The Internet has been an excellent tool for potential car buyers to research and prepare before facing the hassle and stress of the car-buying process. But car buyers cannot simply show up to a dealership with a few printouts from various websites and believe this is enough ammunition to get the best deal possible.
Web apps have become an integral part of the car-shopping experience as Smart phones continue to rise in popularity. Car buyers are using this technology to their advantage and are more-informed now than ever. Dealers are forced to become familiar with the various apps available, while they integrate them into their own processes.
Pricing and Value
The general rule of thumb is to never accept the first offer. Web apps such as Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book contain virtually all the information you need on the value of new and used cars, respectively. These apps not only come in handy when comparing auto loans for used cars, but also when financing a new car. Kelley Blue Book’s app allows prospective buyers to enter the year, make and model of any vehicle, along with the mileage and other features to determine the actual value.
Salesmen will treat you with a different level of respect if you are quoting them the exact value of a particular vehicle based on its condition and the region of the country it’s being purchased and sold. Edmunds will show you the true value of new cars so you can determine how much the dealership is marking it up for profit. Kelley Blue Book is available on Android, iPhone and Windows Phone 7, while Edmunds is not yet available for Windows.
Potential buyers can also use these apps and the Internet to find financing options, which helps them avoid being taken advantage of. For example, car loans for bad credit at DriveTime help those with imperfect credit start to build a better history through on-time payments.
Inspections and Repairs
A used car should never be purchased without performing a top-to-bottom layman’s inspection. This does not take the place of getting an expert opinion, however. Free apps such as RepairPal give you instant quotes on specific repairs that may be needed, which can subsequently be used as a bargaining chip in the final total price. RepairPal, along with CrashSpace, helps you locate a mechanic in your area after you’ve entered any potential problems the car may have. Both apps are free yet priceless when negotiating the terms of financing.
The fact is dealers rely on car buyers’ ignorance and desire to get into a new or used vehicle as soon as possible to maximize their earnings. Buyers armed with a smart phone present a new challenge for salesmen, especially in these tough economic times. As a result, some dealerships have created their own apps to counter customer diligence. The Chevy Dealer app gives salesmen a comprehensive inventory of all cars on their lot complete with interior and exterior photos. The app can also calculate monthly payments for financing and allows salesmen to save customer quotes for follow-ups.