The reopening of car showrooms is good news for the industry, as new research finds that the majority of car owners (76%) still buy their cars from a showroom, with nearly a quarter (24%) of these second-hand cars.

The survey of 2,000 UK drivers, which was commissioned by, a leading supplier of GAP Insurance (Guaranteed Asset Protection) for new and second-hand cars, found that car showrooms are particularly popular with the over 55s with four fifths (81%) buying from a showroom, compared to two thirds (66%) of 18-34s.

Nearly a half of drivers (49%) prefer to see a car in the showroom and inspect it for themselves. However, it is important the showrooms offer a good deal, as over a quarter (27%) say they don’t believe that the deal a car salesperson gives is the best deal they can get, and nearly a third (31%) go to car showrooms but then compare the prices online.

A fifth (20%) of drivers say that they find negotiating stressful and would rather cars be advertised at the final selling price, and 18% of women say they find car showrooms intimidating, compared with 10% of men.

The remaining buyers purchase cars from private sellers (7%), car supermarkets (4%), online retailers (3%) and family members (3%). One in ten (11%) said that they would be happy to travel across the country to collect a car purchased online, with 14% of men saying this compared with 7% of women.

Almost one in five (19%) drivers would be happy to buy a car without a test drive (men 23% and women 16%), compared with a third (31%) of 18-34 year olds. A third of drivers (33%) in the North East are also happy to buy without a test drive compared with 12% in the South West and 14% in Wales.

Incredibly 8% said they would be happy to buy a car online, from a reputable seller, even if they had never seen it, with 11% of men saying this compared with 6% of women. Although buying a car is a big decision,  14% said that they would buy a car on their own, without even consulting their partner!

Ben Wooltorton, Chief Operating Office of said: “It’s great that car showrooms are now open to car buyers, however they need to make sure they are offering really good deals. It seems that drivers are doing their research, and if they aren’t happy with the deal being offered, many, and especially younger drivers, are willing to buy online, even without a test drive or seeing the vehicle!”

He continues: “It’s the same with GAP insurance, the insurance which makes up the difference, between the market value, and what was originally paid for a car, if it’s written off or stolen. Many dealerships offer this as an add-on in the showroom when selling a car, but considerable savings can often be made if you do some shopping around online, and get some quotes from a standalone providers like”