Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

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Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby Dodger » Thu May 24, 2012 12:00 am

I recently purchased a Hyundai Elantra from a dealership in Georgia. I did all negotiations online. Once I agreed on the price with a dealer via e-mail, all I had to do was go to the dealership, sign the paperwork, write a check, and take the keys. The purchase contract was already drawn up and there were no surprises. I wanted to share some lessons learned. Obviously there’s a lot to buying a new car. This is not meant to be all encompassing (separate trade in from purchase price, discuss price before trade in, etc). Please note many of these lessons may be specific to Hyundai or the location.

- Start requesting quotes about two weeks before you want to make the purchase. Any earlier and the dealers will either not be able to give you an accurate quote or will not be able to predict their inventory. Any later and the dealer doesn’t have time to make trades with another dealer to get your specific request, if necessary.

- Be clear and concise in your initial e-mail. Give an extremely precise description of what specs you want. If you aren’t specific enough, dealers will try to counter with vehicles/features that you aren’t interested in and you’ve wasted time for the both of you. You need to know exactly what you want if you are going to negotiate online. You should have already done a test drive and made your decision as to which vehicle you desire. Once you get initial quotes, you can ask how much certain features would add. This allows you to start off with a baseline so you can easily compare apples to apples across dealers.

- Ask for the out the door price in your quote. Most will send you a breakdown of each line item, but some will just give you the final price after all fees. The line item breakdown really doesn’t matter, but it’s interesting to see that the name of the fees and the way the dealers distribute them varies greatly. Ensure that you provide the dealer the county you plan to register in so he/she can calculate the correct sales tax.

- Don’t get bogged down in the accessories (floor mats, etc). Don’t mention them when requesting the quote. They are best used as “add-ins” once you get close to a final deal. You can usually find some of them on Ebay cheaper.

- Be cognizant of when the new year’s models will arrive. I ran into some confusion because the 2013 models started arriving on the lot and I was still negotiating 2012 models. This forced me to get another round of quotes and clarify the years offered. This could work in your favor if you’re looking for an end of year model discount, but that didn’t really apply to the Elantra because it’s so popular. There was no discount for the 2012, but the 2013 was about $300-500 more on average.

- Stay in touch with all the dealers, even if their initial quotes are not competitive. Some dealers will give you a competitive price out the gate, while others will give you a high ball quote. You can politely reply to them that their offer was not competitive, but that you would like to stay in contact. This worked for me as the dealer I purchased from had one of the highest initial quotes, but ended up dropping about $700 over three days once he realized that I had a firm grasp on the market. Every morning for three days, as the dealer looked at the vehicle still on the lot, he sent me another quote with a lower price until he finally reached my target price. This included one offer after the “final” offer. The only caveat to this is stop negotiating with anyone who you think is BSing you. For example, one dealer boasted of offering me a great discount on the “Paint and Fabric Protection,” which none of the other 10+ dealers I was talking to had ever even mentioned.

- Stay organized. I created a separate e-mail account. You will start getting a lot of e-mails and it was easier for me to organize the information in a separate account. I also made a spreadsheet to track all the different quotes. Once I had ten different quotes, I had a great feeling for the market.

The bottom line is to be patient and you will guarantee yourself a good deal. You’ll have some transparency in a very convoluted market. Get the dealers e-mail addresses directly from the dealer websites and don’t be afraid to contact dealers outside of your desired driving range. It’s good to know as many prices as you can and then use the information to better negotiate with local dealers. You can’t always go with the lowest quote. Some dealers will give you a quote, but will also let you know that they don’t have the specific vehicle on the lot. If you are dead set on a certain color, you may have to pay a little more to the dealer who actually has the car on the lot or see if the dealers will trade. Obviously, flexibility will save you money.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby riskreward » Thu May 24, 2012 7:34 am

Thank you. Very helpful.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby soccerdad12 » Thu May 24, 2012 8:29 am

I have purchased several cars in just this manner. One other important note.... upfront I always let each dealer know that I am talking with several others, that I am paying in cash (or have my financing already lined up) and that my only consideration is price. Those 3 things let the dealer know that you are a serious buyer, you are qualified to pay for the car and that they need to come in low on pricing.

