They could even walk into a dealership with a price locked in.
J.D. The program is good for Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC vehicles and was expanded to all 50 states last year. Sites let buyers configure their vehicles, see what others paid and estimate the trade-in value of their current car or truck. Edmunds lets buyers shop for new and used cars and also offers reviews and advice.
– TrueCar (http://www.truecar.com), which was founded in 2008, monitors millions of transactions to determine the average price of a car in your zip code. Auto Web sites — once filled mostly with reviews and advice — are getting more sophisticated, connecting potential buyers with dealers and offering instant price guarantees. Kelley Blue Book says the 2014 Hyundai Sonata SE should range between $22,845 and $23,602 in Chicago.
Once buyers choose a car and trim level, they can see the average price paid for that car in their area and get an estimated price from Edmunds. They’re given a special code to open the door and hop in their car. Dealers pay Edmunds a monthly fee to be part of the network.
Auto sites are rapidly adding features and content to attract buyers. Buyers can choose to pick up their car at Carvana’s “vending machine,” a three-bay garage in Atlanta. Carvana will also deliver a car anywhere in the country. But for many consumers, the convenience is worth it. In Atlanta, TrueCar dealers will likely offer the same car for $21,369. marketing director. In person, a dealer might drop the price even further, or throw in extras like floor mats or a satellite radio subscription. For example, an upcoming mobile app from TrueCar.com will let shoppers submit photos and information about their used car to dealers, who will bid to buy it.
– General Motors’ Stop-Click-Drive program (http://shopclickdrive.com/) lets buyers shop via local dealer Web sites, estimate the value of a trade-in, estimate monthly payments, turn in a credit application and set up a time to pick up the car at the dealership. To ease consumers’ frustration, the industry wants to whittle that down to an hour.
– Edmunds.com got its start in 1966 as a paperback car-pricing guide. It won the highest ranking in J.D. Power’s 2014 survey of car shopping sites based on content, ease of navigation, appearance and speed. In return, dealers pay TrueCar $299 for every new vehicle sold through the site and $399 for every used vehicle.
“It’s truly become an equalizer in the shopping and negotiating process,” Lenard said at a recent Ford event.
– Carvana is perhaps the most radical model, allowing buyers to bypass dealers entirely. Carvana, founded last year by Phoenix-based DriveTime Automotive Group, owns all of its inventory, so it gives shoppers fewer options than sites that search other dealers’ inventories. GM says it has sold more than 3,700 new vehicles through the site, which is offered through 40 percent of the company’s 4,300 U.S. But Carvana estimates that cutting out dealers saves buyers $1,500 per car. A 2014 Hyundai Sonata SE is estimated at $23,760 in Chicago, for example, or $540 less than Hyundai’s suggested retail price. News Best Cars, which ranks cars and tracks deals; and Kelley Blue Book, which determines a price buyers should expect to pay based on local demand, seasonal trends and other factors. One company even lets buyers complete the entire sale online and get cars delivered to their door.
John Krafcik, TrueCar’s president, says it takes around three hours to finalize a car purchase. And the multiple sites that let you check deals can help assure you’re getting a fair price.
Want to take some of the stress and mystery out of the car-buying process? Get on the Internet.
The Internet lets shoppers enter a showroom armed with the same information as a dealer, said Chantel Lenard, Ford Motor Co.’s U.S. Power also gives high marks to Cars.com, which connects shoppers to dealers who offer a quote; U.S. The company won’t give exact sales figures, but says it has sold thousands of cars since its launch last year.
Here are some of the best places to shop for cars on the Web:
The no-haggle approach can have a downside. Shoppers can browse Carvana’s used-car inventory, apply for financing through its partners and arrange for pick-up or delivery — all online. Carvana was offering a 2011 Sonata SE for $15,500 — sorry, no 2014 model available. Some let buyers estimate their trade-in values and turn in credit applications online. Shoppers who enter their name, e-mail and phone number can get a specific, locked-in price from dealers before heading to the showroom. A delivery to Chicago, for example, costs $600; delivery in Atlanta or Nashville, home of the company’s distribution center, is free. Potential buyers get a guaranteed price they can take to a certified dealer. For example, the site estimates a 2014 Hyundai Sonata SE will m88 cost $20,392 at a TrueCar certified dealer in the Chicago area. dealers.
TrueCar says nearly 400,000 people bought cars through its 7,700 certified dealers last year.