• How To Do Your Car Shopping Online

    Car shopping online makes your search for a new car easy and convenient. In fact, whether you plan to lease or buy a vehicle, you will probably be able to find your best vehicle buy by using online resources. Here are some points to consider.

    Types of Websites for Car Shopping Information

    Three types of websites are available for obtaining information when you are car shopping. These are the auto manufacturers’ websites, independent automotive sites, and search engines.

    Car Shopping on Auto Manufacturer Websites

    For the latest new product information, specifications, models, makes and trims, options, financing, even calculators, your best online resource for a specific model is directly from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) that makes it. Every auto manufacturer has a website, and some are more useful to the consumer than others. They have invested in website design and provided comprehensive and intuitive tools to help consumers navigate the site and to find and compare vehicle information. They want to keep consumers on the site, and to help direct them to a dealership to test drive and buy a vehicle.

    • Tip: OEM websites have detailed standard equipment, options, pricing details, interior and exterior photos, and tools such as build and price, locate a dealer, and finance calculators to help you narrow your car shopping search.

    Car Shopping on Independent Automotive Websites

    Many consumers have a list of several vehicles they are interested in but still want more information. And they want an objective third party to provide that information. Independent automotive websites offer detailed information about every new vehicle available. In addition, these unbiased sites also have data on older models, helpful if your Internet search is to buy used vehicle. Data goes back generally about 10 model years. You can also find used car evaluations on several of these websites to help your car shopping process whether you need to sell an older vehicle in order to buy new, or to calculate the cost of a used vehicle you’re considering buying.

    • Tip: Independent automotive websites enable side-by-side vehicle comparisons, sorting by vehicle type, price or manufacturer, and provide extensive information on warranties, rebates, and factory incentives. Online consumer message boards or blogs are also popular on these sites.

    Car Shopping on Search Engines

    You have to work harder to find relevant information when you use search engines in your car shopping process. Generalized search requests yield hundreds of results. Be as specific as you can in your search request, using specific year, make, model. One example is “2010 Chevrolet Corvette specifications.” Other valuable information you can find using search engines includes technology, crash test results, fuel economy, car care tips, and aftermarket products.

    • Tip: Search engines are a good source for photos of future products. These spy shots, sightings by consumers as new models are being road tested, even sneak peaks provided by the manufacturers, will help if you’re interested in something that’s not yet in the market.

    Car Shopping Online: Which Site Should You Use

    If you’ve narrowed your list down to a few models, you may want to start with the independent site and then move on to the OEM site. If you already know the make and model and want pricing, go to the OEM site first. You will probably wind up using all three types of websites as you finalize your short list.