The last new car I purchased this way was an Acura MDX and I had to go to a dealer about 30 minutes away to pick it up, but I saved about a thousands dollars off the lowest price my local dealer could do.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby Furynation » Thu May 24, 2012 8:52 am

I also recently (2 weeks ago) purchased a new truck online. I used Edmunds to get the Invoice/True Market value and then fired off requests to dealerships via email. It was by far the most painless and enjoyable car buying experience I've had thus far. I could tell right away which dealers I wasn't going to work with I.E. ones which wanted me to come in before they'd give me their best price. I will never set foot in a dealership again to negotiate prices.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby fandango » Thu May 24, 2012 9:08 am

How did you determine where to send your e-mail within the dealership?

The Internet Manager sounds like the best choice, but not all dealers identify them on their websites.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby Furynation » Thu May 24, 2012 9:20 am

fandango wrote:How did you determine where to send your e-mail within the dealership?

The Internet Manager sounds like the best choice, but not all dealers identify them on their websites.


Most dealerships have a "Contact Us" link on their web page which gets you to the internet manager. I also used a feature on the Edmunds website which sent my inquiry to a bunch of dealerships. All of which I assume paid to be on that "list".
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby JupiterJones » Thu May 24, 2012 10:27 am

Good stuff!

It would make a great addition to the wiki, IMHO.

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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby scouter » Thu May 24, 2012 10:38 am

I've used this same technique for years, (by mail and phone before the internet) and your summary is excellent. I agree with all of your suggestions!
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby moneywise3 » Thu May 24, 2012 11:27 am

Did you use any particular websites to get quotes?
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby Khanmots » Thu May 24, 2012 11:37 am

Took a slightly different path when I bought mine. I determined a price that I thought would give a dealer a slight profit then at the end of the month for 3 consecutive months called dealers in the area and said something along the lines of "Your inventory shows you have car with VIN ### on your lot (with the color/features I wanted); I'll give you $X + TLL. First two months I was politely turned down, no counters were even made. 3rd month I had a dealer counter within $200 of my asking price and didn't feel like waiting any longer (hand-me-down from the parental folks was without AC or power steering at this point...) so I didn't bother to quibble any more.

But the key to take away from this is to do all your test driving and figure out what you want before you ever seriously think about buying. And then do all your negotiations from afar. Far easier to keep the emotions out of it and helps keeps the salesmen from pulling the high-pressure scummy tactics.

Edmunds is great for getting an idea of what incentives the dealer is getting from the manufacturer for moving a car. Most if not all of those can go into your pocket instead of the dealers :) Their forums are also useful for getting an idea of what kinds of deals other people are getting which can serve as a semi-useful barometer of what dealers are willing to accept on new models and when they're willing to start talking on price.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby dm200 » Thu May 24, 2012 11:44 am

If you live in the Washington DC or Baltimore MD aream I suggest checking out "United Buyers Service" www.ubs4cars.com

Most big employers and credit unions offer employees/members access to UBS' services. There is no charge. When you know that you want a For, or Chevrolet, etc. you contact UBS for a voucher and they direct you to a specific person at specific dealership. The price/markup is fixed. No "processing fee"

Most of the sponsor employers/credit unions have the detailed books so you can check out all the detail on options/prices at your leisure (without a sales person bugging you).

