Internet Car Buying Sites LINK
Online car buying sites utilize intelligent search engines to help you compare multiple cars or trucks in your price range. Read our guide to research and discover the best car buying site for you. Plus, learn about what questions to ask before you purchase a car online.
internet car buying sites
When buying a used car, always ask the buyer questions about the service history, previous owners and past repairs. Having this information upfront lets you get a better idea of how the car has been maintained and the likelihood of future problems.
Autotrader has millions of vehicles to choose from. The Car Research and Review section of the site helps car buyers calculate how much they can afford to spend on a car. The site is also full of helpful educational resources to inform users on every aspect of buying and selling a car, including finding the right insurance, tips for getting a car sold and comparison photos. In addition to buying vehicles, you can also sell or trade in your car on the site.
Autotempest is a third-part online aggregator that also provides tools to compare quotes and calculators to estimate trade-in values. It does not facilitate transactions but directs buyers to sites such as Carvana, TrueCar, Detroit Trading, eBay and craigslist.
Collects listings for new and used cars from major car buying websites. Provides cost comparisons, price alerts and CARFAX reports. Use its app to contact dealers and private sellers for quotes and test drives.
Free service that aggregates used and classic car listings from major used car sites. Sell your car with its partner company, Carvana. Online resources to help you make informed decisions. Available nationwide.
Carvana is a car-buying site that lets you pick the car you want from its selection of used vehicles. You can also apply for prequalification for a car loan through the site and have the vehicle delivered, depending on where you live. In certain markets, you can pick up your purchase from a futuristic-looking car vending machine.
Looking for independent reviews of new and used cars? Consumer Reports is a nonprofit organization that reviews products across many categories, including autos. The site provides tips and tools to help you with every step in the car-selling and buying process.
Used car sites typically charge sellers who want to post an ad for their car. Our research shows that pricing can be as low as $25 for a basic ad that will run for a month with the cost increasing for additional photos, words, and other advertising boosts.
Due to the nature of the vehicles they sell, car sites that sell classic cars or cars from certain eras charge more, typically around $89 and higher. Auction sites will also take a commission fee which can start at 4.5% of the sales price.
Used car sites that connect shoppers with private sellers can do little to offer a safe shopping experience. What they can do, however, is provide as much information as possible to help buyers make the most informed decision.
The other entrance is a virtual one and leads to the dealership's internet department. In this version, you call, email or text the dealership internet sales manager to verify that the car is in stock, schedule a test drive and get a general idea on price. Once you have test-driven and chosen a car, you can do the rest of the deal (including financing and negotiating) online or over the phone, still working with the internet team. In some cases, a dealer will even deliver the car to your home or office. This helps you avoid delays and sales pitches in the dealership finance and insurance office.
Which of these two paths to new-car ownership results in a lower price? And which will be the more pleasant buying experience? More importantly, which one will take the least amount of time? It's the internet path. Hands down. Here's an example to illustrate this point.
When you walk onto any dealership lot, you'll find that the new cars have a window sticker with the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP). If you haven't previously contacted anyone, the negotiation would most likely start from there. But if you went to that same dealership's website and clicked on the "e-price" link (and then entered your contact information) or called the internet manager, you'd get a discounted price with little effort.
Salespeople in internet departments typically have different sales incentives and so behave differently from traditional car salespeople. Car dealership internet departments focus on selling a higher volume of cars rather than zeroing in on getting on maximum profit on each individual deal. Therefore, the initial price quote from an internet sales manager is often very close to the absolute lowest selling price for a given vehicle.
Internet department salespeople also assume car buyers are informed, have shopped around and won't necessarily "buy today." More importantly, the internet team is willing to give specific prices on actual cars in an email or over the telephone. Edmunds has also taken this approach with its Special Offers, which present guaranteed, up-front prices for specific cars online.
On a number of occasions we have tested the internet versus traditional method of getting a price on a car. The results were always the same. The "on the ground" method takes at least an hour of your day (more if you factor in travel to and from the dealership), involves speaking to salespeople who try to "see what they can do," and ends up with something that is not the best price.
A side note about the frequency of salesperson calls and emails you may receive if you shop via the internet: We know the calls and emails can get excessive at times. The salespeople are eager to make a sale and they want to follow up to gauge your interest. We don't recommend giving them fake contact information, however. They may need to get a hold of you for valid reasons. Instead, consider creating a dedicated email address and a temporary phone number (something like Google Voice) for the duration of your car shopping. A temporary number can be easier to monitor and turn off once you're done with the sale. Once you've bought the car and decide to get rid of the temporary number, make sure you give the dealer your actual contact information, in case it needs to reach you for things such as recall information or if there's a problem with the paperwork.
The next morning, we phoned the internet manager at the same dealership and asked for a price on the car that we had test-driven the day before. "Let me look that up for you," he said. A minute later, he was back. "Our price is $19,310."
While the internet approach clearly offers advantages to many consumers, some buyers are still more comfortable buying the traditional way: physically going to the car lot. Maybe you want the salesperson's recommendations on selection of the right model and features, a face-to-face sales pitch and some hand-holding during the buying process. If the salesperson truly is an expert in the car's features, this approach can be helpful. You just need to have done your homework to ensure the deal is a fair one. Just know that the route to a fair price might be a longer one.
It's difficult to accurately quantify the savings you can get by using a car dealership's internet department. But it's safe to say the price will nearly always be lower than the price you'll be quoted if you walk onto the car lot — assuming you can even get a definite price.
There's no question that using the internet department saves time and stress. When you shop in person at a dealership, you run the risk of making costly, spur-of-the-moment decisions on financing or additional products. Working via the internet department minimizes that. It also is good if you don't have an appetite for negotiating.
By using the internet as the front door to a car purchase, you make more informed decisions. There is time to consider all the possibilities in a relaxed atmosphere, away from the distracting lure of new-car smell.
An analysis by Santander Consumer USA identified nearly 100 online research and shopping resources available to the nearly 40 million consumers that shop for used cars in a typical year. The best used car sites were named by 28 sources that listed choices for those most helpful to car shoppers.
Few shoppers look at even a half-dozen of the best used car websites, based on a recent survey, which showed that online shoppers visit an average of about four websites before buying their used vehicle, and that third-party websites typically were the first and last online shopping destinations.
Cars.com*Cars.com provides shoppers data, resources and digital tools to make informed buying decisions about new, used and certified preowned vehicles and to connect them with dealers. Search by make, model, body style, color, features, price, deal rating (great, good, fair price) and more. The site offers one of the simplest car affordability calculators we encountered, and an outstanding tool enabling detailed comparisons between several vehicles. New car reviews and videos also are provided. (+)
CarMax*Shoppers can find CarMax-certified used vehicles online that are available through 225 stores nationwide. Shop by vehicle price, category, brand, model year, popularity and lifestyle (commuter, eco-friendly, family and outdoor), for example. Although the website could be easier to navigate, shoppers should be able to find car-buying tips and an easy-to-use car payment calculator. (+)
Our lists of the 16 best used car websites based on a survey of online sources and 13 that get proven search results based on our own research should make it a little easier to identify those third-party websites which may be the best used car sites in your search for another vehicle.
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