Smart Car Shopping – Here are some Tips


Since recently hearing a couple of horror stories about car shopping, I decided it might be a good time to share some tips on savvy car shopping.

If you’re a member of USAA, do take advantage of its Auto Circle program to buy a car at a considerable discount. The program not only  lets you take advantage of negotiated discounts from USAA, but it also lets you head to the dealership with that dealer’s agreed-upon price in hand, and even a guarantee on the trade-in value of your current vehicle, assuming you were honest about it condition. It’s the way I bought my last car and I was pleased as punch. I got online at Auto Circle, chose the car I wanted, got to look at area dealers and the discounted price they had negotiated with USAA printed out my promised price.  Then I filled out the online form about the make, model, year and VIN of my truck, how much I still owed and the condition it was in. They told me what I could get for it on trade-in. With these two papers in hand I headed to Larry Miller Hyundai. Ninety minutes later I had my new car. USAA has a similar Home Circle program for home buyers too, that sets them up with a USAA-approved agent. There are other organizations who negotiate member discounts from dealers, too. I believe Costco is one of them.

If you’re a woman who doesn’t feel comfortable about car buying, look for a woman-certified dealership. These dealers have been trained to know what women want in a vehicle, the questions they might have, the information they typically need, and have been certified as being honest, reliable dealers who take care of their female customers. There are two sites that specialize in training and certifying women-friendly dealers. They are AskPatty.com, and WomenCertified.com. Head to either site if you want a female-friendly auto dealer or repair shop.

Edmunds.com recently put out a helpful announcement about how to shop smart for a car. I’ve posted it in its entirety below.

Edmunds.com Shows Shoppers How to Buy a New Car in Less Than a Day

SANTA MONICA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Shoppers who know the right path to car buying can seal a deal faster than they ever imagined, even in as little as a few hours, says Edmunds.com, the premier resource for automotive information. And while Edmunds.com highly recommends that shoppers take as much time as they need to make such a big purchase, Senior Consumer Advice Editor Philip Reed shows how buyers in a pinch can easily start and complete the process in less than a day.

“Break the task into the steps listed here and you’ll save time and money and still get the best car for you.”

“Even though a car is a big-ticket purchase, you can do it quickly and with little stress,” says Reed. “Break the task into the steps listed here and you’ll save time and money and still get the best car for you.”

Assuming you already know which model you want, Edmunds.com lays out the following three steps to expedite the buying process and still get a good deal on a new car:

Step 1: Locate Your Car

Use Edmunds.com’s New Car Inventory page or a local dealership’s own inventory tool on its Web site to find the color, trim level and options you want. Call the dealership and ask to speak with the Internet manager to make sure the car is still on the lot.

Step 2: Make a Deal

Ask the Internet manager for the dealership’s best price and see if any incentives or rebates are available. Hang up the phone and compare these figures to the Edmunds.com True Market Value (TMV®) price of the car. If the price quote you get is at TMV or below, you’re in good shape; if it’s higher, call back to negotiate a figure that meets the TMV® price. If the Internet manager won’t budge, contact other dealerships in your area or a neighboring city. And before you agree to any salesperson’s offer ask for an “out-the-door” price that includes all taxes and fees. Make sure the fees are legitimate using Edmunds.com’s guide at http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/what-fees-should-you-pay.html.

Step 3: Arrange Delivery

Before you say yes to the deal, say that there’s one condition: The dealership has to deliver the car to you. The salesperson should oblige and arrange to have the car driven to your home or office. Inspect the car to verify it is the year, make and model you want and make sure there are no dents or scratches and all the equipment that’s supposed to be there has been included. Next, review the contract. Make sure the amount matches what you were given as an “out-the-door” price and that the down payment and monthly payment is exactly what you expected. Assuming all is correct, you will give the Internet manager your payment and he will give you the keys to your new car.

More details and additional tips on how to pull off a new car purchase in just one day can be found at http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/buy-a-new-car-in-one-day.html.

About Edmunds.com, Inc.

At Edmunds.com, we’re committed to helping people find the car that meets their every need. Almost 18 million visitors use our research, shopping and buying tools every month to make an easy and informed decision on their next new or used car. Whether you’re at the dealership or on the go, we’re always by your side with our five-star Edmunds.com iPhone and iPad apps and our Edmunds.com Android App. Our comprehensive car reviews, shopping tips, photos, videos and feature stories offer a friendly and authentic approach to the automotive world. We’re based in Santa Monica, Calif., but you can connect with us from anywhere by following @Edmunds on Twitter or by becoming a fan of Edmunds.com on Facebook.