Trustpilot announcements
March 27, 2019

Car dealers websites a cause for concern as car sales move online

Car dealers encouraged to hit the accelerator as 267,000 Trustpilot reviews show their websites are not delivering the best customer experiences

27 March 2019 – London  –  A dealership’s website is often a key driver of bad consumer experiences, reveals a Trustpilot sentiment analysis based on more than 267,000 customers reviews of 344 UK car dealers. While Trustpilot’s latest review insights tool shows ‘customer service’ generally led to good reviews, the main reason for people having a bad experience often relates to the car dealer’s ‘website’.

“Digital transformation has hit the UK car industry with customers expecting an online experience that can bridge the gap between the dealership and their next car purchase. This new analysis shows the great potential for car dealers to build better websites that meet customer expectations. Those dealerships who can provide consumers with a great online experience and build consumer trust on their website will stay ahead of the curve and ultimately win,“ said Neil Bayton, Partner Director, Trustpilot.

The changing landscape of car purchasing is highlighted by topics such as ‘process’ and ‘delivery’ also falling behind ‘customer service’. Today, dealerships need to have a streamlined online presence and deliver like the leading e-commerce companies of the world.

“It no longer makes sense to talk about the importance of online car sales as something that will happen in the future. It’s already taking place. For any dealership these days, digital sales channels really should be the centre of attention to ensure a great buying experience,” said Neil Bayton.

Paul Hilton, Retail Director for GForces, a leader in providing digital technology, marketing, and consultancy services to the automotive industry, believes that dealerships can gain significant benefits from bridging the gap between the online and physically experience.

“Whether it’s a first time visitor or a repeat user, delivering the best digital experience for consumers is vital to forging a relationship that’s going to drive positive results. Consumers are quick to turn off if they can’t find what they’re looking for. From easily accessible contact details to delivering the best mobile experience, identifying and providing the right user journey is essential.”

With previous research showing that 20% of all cars are expected to be sold online by 2027, car dealers are encouraged to embrace an online-first business model to fuel future sales. The importance of embracing a digital future is supported by the fact that more than 80% of millennials turn to the internet when researching their next car purchase and over a third are willing to buy a car online. A key driver in their decision-making process is online reviews, which are considered one of the most influential sources of information.

To download the Trustpilot “Uncertainty and trust in the automotive industry” report click here.

Using Trustpilot’s Review Insights tool, which analyses reviews based on Natural Language Processing (NLP) and AI, more than 267,000 customers reviews written in 2018 of 344 UK car dealers were analysed to discover trends in customer experiences. Both negative and positive reviews were analysed and topics identified in at least 10,000 reviews were included in the final analysis. The sentiment score for a topic is calculated by taking the percentage of positive mentions of a topic and subtracting the percentage of negative mentions, giving a score between 100 and -100.

Average Sentiment Score 2018

About Trustpilot
Trustpilot is the world’s most powerful review platform - free and open to all. With more than 57 million reviews of over 270,000 domains, Trustpilot gives people a place to share and discover reviews of businesses, and we give every company the tools to turn consumer feedback into business results. Our mission is to bring people and businesses closer together to create ever-improving experiences for everyone. Trustpilot reviews are seen more than 2,5 billion times each month by consumers worldwide. With offices in Copenhagen, London, New York, Denver, Berlin, Melbourne and Vilnius, Trustpilot's 700 employees represent more than 40 different nationalities. For more information, visit

Press contact

Trustpilot Press Office


We've committed to being the most trusted review platform in the world.