20 June 2012
Using Online Car Buying Services: Know the Cost Before You Visit the Dealership

Buying a new car is often stressful. Are you getting a good deal? The best deal you can? Are you getting the features you need while skipping those extra features you’ll never use? Can you get better terms from a dealership 50 miles away?

You might be able to, if you use online car buying services like CarMax®, Vehix®, CarsDirect® and other services to compare prices, accessories, incentives, financing and all of the other factors that guarantee you get the right automobile at the best price.

According to Wards Auto®, 90% of all car buyers visit a dealership web site before they actually visit the dealership itself. Why?

  • Price comparisons, especially on used cars;
  • Information on specials – low or no interest, free oil changes for the life of the car, free floor mats – it’s all there online;
  • Search by preference – search for your next car by make and model, price, availability, service offerings, financing and insurance, dealership location – you shop the way you want to shop using online car services.

And in the process, when you finally do walk onto the car lot, you should have the bargaining know-how of an empowered consumer. You know there are other models you like. You know there’s another dealership 50 miles south. You know you can walk out of the showroom at any time and STILL find the exact car you want – all thanks to Internet car shopping sites.

Buy the Best Deal

Whether you’re leasing or buying a car – new or used – you have options. Options you may not have even know about before. Just a few years ago, car dealers would place a full-page ad in the local automobile supplement that came with the weekend paper. You looked it over, saw the car you wanted, went to the dealership and hoped you got what you wanted.

Of course, there was the test drive, the haggling, the extra fees, the salespeople who worked with one buyer, then the next. In fact, in the auto sales industry, you were simply a transaction.  As soon as you drove off the lot, the sales staff moved on to the next transaction and let the service department handle customer care.

Today, thanks to the World Wide Web, you can shop online for the best deal and collect all the information you need to become an empowered consumer – an empowered car buyer. And owners of car dealerships know it. Things have changed for the better for car buyers, thanks to web-based car shopping.

Would you drive an hour to save $1,000? Most of us would. And that’s just what web-based car finder sites may let you do. If you want a blue, 4-door SUV, you may not find what you want at the local dealer and if you do, it may cost more than you have to spend.  But, 50 miles down the road, another dealership, selling the same makes and models, is having a special this week that’ll save you $1,000 in closing costs. So, would you drive that 50 miles to save $1,000? Who wouldn’t?

You can get the same car – the one you want – and you can still have your shiny, new SUV serviced locally. You don’t have to drive that same 50 miles every time you need to change the oil. Get it done at the dealership across town and save time. You already saved $1,000 on the purchase price. Servicing can be done by any dealership selling the same make of car.

You Have the Power

Because you can conduct car-buying research online, you have power. You can find out what the dealer paid for the vehicle right from the factory. You know the value of the car you plan to trade in to use as a down payment. You have all the facts and figures to know whether you’re getting a good deal or being “taken for a ride.”

The Internet has empowered car shoppers, making them smarter consumers and saving them millions in car costs each year. So log on, look around and kick the tires – all from the comfort of your own laptop.


Information provided is for informational purposes only.  Please contact a professional before making investment decisions.  Investment products are not insured by the FDIC; are not a deposit or other obligation of, or guaranteed by, the depositing institution; and are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of the principal amount invested.


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