Almost two thirds of car dealerships fail to provide customers with a car to test drive, according to an investigation.
What Cat? said that 63% of 48 dealers were unable to provide a specific car to test drive when asked.
The 48 dealers covered six major manufacturers, with Ford the best performing. Ford dealerships were able to provide the appropriate car 75% of the time.
Meanwhile the worst performing brand was BMW, which was unable to fulfil the request on any of the occasions the dealers were visited.
Volkswagen was second in the list, with a score of 50%.
What Car? consumer editor Emma Butcher said that a test drive is an essential part of making a car purchase, with many buyers choosing to research makes and models online before visiting a dealership to test drive and potentially buy the car they want.
She said: "Most car purchase transactions are still made in the car dealership. The test drive is such a crucial element in the buying process and we were quite surprised and disappointed at the lack of model availability.
"With almost 4000 model derivatives to choose from, the industry is making life difficult for themselves and the consumer. We would like to see more standard-specification demonstration cars available for test drive and that the options fitted are kept to a minimum."
Copyright Press Association 2013