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More Consumers Are Purchasing Cars Online

Subscribe April 02, 2015
Auto Transport | Buying a new car | Choosing an auto shipper | Industry Information

Consumer Reports recently released its Annual Auto Survey, listing the top used cars under $10,000, the best used cars ranging from $10,000 to $25,000, used cars with the best safety and reliability ratings, and much more. The survey results make it clear: Consumer Reports is a big advocate of purchasing used to save money. And a growing number of car buyers are taking it even one step further.

More specifically, buyers are favoring used models and online sellers for the most savings. In fact, eBay Motors, Cars.com, AutoTrader.com, CarsDirect.com, and other online companies sell 15 million cars per year. While nearly all consumers are familiar with the process of buying everyday items online, what does it take to purchase something much larger and much more costly -- like a car -- from the Web?

Is Buying A Car Online More Or Less The Same?

Yes and no. Here are some differences and some advantages.

Purchasing a car online enables you to easily and relatively quickly browse vehicles from a number of different dealerships. You can make purchasing decisions free from the pressure of a physical salesperson, at any hour or any time.

There a few things you will want to look out for, however. Make certain that the listing displays a vehicle identification number (VIN) and that any photos are accurate representations of the model you hope to buy (i.e., not a stock photo or a series of stock photographs). Also ask for a summary of existing issues or repair needs, and consider getting a CarFax report before officially buying the vehicle.

Closing The Deal

This can go a few different ways.

If you are purchasing locally, the dealership will often require you to come in to test drive the vehicle and complete the sale. The other option is completing the entire process online.

Nearly all consumers (94%) research cars on the Internet, and one-third are 100% comfortable doing it all -- setting up financing, trading in a current vehicle, and purchasing a car -- entirely via the Web. In that case and particularly if you purchase from a faraway dealership or manufacturer, you will need to go through a vehicle shipping company to ship a car.

These car transport companies often drive cars from the manufacturer to the dealership, but they can also help you transport a car you purchase online or transport a car in the event of a long distance move. Keep in mind that vehicle shipping company rates vary. For example, an entirely enclosed truck costs 60% more than open shipping trucks.

Can you get great deals shopping for cars online? In many cases, the answer is yes. Just make certain to factor in the costs related to hiring a dependable vehicle shipping company if you are buying from a nonlocal source. It pays to think ahead.

Testimonials

No issues to report, service was dependable and reliable. Our car was available before the scheduled date! Very much appreciated!
T. Rosenthal
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