« Start new Comparison

Consumer Car Reviews – A New Approach

August 16th, 2011

What’s the big deal with consumer car reviews?  There are a lot of sources of information for the new car shopper out there – expert reviews, specifications, brochures, advertisements, dealers – and each can be important in its place.  But, the number one reason new car shoppers go online to gather information is to get reviews from fellow consumers.

Why?  Well, there are a lot of reasons.  But, in the end, the car you buy has to fit your life.  Expert opinion can be valuable, but the needs, perspectives, and priorities of experts, let alone dealers and manufacturers, do not always align with yours.  That’s why many new car shoppers place so much value in what real live car buyers say about the strengths and weaknesses of different car models out there.

And yet, many car shoppers find themselves frustrated in their efforts to gather the information they are after from other car buyers.  There are a certainly a lot of consumer car reviews out there.  So, what’s the problem?  A lot of car shoppers say it is difficult to find consumer feedback on the specific vehicle attributes they are interested in, and even more difficult to compare that information across models.  That’s because most online consumer car reviews are a series of unstructured individual reviews.  These unstructured car reviews can be full of random comments about things you may not be interested in – the color of their particular car, etc.  And, most probably lack the detailed information on items you ARE interested in.

Another problem that becomes obvious to anyone who has looked at consumer reviews is that the reviewers generally know mostly their own model .  So, they may think the car they just bought has the nicest interior materials they’ve ever seen.  But, they may not have been exposed to a competitive model with materials most would agree are much nicer.

And then there is the problem of the glow of that recent new car purchase.  Many car reviews are posted during the honeymoon period, just after the reviewer bought that shiny new car.  They are understandably excited and rate their new car very high across most measures, say a 9 or 10 on a 10 point scale.  The result?  You see little difference across attributes or between models – mostly 9s and 10s or 4s and 5s, depending on the scale used.

On top of that, for many new models, there are simply too few ratings, leaving you to guess whether the ones you’re seeing are representative of the views of most owners, or not.

Finally, there is the question of who is really posting the review.  Someone on a manufacturer’s marketing staff?  A dealer?  A 14-year-old car geek who loves to talk cars but has never owned one?  Anyone can go online and post a review, so it’s tough to be sure.

Well, what if you could get consumer car reviews from real owners in the class of vehicles you are shopping who actually compared across models?  What if the ratings you saw were based on a lot of reviewers, and showed significant differences between models?  And what if the reviews were organized in a way that made it easy to quickly get the information you are after and to compare across models?

At trueconsumerreviews, we apply market research science to collect and organize consumer car reviews to give you exactly that.  Our process involves inviting hundreds of owners in a particular class of vehicles to a physical research facility to conduct detailed, back-to-back evaluations of all major models.  The results are statistically summarized into an easy-to-navigate, easy-to-understand format designed to make it easy for you to find what you’re after and compare across models.  Basically, we have owners like you do the upfront shopping so you don’t have to.  No more driving all over town and visiting a bunch of dealers in order to figure which models you’re most interested in.

So far, we have conducted studies in 6 different vehicle classes, spanning sedans, SUVs and crossovers, covering a total of 79 models.  And, more classes and models are on the way.  So, we invite you to see what you think.  Pick a category of vehicles of interest to you and do a little shopping.  We’d love to hear any feedback you may have.