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I have to ask this question because each seminar, webinar and research study that I have read is stating this to be the case. It increases VDP's, time on the site and in turn increases sales.  Here is a study from KBB:

Shoppers Want Actual New Vehicle Photos, Not Stock Photography on Dealer Web Sites

According to a new study conducted by Kelley Blue Book Marketing Research among in-market car buyers, 90 percent of vehicle shoppers would prefer to view actual photos of new vehicles currently on the dealer's lot than view stock photography of a vehicle they are interested in buying.

When it comes to purchasing a used vehicle, viewing photos of the exact vehicle, its options, condition and mileage help a potential buyer make a purchase decision. But, when it comes to buying a new vehicle, in-market shoppers say they want to have that same luxury; seeing photos of the exact vehicle on a dealer's lot before driving to the dealership. Today, most dealerships use stock photography of new vehicles provided by the manufacturer to showcase current model-year vehicles.

Recent market research shows nearly 70 percent of today's new vehicle shoppers are turning to the Internet for new vehicle research. Nearly half of these shoppers visit at least one dealership Web site during the research process, making the information found on the dealer's Web site crucial in garnering a new customer. In fact, 74 percent of vehicle shoppers say they are more likely to visit a dealership if they are able to view a picture of an actual vehicle currently available on the lot, rather than stock photography. What's more, 53 percent would be more likely to buy that particular vehicle from a dealership offering actual photos of in-stock vehicles.

CDMdata Inc., a Kelley Blue Book Company, offers products and services that aid dealers in easily marketing both their new and used vehicles online with photos. CDMdata's DigitalLot® Solution is a device that collects vehicle information by scanning the VIN, takes multiple photos of the actual vehicle and then uploads all of the information to the dealer's Web site (and up to 150 retail Web sites) with the simple push of a button. The DigitalLot Solution can take up to 32 photos of each vehicle, and the in-depth VIN explosion allows consumers to instantly and accurately view all of the detailed information about their prospective new or used vehicle. For dealers who prefer to have someone else doing the book-in work, CDM Dealer Services provides a company representative to come to the dealer's lot to upload the information and photography for them.

"The online automotive shopping and buying process must continue to evolve, and the DigitalLot Solution is a critical tool to help dealers improve their relationships and build more trust with online shoppers," said Mike Romano, chief operating officer for CDMdata, Inc. and vice president of dealer strategy for Kelley Blue Book. "Whether using the solution for new or used vehicles, the DigitalLot quickly and easily automates the process of uploading dealers' online inventory, allowing them to ultimately sell more cars faster."

About Kelley Blue Book (

Kelley Blue Book's is America's most used and trusted vehicle pricing, values and information resource. The top-rated Web site provides the most up-to-date pricing and values for thousands of new and used vehicles, including the New Car Blue Book® Value, which reveals what people actually are paying for new cars. Since 1926, car buyers and sellers have relied upon Kelley Blue Book for authoritative and unbiased information to make well-informed automotive decisions. The company also reports vehicle prices and values via products and services, including the famous Blue Book® Official Guide and software products. has been rated the No. 1 automotive information site by Nielsen//NetRatings and the most visited auto site by J.D. Power and Associates eight years in a row. No other medium reaches more in-market vehicle shoppers than; nearly one in every three American car buyers perform their research on

SOURCE: Kelley Blue Book

CONTACT: Robyn Eckard, +1-949-268-3049,, or Joanna
McNally, +1-949-268-3079,, both of Kelley Blue Book

Web site:


However, the largest dealer group in our state doesn't use custom photos. My GM is afraid that if customers see new car photos that the customer won't think that they can custom order a vehicle and we will lose sales!

I told my GM if he is worried about losing custom photos, we could put in the comments "Call if you don't see what you are looking for?"

Also, how do we know that new car photos wouldn't help increase the largest dealer group's sales?


I am still trying to figure out which is the best way to go?

Any thoughts and additional research is appreciated.

Tags: Actual Photos, Images, KBB, New Vehicle Inventory, Photos, Stock

Views: 2539

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Replies to This ADM Discussion

Customers always have at least some distrust of car dealers. A big part of our job is to break down that distrust. Real photos help in that process and helps to establish credibility. Credibility is the first step on the road to trust.

Great points folks, love to see the energy around actual new car photos.  At Dealer Specialties, we've been fighting this perception battle for several years, and just over the last few years have seen this concept get solid traction.

Heck, I remember working hard to talk dealers in the late 1990s into have 1 or more used car photos.  Back then the perception was only 14 yr old kids were on the World Wide Web, what a long way we have come!

On dropping backgrounds, and creating cool branding, we and other great photo providers offer services where they can edit out the background (photoshopping) and drop in desired backgrounds, branding, etc.  For the average price this service is offered in the market, it would have to be cheaper than doing it yourself.

I was 18 in 1991 and was probably one of a hundred thousand "webmasters" promoting e-commerce. I just missed the boat. Hell, I didn't even know I was manipulating digital imagery and producing websites at first.

With a dozen or more colors in the palate of most manufacturers, it's not fair (or wise) to throw up a stock white or red photo and put the onus on the shopper to go BACK to the oem website to see what chesterfield obsidian opaque metallic looks like. AND if it's in the description, just what are 18" sport star twist wheels, anyway? which brings me to ANOTHER POINT...

WHEN WILL MANUFACTURERS START MAKING VIN BREAKOUT DATA available online?  it can only enhance the resale value of a car...I still see dealer websites without an option list on new cars. THEY are the ones stuck in the 20th century. . .

I started taking photos of our new inventory last month and it's already a proven fact for me that it Werks...Very well...I should have done this a while ago but was talked out of it last year because of the extra expense. Now I wonder how much we lost by not doing it.

Thanks for letting the secret out of the bag!

CJ, we have always done our photos in-house.  We began doing new car photos months ago and it's a very big job.  But the beginning is the hard part.  Once you get past that, it's not so daunting.

Amen Tom...Thanks !

Very cool thread! How about New Car Videos?

Have a look;

OR this one;

Think these are a tad more entertaining/informative compared to pictures in general??? I think you know the answer. 

However if I had a choice I would prefer to see actual pics compared to stock images. 

Like I said, this is a great thread!


If dealers were told they could have 25 pictures of each New and Used vehicle online for free and that a professional vendor would guarantee their quality and quantity, every dealer would say "Yes!" to New cars being photographed.  Therefore, we have to assume that the reason they are not is due to budget or laziness.  It's a fact.  Customers want to see it all.  It's also a fact that dealers are lazy in some areas or they just don't want to fit it in their budget.  All I can say is...get with the Customer Program and off your personal agenda's and ideas.  There is an excuse for everything.

Not true! I have offered a free high quality digital image rework of any car image they have and have not had one "YES" response from 400 mailers. Go to and try it out. See a sample below of before and after:


Well I guess to each his/her own right? I gotta be straight up front Dave, I actually like the unaltered/original image in your example. Personally if I`m the customer I would much rather see a vehicle in it`s true-color natural state. Like I said though, to each his own.


Maybe that they could be number 1? Or, maybe they have very good floor people!


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