Customers in the market for a new car but not sure what to choose have the chance to give them a test drive -- on a racetrack.
The first ever ARC Test Drive event will be held at Riverhead Raceway; the free two-day event will be held on October 20 and 21 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with over 100 cars to test drive.
According to Port Jefferson native Michael Lucki, who is organizing the event, the test drive event aims to make the car-shopping process easier.
Lucki, who is currently working on an MBA in Madrid, previously worked at Riverhead Toyota as a sales consultant; his father, Ted Lucki, is a dealer there.
"While working there, I dealt with many customers that did not feel comfortable going through the sales process," Lucki said.
To make the car-buying process more user friendly, Lucki said he utilized skills he'd learned in a past job as consultant at Time Warner in New York to consider the customer experience when buying a new car. Lucki said he "re-engineered the process so customers would have a better, less stressful, more efficient time."
After doing some analysis and research, Lucki said he realized that for new cars, 95 percent of of customers are doing research online first; they start by comparing on average of six brands online and then, over the course of on average 14.7 weeks, they narrow down their decision to one or two brands.
Customers, Lucki said, will only visit the car dealership and test-drive the vehicles approximately two weeks before they decide to purchase.
"When they arrive at a car dealership, 69 percent of customers would prefer to do a test-drive without a salesperson in the car and 59 percent of customers hate the process of negotiating," Lucki said.
To that end, Lucki designed a business model that he said helps customers kick start their research and put it into high gear with a test drive -- and a convenient way for them to compare, contrast and test the six brands they were originally researching. Consumers can test drive the cars on their own and communicate with a salesperson anonymously.
The event is his company's first, Lucki said -- a test to see if the concept will work in Riverhead and in other areas around the United States.
"My main goal is to provide customers a pressure-free, independent, objective location to test drive the cars they are interested in purchasing. This will improve the customer service that car dealerships can provide as well as make the entire car buying process, easy, fast, and fun," Lucki said.