Even if you don;t use them, ask a dealer (in person or by email) if they will give you the UBS price and deal (like no processing fee).
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby E-M-H » Fri May 25, 2012 12:23 pm

Good writeup. It's a bit strange that dealers still feel the need to have separate internet sales channels. But there is some benefit to informed consumers because it is easy to obtain multiple quotes without driving around from dealer to dealer.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby swaption » Fri May 25, 2012 12:55 pm

Furynation wrote:I also recently (2 weeks ago) purchased a new truck online. I used Edmunds to get the Invoice/True Market value and then fired off requests to dealerships via email. It was by far the most painless and enjoyable car buying experience I've had thus far. I could tell right away which dealers I wasn't going to work with I.E. ones which wanted me to come in before they'd give me their best price. I will never set foot in a dealership again to negotiate prices.


+1

Edmunds is awesome. It brings up a list of dealers within a certain radius. All you have to do is check the ones you want to send it to and off it goes. You can add notes to the e-mail. I included the VIN# and some specifics about the car I was looking to trade-in. The dealer I bought from actually gave me an estimate for the trade over the phone. He ultimately knocked $500 off the trade-in because my tires were at a point where they would not pass inspection, but I was completely ok with that as he was already well above what some other dealers had quoted in person.

My understanding is that the internet portion is almost like a dealer within a dealer. The price from someone on one side of the floor can be completely different than the other side, and the non-internet reps can't get there.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby Anon1234 » Fri May 25, 2012 1:06 pm

The next time I buy a car I am going to get the dealer to sign off that the factory maintenance schedule is sufficient.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby deanbrew » Fri May 25, 2012 1:09 pm

Anon1234 wrote:The next time I buy a car I am going to get the dealer to sign off that the factory maintenance schedule is sufficient.


Why would you need to do that? What's listed in the owner's manual is what the manufacturer recommends. Dealers always want to add stuff, but just say no and stick with what's in the manual.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby Anon1234 » Fri May 25, 2012 1:16 pm

deanbrew wrote:
Anon1234 wrote:The next time I buy a car I am going to get the dealer to sign off that the factory maintenance schedule is sufficient.


Why would you need to do that? What's listed in the owner's manual is what the manufacturer recommends. Dealers always want to add stuff, but just say no and stick with what's in the manual.


Both of my cars' owner's manuals say that the factory schedule is a minimum and the dealer will adjust as necessary. I am unhappy with the amount of adjusting they do.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby ryuns » Fri May 25, 2012 1:52 pm

Super helpful list. Will bookmark for future reference. If you're not used to it, playing people against each other seems shady, and I've only just gotten used to it after buying a house, getting a mortgage and getting a refi. There's no shame in telling people that you're getting a better deal elsewhere.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby OAG » Fri May 25, 2012 2:13 pm

I have done this several times in purchasing cars. The last one I decided to use a "buying service" for a car I ordered from the dealer and it was "built for us" in Germany. I used the USAA buying service and was glad I did. FYI PenFed also has a good buying service.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby Sam I Am » Fri May 25, 2012 2:49 pm

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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby bertie wooster » Fri May 25, 2012 3:33 pm

I used USAA's car buying service to get an initial price. I found that many of the dealers they gave me weren't too happy to go with that price (ie. wouldn't respond to emails).

I used the car buying service price as a starting point and then got 2 dealers to bid against each other and finally got $1k lower. We were pleased with the experience.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby cacophony » Fri May 25, 2012 4:01 pm

bertie wooster wrote:I used USAA's car buying service to get an initial price. I found that many of the dealers they gave me weren't too happy to go with that price.

I used the car buying service price as a starting point and then got 2 dealers to bid against each other and finally got $1k lower. We were pleased with the experience.


If you want a low price competitive bidding is definitely the way to go. The car buying services all have pretty similar prices, and in my experience you can usually do at least $1000 better with a few hours of bidding. For my last purchase, the Zagg/CR price was about $18.8k but I was able to negotiate a price of $17.2k using bidding.

