A new study has shown that car buyers value salespeople far more than other sources of information when they're choosing a new car.
In the internet age, most of us would like to consider ourselves impervious to the silvery-tongued car salesperson -- but it turns out that salespeople are the most influential factor when it comes to plumping for a new model.
The research, conducted by market research firm Maritz, discovered that just under 22 percent of customers found salespeople the most influential factor, nearly triple the number that cited dealer websites (8.6 percent).
The second most influential source of information was family, friends and word of mouth at 18.7 percent, the study showed, while consumer guides such as Consumer Reports were found to influence 18.4 percent.
Interestingly, Maritz found that the influence of salespeople is growing, ranking significantly higher in 2011 than in the last five years.
"People buy from people," said Maritz's Chris Travell.
"Social media can certainly support the selling effort, but I believe it would be a mistake to believe that social media will usurp it."
The research, which is drawn from the largest automotive study of consumers in the US, suggests that current efforts of major car chains to overhaul their showrooms in favor of a more 'consumer-friendly' approach may be paying off.
BMW, Lincoln, Lexus and Tesla are among brands currently revamping stores to provide a more familiar retail experience to buyers, by refining staff training and modernizing interior design.