David Thomas

David Thomas is director of content marketing and automotive industry analyst at CDK Global. He champions thought leadership across all platforms, connecting CDK’s vast expertise to the broader market and trends driving our industry forward. David has spent nearly 20 years in the automotive world as a product evaluator, journalist and marketer for brands like Autoblog, Cars.com, Nissan and Harley-Davidson.

David Thomas
Director, Content

For the past year, CDK Global has been surveying car buyers each month to gauge how easy the car buying process is. And while the average overall Ease of Purchase score remained steady, averaging 83% for the year, there were a few warning signs for dealers that the first annual tally uncovered.

After the tumultuous past few years of tight supply and ongoing demand, a common assumption was that more inventory would be a boon when it finally arrived at dealers. But in our latest survey of car buyers, it was clear that having more options on the lot didn’t help, and in fact, our Ease of Purchase score saw its largest month-to-month drop to date.

Only 79% of buyers in July found the purchase process easy, the lowest score since our survey started in July 2022.

As the volume of car sales traditionally dips during summer, buyers seemed rather content with their purchase process in June. The CDK Global monthly survey of car buyers found that 84% said the overall process was indeed easy, the same as last month and the highest we’ve recorded.

Inventories are rising and the lots almost look back to normal at many dealerships. These conditions helped lift the CDK Global Ease of Purchase score to 84% in May, one of our highest recorded. But just as the industry is overcoming one issue, another is lurking behind it. High interest rates have been an issue for months, especially for shoppers who want affordable options.

Interest rates have tripled compared to last April. Yes, you read that right. Car loan interest rates are now near 7%, up from the low twos in 2022 making cars less affordable and causing pain for many car shoppers. However, sales were strong in April — up by nearly 6% according to some estimates — and in our latest Ease of Purchase survey 83% of buyers found the process easy, up from 81% in March.

The slight uptick follows two factors that also saw positive change in April.