Do you remember the time when you were shopping with your parents or grandparents for a new or used car? Dealerships felt like playgrounds — as we climbed in and out of vehicles playing with buttons and pretending to be the driver in the front seat. The dealership visit would usually end with a test drive of a vehicle or two. It was also a time when people heavily relied on local dealerships to provide answers about a brand or features – far different from what we experience today. The car shopper today makes fewer dealership visits and depends on word of mouth, social media, digital, mobile, and video resources as their guide.
Car buying; Is the car right for me?
Once you have shopped around – there is a moment when you ask yourself – is this car right for me? Depending on your circumstances and stage in life there are many things to consider. If you are a family, for instance, you might ask yourself if there are enough seats and room to transport your kids, friends & gear? SUV, Crossover, or Minivan? all are practical considerations. According to Google Trends, there has been an interest for luxury options on the rise with search interest up for features like panoramic sunroof and backup camera by 31% and 23% respectively, year-over-year. Also, during this phase car shoppers may look to YouTube for a virtual test drive prior to a visit to the dealership.
Manufacturer and Dealership Websites
Automotive manufacturer websites are also a good resource once you have decided on a vehicle. They generally feature packages, equipment options, and help you customize your vehicle with different configurations especially if you are looking for a new car. They can also help you find a nearby dealership and search their inventory. Click here for a list of the Top Best Car Manufacturer websites according to JD Power 2015.
Where should I buy it to get the best deal?
Next it is time to decide on whether you want to purchase a new, used, or certified used vehicle and start negotiating. Check the True Market Value (TMV) price of the car. Use the TMV price as a benchmark. For more on negotiating a used car, see the 10 Steps to Buying a Used Car to help give you tips and advice before going to the lot!
At the car dealership you will finish the sale in the Finance office. You will need to make sure you have insurance for the car before you driving it off the lot. The Finance department will try to sell you a number of additional items such as an additional warranty, anti-theft devices, prepaid service plans or fabric protection. Some people want peace of mind that comes with extended warranties, so this is something you might want to consider (unless your used car is Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) or still under the manufacturer’s warranty). Make sure that you review the dealership sales contract thoroughly. In most states the contract entails the cost of the vehicle, documentation fee, smog certificate, sales tax, and license fees.
In conclusion, after doing your homework, you can feel confident that you purchased a bargain instead of a lemon! Enjoy your ride.