Buying a car? Use your computer first

This is a story which was reminded by the recent Steve’s post.

Yes, few years ago we were at the point deciding about our new car. One which my wife will like, off course. And I want to give her a credit – idea was totally hers.
So this is how it went back then and I will do this again a next time.

  1. try different cars to figure out a set you like
  2. then see what is said about them in reviews
  3. Check online resources for prices advertised in your desired area [ADDED]
  4. then… instead of going to the dealer… send THEM an email
  5. it works between dealers in 100 miles radius – many big enough dealers have an on-line department – guys who are not on the floor, but rather seating behind a computers and answering emails…
  6. so in the week time you will get a dozen on emails asking what you want exactly and proposing a price…
  7. and here a nice thing – you can compare and you do not worry about your zip code (we will come back to this later…)

now… would you like to pay 100s of nice dollars less for an hour drive? this This what happened to us… after week of communication and week of waiting we got a car we like for the price we like most.

So you avoid trips of this nice salesman between you and his “boss” which is just a coffee machine around the corner.

What is the catch? My guess that on-line department allows dealer not to have inventory and avoid associated expenses…

Now… lets come back to the end of story I kind of enjoy – we go to the local dealer and sit with the man there… old story… trips between you and the coffee machine… you need to see that. We know how much we would pay already and this nice man showing us “secret” list of the prices dealership paying for the car and telling that he cannot go below…oh wait… he can go with the little loss and sell us a car out of his good heart… no?… oh, why are we going to buy somewhere else or driving so “long” distance… or risk that car would not be served on this dealership (oh, man)… or out of our heart to support local business…

Therefore, before you go to the local dealer see what the best is for you and not for him….

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2 thoughts on “Buying a car? Use your computer first”

  1. Craig Stuntz says:

    You missed some of the most important steps though:

    1: Select the dealer you like the best, based on services, friendliness, honesty, etc.
    2: use the process above (or autobytel.com, a Delphi powered site), to get the best price.
    3: now quote the price from step two to the dealer in step one, and ask them to match it. They nearly always will, and this way you get the best price from the best dealer.

  2. Mmm, true. Few buts though.

    * Dealer cannot refuse a service to you regardless where you bought a car. And the service business is as important to him as selling you a car. So for just being honest you wouldn’t want to pay him an extra few hundreds dollars.
    * yes, certanly use web-site like those above to get your base price (this price dealer usually will match because price there is provided by the dealer or his friend. So one might want to go extra mile 😉 In our case we got a price below all web advertised…

    so, as I said for scenario above, it will work by definition since it is based on the data from your area, inventory and current offers 😉

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