Here are two useful videos on the subject:
http://bigthink.com/ideas/41819
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPor5b7JLLE

But there's one crucial point that's missing from both videos: who you should contact. It's very important that you ask for the fleet or internet manager when you call. Trying to get a bid from a salesman over the phone is a complete waste of time (not to mention the fact that they won't go nearly as low). Fleet managers are prepared to give you an out the door price over the phone based on your zip, and the overall transaction will be much more pleasant.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby dad2000 » Fri May 25, 2012 4:30 pm

I bought a new Honda back in 2006. I had come to an agreement with a dealer for a new Ridgeline using a reputable Internet bidding service.

When I got there to sign the paperwork, the "new" truck had 5000+ miles on it. Their explanation was that although they'd been driving it, since nobody had actually bought it, that it was "new". I'd always referred to these slightly used vehicles as "demos".

After spending a few minutes trying to get them to do the right thing, I very loudly started discussing the matter with the sales manager in the showroom. My mind was already made up not to do business with them, but I successfully discouraged other customers from buying there.

From their parking lot, I called another dealer 20 miles away, and got the identical truck new, at the original price I'd wanted. All the paperwork was done in less than an hour (I paid cash).

I'll still use the Internet to do my homework, but quality and integrity of the dealership sometimes need to be gauged in person.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby bru » Fri May 25, 2012 4:50 pm

In March I bought my Elantra in a similar way. One thing to note, the "options" you mention are actually Port Installed (PIO) meaning the dealership gets the car with them already "installed". As opposed to dealer installed options such as pinstripes or protection packages (which I would never go for).

My dealer agreed to a price and I could have gotten any of the seven or eight Elantras he had each with slightly different PIOs. So I took the one that gave me more bang for the buck. And after the fact he threw in another (iPod cable) that I really wanted.

As I mentioned in another thread the price I paid was way lower than Edmunds or TrueCar said I should. So while those sites are good, you have to be careful not to let them totally dictate what you pay. Enjoy your Elantra.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby Easy Rhino » Fri May 25, 2012 7:00 pm

Anon1234 wrote:Both of my cars' owner's manuals say that the factory schedule is a minimum and the dealer will adjust as necessary. I am unhappy with the amount of adjusting they do.

I don't understand, couldn't you just tell the dealer's service dept to cram it, and maintain the car on the schedule you wanted?
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby 1210sda » Fri May 25, 2012 7:20 pm

Good suggestions for new car purchases. Thank You.

In some cases, an individual may have a trade-in. (someone who doesn't want to hassle with a private party sale).
Couple of thoughts. Check out estimates at both Edmunds and Kelly Bluebook. With one caveat....they are a little bit too far apart in their estimates for my comfort level.

Has anyone actually traded in a car after getting pricing estimates from Edmunds or Kelly BB. If so, which was closer to what you received from the dealer ??

Another consideration is to get a written committment from CarMax which is good for 10 days. This should serve as an important guide. The dealer has the advantage, however, because sales tax on your new car is based on the net purchase price. If you make this into two separate transactions (sell to Carmax and buy from a different dealer), you lose the benefit of paying sales tax on the lower net price.

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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby ScottW999 » Fri May 25, 2012 7:35 pm

I have used the Costco Car Buying Service twice over the years. Both times the out the door price was lower than Edmund's and absolutely no hassle.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby LazyNihilist » Fri May 25, 2012 7:41 pm

Great post. Thanks.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby tuckeverlasting » Fri May 25, 2012 8:33 pm

I also bought my car this way last December. Only went to the dealership once, to pay and pick up the car--everything done ahead of time. My impression was some dealers are not quite with the trend yet and were reluctant to play on my terms. However once I found one who was clearly set up to truly sell over the internet, it was immediately apparent and we quickly consummated the deal. After researching for a year, I knew exactly what I wanted and they even factory-ordered the car for me.

