January 24, 2011 Leave a comment
I’m in the market for a new car. And all of you who have done it before are familiar with the process – researching, test driving, haggling with salesmen eager to part you from as much of your money as possible and tons of paperwork. Unless you are really interested in cars or enjoy bargaining, it can be a very stressful and unpleasant process.
Over the last decade, however, a new method of car buying has emerged, one that is much more consumer-friendly. Welcome to the world of online car shopping – or, as I prefer to call it, Car Buying 2.0.
As websites like KBB.com (Kelly Blue Book) and Edmunds.com emerged to provide car buyers with more information to get better deals, car dealers found themselves having a harder time getting uninformed customers to overpay for their cars. Rather than fight this trend, however, they adjusted. Many dealers now have Internet Sales Departments, which, unlike traditional salesmen, tend to emphasize selling more cars rather than maximizing profit on individual cars. Consequently, you are more likely to get a better deal, and get it in a far more pleasant manner.
Basically, here is how it works: you go onto a dealer’s website, search their inventory for the car you want with the specifications you want and fill out an online form to request a quote on that car. You’ll usually get a response within 24 hours, if not sooner. Do this for several dealerships, take the offer you like best and go to that dealership to see the car. If you like it, sign the papers, pay the money and away you go.
The key to making this work is that you need to know EXACTLY what car you want. You’ll need to visit some dealerships beforehand to test drive cars to make this decision. Once you make this decision, research the car thoroughly so you know what rebates are being offered, how to identify the color and equipment options you want and what is a fair price. Once you do this, then you can start requesting quotes.
Car Buying 2.0 requires customers to do a little more homework, but all of the online resources out there make this relatively easy anyway. And you’re likely to get your car for less money and with less agitation.