as buyers visit fewer showrooms before making their choice, said Google Malaysia head of marketing Jon Day.
He said that a recent study by Google and TNS Research revealed that 86% of Malaysians looking to buy a car start with online research.
Day said that more than 75% of Malaysians are online and are quite savvy with their searches – how they search and what sites they visited.
Because of this, Day said, Malaysians are visiting fewer dealers because of all the information on brands and models available online.
"At the end of the day, they are going to be visiting two to three dealers compared to three to four in 2013," he said during a press briefing held by Google Malaysia on Thursday.
According to Day, car companies need to be aware of online trends among Malaysian car buyers to draw them to their showrooms and ultimately to sell their cars.
Beyond price, he said Malaysians generally choose functionality over design, adding that this included fuel mileage and seating capacity.
He added that after-sales service provided by car companies and the resale value of the car were also important.
Engine and overall performance are considered further down the line and were less important to Malaysian buyers, he noted.
The data was derived from surveys of recent car buyers and those looking to buy cars, as well as analysis of online search queries.