Different car buying sites offer different services to consumers opting to buy new cars online. There are sites that sell direct, bypassing the dealer, such as CarsDirect. Other sites such as InvoiceDealers and Edmunds.com are referral services that have thousands of network dealers offering discounted internet prices.
Direct sites offer several distinct advantages to those looking to buy new cars online. First and foremost, a buyer will save much more money than through haggling with a commissioned salesperson. These sites also include valuable information such as dealer invoice price, MSRP, rebates and incentives, and holdbacks by manufacturer. The buyer retains all rebates and discounts, and most deals are completed within half an hour. Any dealer can handle warranty services.
If after pricing vehicles at the direct sales sites the buyers still decides to purchase from a local dealer, the new car quotes gleaned from internet sources can be an invaluable negotiating tool. Not only do direct sites often have the lowest price quotes, but the sites also offer information on rebates that a dealer may otherwise not disclose to the consumer.
Referral services such as Edmunds.com and InvoiceDealers work directly with local dealers to offer the best pricing. Requests to buy new cars online are directed to internet sales or fleet managers at local dealerships, who are not commissioned salespeople. These competing dealers offer the lowest pricing a buyer will find locally. New car quotes from referral services often average between $200 below invoice to $500 above invoice, which is well below what a buyer could expect to pay if left to negotiate without this tool.
If a purchaser decides to accept an offer made by a local dealer, the fleet manager will often show the factory to dealer invoice price. This keeps the dealer honest - the buyer can compare the price quoted with the dealers price and ensure a good deal is being made. The dealer will often have all of the paperwork ready when the buyer arrives, avoiding the four hours plus of paperwork and haggling a buyer normally encounters at a dealership.
A tip for those who wish to buy new cars online - pull your own credit report first. Being armed with this information ahead of time allows a buyer to get a feeling for what interest rate one can reasonably expect to be charged if financing the vehicle. Contrary to popular belief, checking your own credit report will not lower your credit score. Since 2001 consumers have been able to access their own Beacon FICO credit scores. You can access your credit score through Equifax, Consumerinfo, or TrueCredit. To receive an optimal interest rate, you should have a credit score of 680 or higher.