by Joy Sherman, MsMotorcars.com
Who knew the internet would play such a crucial role in the car buying process. I can remember when car dealers dragged their feet and groaned loudly whenever someone mentioned a computer! While there are still some auto dealers both new and used who have yet to become fully automated, most of them have their inventory available via their websites.
There are popular automotive search engines out there and new ones popping up every day. Some popular ones are:
AutoTrader, Autobytel, Yahoo Autos, Cars, and a great New England favorite, Bargainnews.com. But even before you look there, check out Ask Patty's Find Your Dream Car page, where you can research all makes and models and see all the features available!
You can search from the comfort of your home for the exact year, make and model vehicle, even the color and mileage are available search options. This cuts out a lot of legwork and time consuming banter with salespeople. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for supporting the car dealer, after all, I grew up in the business. I just think most dealers still have a lot to learn when communitcating with the potential customer, especially women.
When you’ve selected a few vehicles, send emails to the Internet Managers on the specific vehicles you’ve chosen. Ask for vehicle histories, accidents, Carfax availability. You can then choose to contact them via phone if you want to pursue even more information on a specific vehicle and special pricing or programs from the dealer.
I don’t recommend asking for their best price via email. While some might give you a figure, it doesn’t mean much. Remember your best negotiating tool is proving you’re seriously in the market, by showing up and viewing the car up close and personal. If you’re not close by, at least give the internet manager a call when you want pricing.
Some exotic and hard to find vehicles are available thousands of miles away from you. Don’t let that stop you from purchasing the car of your dreams. Most reputable dealers will certify their cars or include an extended warranty. If not, negotiate this into the deal. Tell them you want bumper to bumper coverage. This may raise the price significantly, as some of these policies are pricey…your choice.
If the photos aren’t clear or you want to see more photos of condition of leather/cloth or extra options, it’s not unreasonable to ask for extra photos emailed to you. Now I’ve just scratched the surface when purchasing a car. There are many other factors to the process of buying a car, but be sure you use the internet and Ask Patty to help you.
Lastly, your car purchase should be fun, not stressful. If you get a bad or uncomfortable feeling about a dealership or salesperson, trust your gut and move on. If you have further questions regarding your automotive search, feel free to send Ask Patty some questions or head to msmotorcars.com