March 15, 2006
The process of purchasing a car is one of the most exciting experiences you’ll ever have. But unless you’re well prepared, it can also give you more headaches then you ever imagined. When car-shopping, most people know exactly what kind of car they want to buy, with every detail of color and accessories in mind. However, what most people have no clue about is where they should shop for their car.
Rumors about small-town vs. big-town dealerships have been around forever. Some people believe small-town dealers are the best choice because of their quality customer service. They think small dealers treat their customers better because it is important to them to uphold their reputation in the community. On the other hand, some believe that big-town dealers, like Toyota dealerships, have better trained mechanics and a more competent service staff. The truth is you can never really be sure where to get the very best deal on any car. For this reason it is important to compare cars amongst several different dealerships, and this can be done in a variety of ways.
Internet In this information age, make your very first stop on the Internet. Using the Internet is definitely the easiest and fastest was to shop for any car. Within minutes you’ll have all the information you ever wanted on any car in the world, from general information to the smallest details. Sales people actually prefer customers who have researched cars on the Internet because they usually come to the dealer knowing exactly what they want. At that point it’s just a matter of taking the car for a test drive to make sure the car is as comfortable as they imagine. Most car dealerships have their own customized website that provides you with a list of their inventory. This will save you from driving around to different dealers just to check whether or not they sell the car you’re looking to buy. You may also want to check out their Customer Service Index (CSI), where past buyers will rate their level of satisfaction with the dealership. The Internet is the best hassle-free way to shop for a car.
Telephone Using the telephone can be one of the best ways to learn about a specific car because it allows you to ask all the questions you have without having to deal face to face with often pushy and pestering car salesmen. Start by calling every dealership listed in the yellow pages that is in your area and sells the car you’re interested in purchasing. When talking with a sales manager, ask for the absolute lowest price they can quote you for the car, and be sure to give them every detail you are looking for. You may also want to ask about their financing options. Comparison shopping among local dealerships will ensure that you get the lowest price with the best financing, and the best part is that you did it all from your own living room.
Word-of-Mouth Make sure you always do some low-tech research as well. Knowing the dealer’s reputation is sometimes the most beneficial information. Not only will you know what to expect from different dealers but it can be the difference between a positive experience and a nightmare. Always ask friends and family about dealerships where they’ve had good experiences. You may also want to keep your eyes open for dealer’s nameplates in parking lots. Strike up a conversation with the owner and ask if they would consider buying a car there again.
With so many ways to obtain information about your car of interest, comparison shopping among different dealerships, both small-town and big-town dealers, will guarantee you the best price. Nothing will make your car-buying experience more pleasant then to do some research before you buy.