List of Ways to Buy Your New Car by Shopping Online

List of Ways to Buy Your New Car by Shopping Online

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car shopping

I bought a new car on Saturday.  It is a 2018 Toyota Corolla LE with moonroof!  I really love it!

It has been at least 20 years since I have shopped for a car for me.  I turned to the internet to get some car-buying tips.  I came across this article, “How to Buy a New Car at the Best Possible Price“.  This article was exactly what I needed to help me take control of this car-buying experience.

Step 1:  Test-Drive vehicles until you know what you want!

I did try to start this process before I even test-drove a vehicle.  When the dealership responded, they needed more information from me.  They needed to know what trim I wanted and what acccessories I wanted.  I really didn’t completely understand what they were asking for and why until I went to test-drive a vehicle.  You can’t take control of the situation until you KNOW what you want!

I really thought I wanted a small SUV.  I was looking at the models that Toyota, Mazda, Honda, Nissan and Volkswagon had.  The average price for the basic small SUV is about $25,000.  I also was thinking about getting a Toyota Corolla because we have had good experiences with Toyota vehicles and the price was less than the price for a SUV.

I first test-drove the Mazda CX-5.  We really didn’t like it as much as I thought I would and the dealership didn’t have the trim that was in the $25,000 range.  I wasn’t crazy about spending $25,000 and I really didn’t want to spend more than that.  I was glad that I really didn’t like it!  We informed the salesman that we were really just shopping–we weren’t sure yet what exactly we wanted.

We then went to Toyota. I was very surprised that we didn’t have salesmen come to us as soon as we got out of our car to look at a car.  We really did want a salesman at that point.  We looked at the Corollas and then looked at the Rav4s without a salesman talking to us.  The doors were locked on all of them.  I did get to look through the windows.  Looking through the windows of the Rav4 and looking at the sticker prices, I decided I didn’t really need to test-drive it.

I did want to test-drive the Corolla, though.  We were able to spend time looking at all of the Corolla colors, trims and accessories.  They didn’t have exactly what I wanted out on the lot, but we drove a similar one.  I liked it.  I now knew what I wanted!  I didn’t let the salesman know that, though.  We told him we are still shopping trying to decide exactly what we want.  🙂  I now knew the information that the internet salesmen needed to know in order to give me a quote.

Step 2:  Search online to find dealerships that have the vehicle you want!  List of Ways to Buy Your New Car by Shopping Online

When I got home, I went to the websites of all of the Toyota dealers within 150 miles to see if they had the car that I wanted.  Most of them did!  (It is helpful to pick a car that is on several lots, so there is more oportunity to bargain.)  The article, “How to Buy a New Car at the Best Possible Price“, has a sample letter that you can enter the information into and then copy and paste it into your email.

Step 3:  E-mail dealerships asking for their best price for the vehicle you want!

I created my sample letter and then emailed it to the dealerships that had the car that I wanted to see what price they would sell the car to me for.

Being an introvert, I loved being able to communicate with dealerships by email.  You can say what you want to and then email it for a response.  They have to process your response to give you a response.  I think you have much better two-way communication, personally.  Each party has time to think before they respond.  Each party also has time to think and process what the other may be thinking about the email you just sent and wonder what their response will be.  I enjoyed the anticipation of the responses that I received.  I felt that I was able to pressure them for the best deal rather than them pressuring me to buy their car.  🙂

Step 4:  Compare offers!

In the article, “How to Buy a New Car at the Best Possible Price“, there is a spreadsheet you can use to compare the offers that you receive.   You will need to put your offers in order to see who is offering the best deal.

Step 5:  E-mail dealerships to inform them of the best offer you have been given to see if they can beat it!

The article, “How to Buy a New Car at the Best Possible Price“, has a template for you to use to create the next e-mail you want to send and explains which dealerships to send emails to.  At this point, I was able to lower my best price by $300, I believe.  I wouldn’t try to get much better…

Step 6:  Decide which dealership you want to buy from!  List of Ways to Buy Your New Car by Shopping Online

There are advantages and disadvantages that come with the decision of the dealership that you choose to buy from.  If the dealership offers free oil changes and service for the first 25,000 miles, you may want to pick the dealership that is closest to you that offers that.  I really don’t want to drive 75 miles to get my oil changed.  You have to weigh out what each dealership offers to see which complete package (vehicle price plus perks) is best for you.

I’m not sure if I could have done the complete sale on-line and just gone to the dealership to pick up the car or maybe even have had the dealership deliver it to me?  I live in North Charleston, SC.  A dealer in Myrtle Beach did offer to meet me half-way to purchase the car from his dealership.  I may have been able to have that sale completely done on-line.  We didn’t choose that dealership because our local dealership offered to beat our best offer and they did offer a few perks that were nice if you lived close to the dealership.

The dealership convinced me to come in to discuss the final price and finalize the purchase.  I had the price that they promised they would beat, so I felt confident going to meet with them.  What I didn’t anticipate was all of the extra fees.  I knew there were fees for taxes, tags, etc.  What I didn’t know is that dealerships have a lot of fees that they may or may not charge every person.  They will try to charge you for these items, but if they are trying to make a deal with you, they can make those charges go away.  🙂  I wish I would have taken a picture of the first quote the dealership brought out to me.  The price was higher than the price that I was told they would beat.  I honestly wonder if that was intentional so that I wouldn’t pay attention to the extra fees listed below that–I was stuck making sure they gave me the deal they promised.  The price for the car was about $600 off, I think, from what I felt it should have been.  The salesman pointed to the price listed at the bottom that included all the extra fees (the final price) and said “so you want this price to be $18,000”.   That price was a little over $600 more, so I agreed.   He went back to re-work the figures and brought me back a final price of $18,000.  I did see that he didn’t change the price of the car, but I don’t have a clue what he took away to make the figures work.  I wish I had so that I could tell you to not pay it!  🙂   If you don’t agree with the quote that is first brought out to you, take a picture of it so that you can compare what changes are made.

I hope you find this information helpful and I hope you will get an incredible deal on your new car purchase!

List of Ways to Buy Your New Car by Shopping Online