I did find reviews of the dealership itself too, although these can be unreliable.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby bnwest » Fri May 25, 2012 10:30 pm

I would also like to add that you should use a temp email address when interacting with car dealerships. I regret that I did not.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby CarlZ993 » Fri May 25, 2012 11:14 pm

This sounds similar to the car buying system I've used before: http://www.fightingchance.com/

I test drove several vehicles (Fit & Civic) at a local dealership. I told them that I would shop around and get some quotes. I'd give the dealership an opportunity to meet or beat my best quote (they didn't). I contacted by phone the sales managers of about 12 dealerships within 160 miles of my home. I let them know that I was going to buy a Civic that month (gave them about a week before the end of the month). Lots of emails quotes and re-quotes occurred. I let each dealership know where they stood in the bidding process. Most didn't try to go lower than their original bid. One undercut the best bid on the day I was scheduled to pick up the car. I had to drive 70 miles to pick it up... but I got a great price. It helped that I was shopping around at the end of Oct 2008 (deep in the Great Recession). Anyway, the dealership earned essentially no money on my purchase... not even the hold back.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby cacophony » Sat May 26, 2012 12:15 am

CarlZ993 wrote: Anyway, the dealership earned essentially no money on my purchase... not even the hold back.


I'm sure the dealership earned money. There were probably unpublished incentives (perhaps even dealer specific ones). Invoice and holdback are relatively meaningless at this point. I've bought cars for way less than (invoice - incentives - holdback), and there's no way the dealerships were losing money on my transactions.

More specifically, for my last car purchase the "dealer cost" (invoice - holdback) was about $18.3k, but I paid $17.2k. And this was a cash transaction with no trade in. It was also for a just released model year so there were no incentives supposedly. Yet, I had three local dealerships motivated and eager to sell for that price. The other 8 dealerships I contacted wouldn't come anywhere near that price. So it really shows the advantage of contacting a lot of different dealers.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby mike143 » Sat May 26, 2012 8:13 am

Nothing is free, someone pays...You can't spend your way to financial freedom.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby leonard » Sun May 27, 2012 7:00 pm

ScottW999 wrote:I have used the Costco Car Buying Service twice over the years. Both times the out the door price was lower than Edmund's and absolutely no hassle.


I had the opposite experience trying to buy a Prius in the Seattle area via the costco program. Initial quote from the costco dealer was the second highest. In the end, the costco quote ended up being the highest of all the final quotes.

Unfortunately, costco does not offer the lowest price on everything - autos being a prime example - and it pays to price things beyond costco.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby magellan » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:49 pm

<Warning - old thread resurrected >

I thought I'd update this old thread with my experiences buying a new Toyota RAV4 for my wife. I did an email blast to 6 dealers requesting a price with specific requirements. The result was an out the door price several hundred dollars below what I thought was the best case.

Since the Rav4 is at the end of the model year and is about to be reintroduced with a new design, the deals may have been slightly better than normal. OTOH, DW had very specific requirements for colors and the inventory was a bit limited.

I ordered the fightingchance.com pricing report that's been mentioned here a few times. It was interesting and I'd probably buy it again, but it wasn't really necessary. I was a price taker on this deal and not a price maker. The report did offer peace of mind that I got a very good deal.

I contacted 6 dealers within about 75 miles whose online inventory showed a vehicle in stock that met our specs.

Dealer 1 $31,305 MSRP -> $27,520 OTD ($3,785 off MSRP)
Dealer 2 $31,700 MSRP -> $28,200 OTD ($3,500 off)
Dealer 3 $31,700 MSRP -> $28,900 OTD ($2,800 off)
Dealer 4 $30,651 MSRP -> $27,630 OTD.(V6 sport instead of limited?)
Dealer 5 unknown MSRP -> $29, 650 OTD (vin for limited V6 w/backup cam, didn't list MSRP)
Dealer 6 -> never responded to my original request, but did send a followup email asking me to rate the experience???

So it seems that the Internet email blast approach is still alive and well. Overall, it's probably the best way to get a new car for the best price with the least hassle.

