Finding the right vehicle online
Through the Web, you can also do comparative shopping. You can see the differences
among car brands and models, based on price, year of introduction, miles per gallon,
body type, curb weight, power train layout, transmission, configuration, displacement
and other features -- a service you won't get at the dealership. In fact, about
54 percent of new-vehicle buyers said the Internet had great or some impact on
their make and model selection, according to the 2006 New Autoshopper.com,
If you're wary about trusting Internet
content, you should be. But there's enough good, objective information out there
to make your auto search online worthwhile. "At the very least, the Internet
is an educational tool that builds peoples' confidence and makes them feel empowered,"
an educated consumer
You can then take this confidence with you to
the dealership. Instead of worrying about being duped into a "lemon"
or pressured into making a hasty purchase, you can rest assured that you're going
in as an educated consumer. "For people who are intimidated by dealers, being
able to find a car online that's right for them is a blessing,'' Galbraith says.
"It makes the dealer interaction more relaxing for everyone."
Some people are avoiding the dealership altogether
by making transactions online. In some cases, they never see the car until they
own it. Some sites will forward your request for a free quote to a dealership's
Internet sales department and then the sale is negotiated online or through e-mail.
While most industry experts don't recommend this for novice buyers, this does
demonstrate a real shift in the many ways you can take advantage of the automotive
Even more innovations are beginning to take place online.
You can expect to see more sites that offer vehicle selector tools, which allow
you to match your wants with your budget needs to find the vehicle that is right
for you. Yahoo has a new tool it's testing called Yahoo Autos Car Finder, which
allows you to find a vehicle based on criteria you select, such as make, price,
body style, etc. "This tool is great for people who don't know much about
cars or are not particularly interested in them, but who know they want a good
deal," says Walker. "I see this concept really taking off."
by mobile connection
Another novel idea is Cars.com's Cars.com Mobile,
which allows you to shop for and research cars while using a mobile device, such
as a cell phone or a PDA. "If you're in a showroom and can't find the information
that you're looking for, you can access the site right from the store," Galbraith
says. "That's convenience for you."