Should you buy a family car online? If you’ve been visiting local dealerships and been left stunned by the available inventory or prices, much less both, then you might have given up on the idea of getting something around town. Buying a passenger vehicle for your family online might work for you if you do things right.
The Pros of Buying a Passenger Vehicle Online
JDPower lists both positives and negatives for car shopping online. Some of their points in favor of the experience include:
- Save Time: Visiting a dealership obviously takes time, but you don’t use all of it actually car shopping. In fact, you might not even spend the majority of your time doing family car shopping. You have to walk around. You might wait on people. You have to actually drive there and back or handle whatever your current method of transportation is. Shopping online just means opening up a browser and loading a website.
- Easier to Make Time: Not only can you save time in the car shopping experience, but you can also make time easier to find. Dealerships are usually only open during the day when you might be at work or busy with other aspects of your life. Shopping online is something you can do wherever and whenever you have online access and a device you like, be it a desktop or a smartphone.
- No Sales Pressure: Shopping online means you can do research and comparison shopping as long as you want before choosing a model. You won’t have a commission-hungry sales rep stalking you on a dealership lot with high-pressure moves that he hopes makes you buy something expensive, whether you want it or not.
- No Negotiations: Some people love checking out all the different cars available but dread choosing one because then they’d get involved with negotiations or haggling. Whether you’re not good at it or just find the experience distasteful, online shopping is usually a matter of paying for the listed price, taking it, or leaving it. The simplicity is appealing to many.
Going the Distance
Buying a family car online might mean you need to have it shipped to you, and this can work both ways. You will have to account for shipping costs in your budget, but you also get to shop across the country.
Even if you live on the East Coast, you can use a car shipping service in California to have a car, truck, or SUV sent cross-country to you where you live. This means you can possibly shop local markets or regions where there are more vehicles available, cheaper vehicles, or even both.
The right transport company won’t require payment until the vehicle arrives, and they’ll have a massive network of carriers so that someone is inevitably in the area of the desired pickup and then headed your way.
The Cons of Online Family Car Shopping
For all the potential perks, shopping for a family car through the online world is far from perfect:
- No Test Drive: Taking a test drive is a crucial part of the local dealership experience, and it’s usually the moment where you know whether or not a particular vehicle is right for you. Online shopping rarely permits this, although some sellers might give you a week to give the vehicle back.
- Trade-In: Some online car sellers will take trade-ins if they can pick them up when they deliver your next vehicle. However, this is the exception rather than the rule.
- No Negotiations: Granted, this was listed as a pro, and it is for those that don’t like haggling. However, if you expect to negotiate the price at least a little, then online shopping is not going to usually let you do that.
Deals Are Out There
Inflation and chip shortages have recently driven up vehicle costs, but passenger vehicles for your family are out there and affordable. The recent surge in costs is expected to start abating this year, so don’t put off starting your search for your family’s next ride, whether you do it online or locally.