Internet Car Shopping Pointers
Internet Car Shopping Pointers
Don’t be too smug because you think you know what the dealer himself paid for a car through internet sites. In reality knowing the published price has little real meaning other than being a helpful start. This figure is inflated to make the naive buyer think the dealer is paying a higher percentage of the total consumer price than they really are. Take a reality check and consider these internet car shopping pointers before you go any further in your quest for that perfect deal.
Because of the equalizing effect of the internet everyone can see what everyone else sees. Surveys show that 90% of internet car shoppers visit at least 6 websites. Some visit as many as 20 sites. This may seem to equalize prices. It makes the consumer feel like the dealer is making just enough on the sale to barely get by. The truth is that these prices are inflated in such a way as to make it impossible for the uninitiated to figure out what is really going on. There is a complicated, purposely misleading system of bonuses that are given back to dealers. This system makes the real price to the dealer difficult to understand.
System is Smoke and Mirrors
“Holdbacks” have always been a part of the system. A holdback is a periodic refund made to dealers by most (but not all) manufacturers. These may be in varying amounts depending on whether or not a dealer meets his quota or scores high on customer satisfaction surveys. There may also be unadvertised factory to dealer incentives which may or may not be passed on to consumers.
Did you really think they would let you know their true cost? The true cost is cleverly camoflaged. Are you shocked? The time for buying a car is not the time to leave behind everything you have learned in this life.
A Surprising Fact About Price
Surprisingly, at least to me, surveys prove that those who paid the lowest price for a new car are not necessarily the most satisfied. Americans hate to haggle. Excessive haggling may produce a lower price but it leaves a bad taste. The buyer’s perception of the dealer’s commitment to service after the purchase is of key importance. Surveys have proved time and again that most people really just want a price that is fair enough that they don’t feel they have left a lot of money on the table
Here are the major web sites of interest to those interested in internet car shopping pointers:
- Edmunds.com…Free to use. Offers “market” prices and good background information.
- Kelley Blue Book (KBB.com)… Free to use. An excellent research resource.
- Cars.com…Another good free resource to begin your shopping. Gives you similar vehicles in stock within a given radius.
- True Car.com…Also worth a look.
- Consumer Reports…Highly trusted. $ 14.00 pricing report.
One thing that will never change is that a smart shopper is better off to sell his old car if he can get a fair price and to arrange his own financing independent of the dealer. Repair your credit first! If you don’t have an installment loan in your credit profile you should be aware that your “auto credit score” will suffer. Wise consumers will ask their bank or credit union about a “credit builder loan.” These are small personal installment loans designed to build a track record of compliance with installment loans.
These things simplify the process enormously and take away key advantages built in to the dealer in these areas. Don’t be in a hurry. Sleeping on important matters is not just an old wives tale. The brain does much of it’s processing while sleeping and emotional decisions are tempered by reality. Don’t forget to enjoy your test drives because enjoyment of your new car is something you owe yourself. That comes after you have properly tended to the business aspects of this important decision.
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