Jim
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby mikep » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:59 pm

I've done it this way as well. www.carbuyingtips.com has some great advice.
One thing is, starting 2 weeks in advance, some dealers offers "expired in 72 hours" so keep that in mind as well. I guess its their version of hardball.. of course you can move on to the next dealer if you want.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby hudson » Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:38 am

CarlZ993 wrote:This sounds similar to the car buying system I've used before: http://www.fightingchance.com/

I test drove several vehicles (Fit & Civic) at a local dealership. I told them that I would shop around and get some quotes. I'd give the dealership an opportunity to meet or beat my best quote (they didn't). I contacted by phone the sales managers of about 12 dealerships within 160 miles of my home. I let them know that I was going to buy a Civic that month (gave them about a week before the end of the month). Lots of emails quotes and re-quotes occurred. I let each dealership know where they stood in the bidding process. Most didn't try to go lower than their original bid. One undercut the best bid on the day I was scheduled to pick up the car. I had to drive 70 miles to pick it up... but I got a great price. It helped that I was shopping around at the end of Oct 2008 (deep in the Great Recession). Anyway, the dealership earned essentially no money on my purchase... not even the hold back.


I also used Bragg's Fighting Chance information/strategy to purchase my last car. It's not unlike the OP's strategy....but you have more knowledge and tools. For around $40, he'll send you the scoop on the vehicle you picked out....prices that people paid for that model...using his strategy...in your area and US wide. He'll coach you through the document he sends you...and by phone if you want. If you read through Bragg's information, you'll understand how manufacturers and dealers think or work. He'll also let you know if your dream vehicle is one where his strategy won't work.

If you have ever gone into a dealership, you know that you're at a big disadvantage. They say all this nice stuff....they effectively pitch to your spouse....they make you sit and wait forever to get a decision from the man in the back room. They have an answer for your every question...and once they start to lose you, they send in their sales manager or other "heavy hitter" who is very good at getting you to swallow the hook.

Bragg's strategy allows you to take over the negotiations in a position of strength. You're now on your turf with a phone or email as a tool...you're in control. I felt like I got the best price available for my car in a 3 state area.

The strategy took me about eight hours of emails and phone calls. Some of the dealers were unhappy with the strategy, but gave quotes anyway. It seemed like the large "super" dealerships would not drop their quotes...they would keep calling with promises of excellent services. Three dealerships in smaller towns were very interested and each kept submitting lower bids until I made the purchase. After my purchase, one of the dealers dropped his price $500....too late.

Bragg discussed buying services...and recommended one...a non-profit. He maintained that most or all of the others weren't effective. In his book, he favored manufacturer certified used cars...and he gave strategies for purchasing used.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby fsrph » Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:43 am

JupiterJones wrote:Good stuff!

It would make a great addition to the wiki, IMHO.

JJ


I agree.

One thing to add - when I bnought a new Forester a few years ago I received several internet quotes. But, the local Subaru dealer (3 miles away) does not respond to e-mails nor does it give internet price quotes. Kind of frustrating. So I took my lowest internet price to the local dealer and told them I was buying this vehicle. They came within $200 of the lowest internet quote and I bought from them. Actually the local dealers price was better because the lowest internet price was an out of state dealer about 250 miles away.

Francis
“Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.” ― Warren Buffett
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby travellight » Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:15 pm

Great info, thanks!
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby BigMoneyGrip » Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:19 am

Two questions:

1) I assume you do the test drive at the local dealer? Don't they enter your info into their database and perhaps the non-internet sales side of the house have some claim to a cut of the commission for a set period of time?

2) This is probably more applicable to higher end cars, but what type of service do you receive at the local dealer for a car you purchased 100+ miles away? I assume you won't get a loaner, they won't go the 'extra mile' for you on certain things (putting a rush on parts, fitting you into a busy schedule, etc)?
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby magellan » Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:36 am

BigMoneyGrip wrote:2) This is probably more applicable to higher end cars, but what type of service do you receive at the local dealer for a car you purchased 100+ miles away? I assume you won't get a loaner, they won't go the 'extra mile' for you on certain things (putting a rush on parts, fitting you into a busy schedule, etc)?

