In the very near future almost 30% of new cars will be purchased through car dealerships' internet departments, and that number is expected to continue to grow as consumers become more aware of the convenience and savings available, according to a new consumer-oriented book published by Edmunds.com.
The book, entitled 'Strategies for Smart Car Buyers', and now in its second edition, explains how consumers find and price up their new cars online and maximise their savings by dealing with the internet departments at dealerships.
"The only reasons most people need to go to a car dealership are to test-drive the car and sign the contract," explained Philip Reed, co-author of the report, and senior consumer advice editor for Edmunds.com. "Consumers can use the internet, telephone and fax machine to research vehicle options and prices, to receive price quotes, and to secure financing before ever setting foot in a car dealership."
Over the past five years, perhaps the biggest change at car dealerships is that most have created an internet department where commissions are based on sales volume rather than transaction prices. This motivates internet department sales staff to quickly offer each customer an agreeable price; they also approach the selling process differently because they are accustomed to customers who have done a lot of research in advance and are already prepared to buy.
Online savings expected
To help illustrate the difference between online car buying and traditional methods, the Edmunds.com editors attempted a number of different approaches and found they could ultimately save around US$1,000 by buying a US$20,000 car through the dealer's internet department. Describing these test cases in detail, the report explains what consumers can expect and how they can reap the benefits of internet car buying.
The book is available for US$14.99 from the Edmunds.com web site.