Car shoppers are watching more online videos about the vehicles they’re interested in.

“We’ve seen a 40% increase in the last year,” says James Reutershan, Google’s insights and strategy lead-luxury automotive.

A survey indicates the most popular videos car shoppers focus on are test drives, walk-arounds and consumer reviews.

“They want information from OEMs and opinions from other Internet users,” Reutershan says at J. D. Power’s 10th annual Automotive Marketing Roundtable. He speaks at a session entitled “Online Video: The Test Drive Before the Test Drive.”

Also of interest to those watchers are videos showing vehicle features and their benefits, he says. “What do I get for that extra $1,500?”

According to the survey, the most popular places to watch videos of that type are YouTube (42%), automaker websites (31%) and dealer sites (30%)

Reutershan reiterates data commonly cited to show the auto-retailing importance of the Internet: 75% of car shoppers’ research is done online, resulting in the number of dealerships actually visited decreasing from an average of five 10 years ago to 1.6 today.

By the time those consumers log off and head to the dealership “85% of them have made up their minds to purchase a vehicle,” he says.

sfinlay@wardsauto.com