Perhaps at a small family dealership where you have a relationship with the owner it may matter, but I haven't seen a difference. If I leave my infiniti at any dealer for the day, I can get a free loaner. OTOH, toyota dealers around here seem to charge $35-40 a day for a loaner regardless of where you bought your car. (I know this because my local toyota place won the bidding two Ravs ago).

Jim
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby The Wizard » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:00 pm

A vehicle that's been on the lot for months and months is one thing.
I'm probably going to be doing a Factory Order for my new Ford F-150 pickup in a year or so since there are just TOO MANY model variations and option packages, some of which I need and many of which I do not.

I'm not sure that internet purchasing will work so well for factory ordering of a domestic vehicle.
Has anyone found a significant saving doing this online?
I suspect I'll just hit three local dealers and see which one can do the best price...
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby Mudpuppy » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:22 pm

BigMoneyGrip wrote:2) This is probably more applicable to higher end cars, but what type of service do you receive at the local dealer for a car you purchased 100+ miles away? I assume you won't get a loaner, they won't go the 'extra mile' for you on certain things (putting a rush on parts, fitting you into a busy schedule, etc)?

They would jeopardize their franchise license by treating "xyz Make" vehicles purchased from them differently than "xyz Make" vehicles purchased from someone else. Particularly for the high end makes, the "service quality" is part of the image that the car manufacturer is trying to project, and they don't take kindly to tarnished images. That doesn't mean the car salesperson won't insinuate as much when you're test driving locally, but it's just another scare tactic. Car dealers will use these sort of scare tactics to try to get you to buy from them.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby jdb » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:40 pm

Best pure internet purchase of new car is the Tesla Model S. No dealerships (though it has local rep offices with repair technicians in most large cities). No price haggling. All can be done over phone and by computer. Great vehicle reviews, $7,500 tax credit. American company. Go electric. Cheers.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby interplanetjanet » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:48 pm

magellan wrote:
BigMoneyGrip wrote:2) This is probably more applicable to higher end cars, but what type of service do you receive at the local dealer for a car you purchased 100+ miles away? I assume you won't get a loaner, they won't go the 'extra mile' for you on certain things (putting a rush on parts, fitting you into a busy schedule, etc)?

Perhaps at a small family dealership where you have a relationship with the owner it may matter, but I haven't seen a difference. If I leave my infiniti at any dealer for the day, I can get a free loaner. OTOH, toyota dealers around here seem to charge $35-40 a day for a loaner regardless of where you bought your car. (I know this because my local toyota place won the bidding two Ravs ago).

Me neither. Then again, I took in a 22 year old Acura for a warranty repair and got a brand new TL as a loaner for nearly three weeks while they tried to get the right part from Japan. They made every effort to accomodate me even though I'd bought the car used and it was in its autumn years.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby tyrion » Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:52 pm

interplanetjanet wrote:Me neither. Then again, I took in a 22 year old Acura for a warranty repair and got a brand new TL as a loaner for nearly three weeks while they tried to get the right part from Japan. They made every effort to accomodate me even though I'd bought the car used and it was in its autumn years.


Perhaps they were testing your resolve and figured after driving a new TL it would be hard to go back to your 22 year old car?
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby THY4373 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:12 pm

Dodger wrote:
- Stay in touch with all the dealers, even if their initial quotes are not competitive.


Great points. I used a similar approach for the one new car I have ever purchased (wife's Ford Fusion Hybrid). While I still agree with this point of keeping up with non-competitive dealers I will say that in my case the non-competitive dealers pretty much stayed that way. None of then tried to meet the lower offers I was getting not even a little bit. Also it was really funny how desperate some dealers were to try to get you into their showroom to "continue" negotiations. I was always clear I would not show up until the final price was agreed to.

