According to an AutoTrader-commissioned study of people who purchased vehicles within the past 12 months, the Internet is the source most used when finding a car dealer. However, the study revealed generational differences among vehicle buyers. Baby boomers were more likely than Millennials or Generation Xers to use a referral from family or friends, a newspaper or other media sources, or have prior experience with a dealer. Millennials and Generation Xers were more likely to use the Internet or simply walk into a dealership than Baby Boomers.

Most Influential Sources Leading to a Car Dealer, 2014


Notes: Internet category includes on-line news sites. All Other Media Sources category includes television, direct mailings, outdoor ads, radio, and magazines. Although the original study did not specify exact definitions, Baby Boomers are those born from 1946 to 1964; Generation Xers are those born from 1964 to about 1980; and Millennials are those born from about 1980 to the mid-2000's. Sample size was about 1,900 buyers.

Fact #872 Dataset

Supporting Information

Most Influential Sources Leading to a Car Dealer, 2014
 MillennialsGen XBaby
Referral from Family or Friend12%11%16%
Prior Experience w/Dealer5%4%11%
Newspaper (Printed or On-line)1%2%6%
All Other Media Sources5%6%10%

Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 2014 Vehicle Technologies Market Report, ORNL/TM-2015/85, March 2015.

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