Competition is the key to getting a great deal on a new car and the way to make this happen is Internet car shopping. Once upon a time car shoppers would have to drive from dealer to dealer to compare dealers, vehicles and prices. You would go to each dealership and then go for a test drive and spend an hour or two with a car salesman. Then you would have to wait while the salesman goes back and forth between you and the manager for a price. After you had enough of that and you are ready to leave the sales manager will come out and give you the best price. Well, that was yesterday and today most of your car shopping can be done in the comfort of you home or office on the Internet.
Obviously you can’t take a test drive without visiting the car dealer, but you can compare any make and model that you are considering plus you can actually build a car online from the available options and colors. Once you decide on the new car you want to buy you can examine current incentives, apply online for financing and get new car price quotes from several dealerships. You can find trade-in values; find out what other buyers paid for their cars. The Internet has changed the auto industry and Internet car shopping can save you time, aggravation and money. Now is the best time in history to buy a new car thanks to the online resources that anyone can use to get a great deal.
The Steps of Internet Car Shopping
At this point I am going to assume you know what car you want or at least the make and model. Now it’s time to work through this list of the Internet car shopping steps to gather all the information you need to make the car buying process a smooth experience.
Availability: A visit to the automakers website is the first place you will want to visit in this step of Internet car shopping to be certain that the car you want to buy is available. If you plug in your zip code and build your vehicle of choice in the color you prefer you will know it the vehicle is produced in your desired configuration. Make a note of the MSRP (we will need this later) of the vehicle and make sure that the destination fee is included, if not add the destination amount to the MSRP. So if the vehicle is being built in your area you can go to several of the car dealers’ websites in your general area and check new car inventory. As long as the dealer you select shows their actual new car inventory you know if they have your desired vehicle in stock, if they don’t you may need to call the car dealership.
Incentives: Current incentives could be a deciding factor for some people buying a new car so can you visit the car dealer’s site that lists the factory incentives, but the automakers websites are usually more dependable. On the factory website you will also find all of the disclaimers that pertain to any available incentives. Make sure to take note of the incentives you may want to take advantage of and make sure you understand all of the stipulations. This is one of he best features of online car shopping.
Price Quotes: Here is where the fun starts when it comes to Internet car shopping. The ideal technique for getting the best price on a new car is to get dealers to compete with each other. The easiest way to accomplish is to visit several of my favorite websites for getting new car price quotes. I have personally used to these sites to keep track of specific dealers and I recommend these to friends and relatives that want to get a great price. These sites are well managed and will not work with dealers that do not honor their pricing or practice deceitful car sales methods. If you want competitive new car price quotes click on these links, add your vehicle of choice and you will receive several very competitive price quotes. (We will be using these quotes later in the buying guide.)
Financing: If you are going to finance your new car you will definitely want to make sure you will be getting the best interest rate. One of the Internet car shopping steps is to do a little research when it comes to auto loans. You easily determine the interest rate of several lenders and the rate of automakers financing division with a few clicks just by visiting their websites. Check your local bank or credit union and the automaker. If you have credit issues or uncertain of your credit score you should know your situation before you visit the dealership. Auto loan rates and terms will be determined by your credit score, which you can check by clicking here. (See more on credit score and auto loans.)
Now that you have completed the basic Internet car shopping steps we can start prepping for the visit to the car dealership. We will cover the items and additional information you will need in later chapters including how to prepare for the buying trip.
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