With cars becoming more and more available for purchase online, it can be hard to decide whether you want to purchase your car over the Internet or go the standard route by visiting a dealership.
In today's world, you really can do a large portion of the car-buying process online or over the phone. Finding a car is easy through thousands of local listings, giving you the ability to narrow down your search and identify the exact car of your choosing.
You can search through new, used and certified pre-owned cars; you can sort by make, model, body style, trim level, engine size and even color. This saves a lot of time that used to be spent traveling from dealer to dealer looking for the car you want.
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Several dealerships now have online sales departments. The entire purpose of these teams is to sell cars to their website visitors. Simply ask the dealership for a quote on the car you are interested in buying directly from their website. The dealership will email you back with its offer. Some dealership websites even offer live chats with online salespeople.
2 Different Ways To Approach Online Car Buying
There are two ways to approach online car dealership shopping: Direct online sales or Dealership aggregators.
Most of the big name online car marketplaces are considered dealership aggregators. Dealerships throughout the country use such sites to list their inventory. Through these sites you can search for the car you want and find several results within your vicinity, or even throughout the country. With so many results at your disposal, comparing prices can be exceptionally easy.
Next up, you can call or email the dealer to get in touch. While some dealerships might insist that you come in for further negotiations, most will allow you to negotiate over the phone or via email if you make it clear that you can't or don't want to visit the dealer.
You can also secure financing by providing the dealer with your pertinent information over the phone or by going to your local bank or credit union to get your own financing.
You can also ask for the dealership to list out all the fees so you can get an exact sense of the total cost of the car. Go through this process with multiple dealers and you will be able to see who offers the best price without ever leaving your home.
In this scenario, the only part of the process you'd have to do at the dealership is picking up the car -- and some dealers won't even require that, instead offering to drop off your car at your house and collect a few signatures for the paperwork.
The December 2016/January 2017 issue of Inc. Magazine listed some of the links or sites:
1. No-Haggle Pricing
CarMax Launched 1993
A nationwide chain of physical dealerships that offer no-haggle pricing and money-back guarantees.
2. Web Research
Carfax Launched 1984, went online 1996
Both help buyers research used cars online before visiting a dealer. Today, Edmunds, Consumer Reports, car dealers, and car companies all provide search and comparison tools and information about cars.
3. Messy Marketplace
eBay Motors Launched 1999
First site devoted to getting customers to buy a car, sight unseen, online.
4. Online Dealers
Carvana Launched 2013
Vroom Launched 2013
These online dealerships buy cars from sellers, inspect, market, and sell them online, and deliver them to buyers' homes. Both offer auto financing and post-purchase services.
5. The Uber Influence
Shift Launched 2014
Beepi Launch 2014
These peer-to-peer marketplaces connect buyers and sellers and own little to no inventory. Unlike previous marketplaces, they inspect cars, offer guaranteed minimum prices to sellers, and handle all marketing and transaction details. Shift offers home test drives and, unlike Beepi, takes possession of a seller's car immediately at listing.
What Is Your Preference
Buying online or at a dealership is going to depend on your shopping preference. Each has its pros and cons. Keep in mind that there is nothing stopping you from doing both!
Buying a car is a big deal. Using every resource available to you can help put you behind the wheel of the car you want at the price you want to pay.
It's worth noting that shoppers interested in buying a car can now choose between a few different car-buying services that offer the ability to buy a car without visiting a dealer. These services locate a vehicle for you and can deliver it right to your doorstep, cutting out the need to deal with a dealer.
Of course, their cars will be a little more expensive since they're providing a service -- and in many cases, you still won't have the opportunity to test drive the vehicle before deciding on it. But these services can make the process easier for drivers who really don't want to spend time in a dealership.
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