One thing I would add to your list is to cast your net wide if you are willing to travel a bit to get your car. I found in my case it was the rural dealers who were willing to negotiate the most at least in my case. I suspect it might be because a hybrid is less of interest to rural buyers. Basically I saved over $1500 by driving 2.5 hours each way to pickup the car (wife came with me because there was no trade in).
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby westie » Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:18 pm

here's a good article about this from today's paper

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100290416
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby tj » Fri Dec 07, 2012 7:21 pm

1210sda wrote:Good suggestions for new car purchases. Thank You.

In some cases, an individual may have a trade-in. (someone who doesn't want to hassle with a private party sale).
Couple of thoughts. Check out estimates at both Edmunds and Kelly Bluebook. With one caveat....they are a little bit too far apart in their estimates for my comfort level.

Has anyone actually traded in a car after getting pricing estimates from Edmunds or Kelly BB. If so, which was closer to what you received from the dealer ??

Another consideration is to get a written committment from CarMax which is good for 10 days. This should serve as an important guide. The dealer has the advantage, however, because sales tax on your new car is based on the net purchase price. If you make this into two separate transactions (sell to Carmax and buy from a different dealer), you lose the benefit of paying sales tax on the lower net price.

1210


I brought in the Carmax quote and Honda matched it. IIRC, the sales guy said if they couldn't sell it, they'd just take it to Carmax.
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby frequentT » Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:23 pm

I have purchased 2 cars in the last 18 months and assisted a friend with purchasing a car (Mini Cooper). All cars were purchased using the internet for a significant portion of the pricing research, gathering quotes, negotiations and setting up the purchase and pick-up. Here are my findings:

The brands purchased were Nissan, Volvo and Mini Cooper

I live in a large metro are which increases the competition among dealers, except for the Mini

To engender more price competition I cast my net up to 150 miles away, and even further for the Mini

All dealers were 'internet friendly' and approachable; most were interested in doing business, only one did not wish to enter 'a competition'.

I never did reveal my location til the deal was struck. I never visited til I came to collect the vehicle.

The buyer must be very firm on specs and requirements. Give a range of what you will and will not accept in colors, options etc.

The Nissan dealers were very competitive with each other, and there were a lot of them. They had lots of inventory, and it was not difficult to meet my requirements. The dealers did tend to load up the vehicles with a lot of dealer-added options that were of no interest. We had to work hard to convince them we were not paying them for options that we were not interested in (and they had added just to fatten their profits). So the range of prices were the widest top to bottom. I purchased from a dealer ~30 miles away, bypassing 4 closer dealers.

The Volvo dealers were very cooperative, friendly, professional: Their inventory was adequate and their price offers easy to decipher. The prices got better the further away from home. We ended up traveling 170 miles to collect the car, but for nearly $1000 savings with an exact match of specs, it was a no-brain er. We made a Saturday road trip of it, had a nice, lunch, did some shopping and came home. We by-passed 3 closer dealers.

The Mini Cooper people were very cooperative willing to quote and email all day. There were only two dealers in the Metro area: they were not competing at all. We cast our net more than 500 miles away and were willing do a one-way flight and drive the car home if the price were right. This did not help at all. The dealers knew they have a hot brand and played the cache to the hilt. The prices were <$100 of each other; though you could get some options thrown-in. I would say the internet approach was not so fruitful, though you always feel better having done your homework. My friend got the fever and purchased from the closest dealer. He loves the car!
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Re: Internet Car Buying- Lessons Learned

Postby Savvy » Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:41 am

My piece of advice to add:

Recognize that some dealers simply are not as helpful via email. Of the five dealers I emailed, two strongly preferred regular phone calls rather than back and forth emails. The dealer that I felt was least helpful and responsive via email was actually the dealer I ended up buying from once I gave him a call.
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