Monday, January 11, 2021

Choosing and Buying Cars in the Digital Age

I turned 80 last month and I have many friends and associates that are around my age. We grew up, were educated, and worked from the 1940’s through the 1990’s. We lived in a world where we wrote letters, listened to radios, watched black and white TV, called friends on old fashioned telephones, and if we had a computer, it had a dial up modem. The Internet didn’t exist until 1983 and Google was born in 1998. We Baby Boomers entered the 21st century without a clue about the DIGITAL EXPLOSION that would transform the World. Some of us were able to adapt, but most of us haven’t.

2021 is the perfect example of “The Best of Times and the Worst of Times”. This applies to almost everything, but I’m a consumer advocate and a car dealer (no, that’s not an oxymoron). My goal is to help you digitally buy or lease your next vehicle without being ripped off by a car dealer. Following are some tips on buying or leasing a new or used vehicle utilizing all the support you can find online.

  • Find a friend that’s digitally savvy. Your children and grandchildren will probably qualify.
  • Your digitally qualified assistant will enable you to communicate with online sources to choose the best year-make-model vehicle for you. They will also help you find the lowest out-the-door price. Definition: The price you can write out a check for, give it to the dealer, and have him deliver your new car to your front door.
  • Be prepared to buy your next vehicle entirely online. You should not visit a car dealership except to test drive the vehicles you’re considering. In fact, many progressive car dealers offer to bring vehicles to you for test driving and evaluation. Most car dealers are reluctant to sell you a car completely online becauseyou have control and they don’t; however, if you insist, they have no alternative but to comply.
  • The best sources of online information for your digitally savvy assistant are www.ConsumerReports.com,www.CostcoAuto.com, www.TrueCar.com,www.AutoTrader.com, www.Edmunts.com, www.Kbb.com, and, last but not least, www.EarlOnCars.com.
  • Your total control over the dealer online is because he understands that his one and only chance to sell you a car is to give you his best out-the-door price online. Be sure to tell your cyber-savvy assistant to keep you anonymous by not revealing your real phone number or email address. She can create a functional email address just for this purpose and use a fictious phone number if necessary. This way, you can contact as many dealers as you like without fear of being hounded salesmen.
  • Arrange your financing online using your credit union or bank. Today, everything can be done digitally including exchange of documents and signatures. In some cases, the new car dealers’ manufacturers offer lower financing rates than your bank or credit union, as low as zero percent. Confirm that this is offered by the manufacturer, not the dealer and conduct that transaction online also.
  • Establish the value of your trade-in online also.www.Carvana.com, www.WeBuyAnyCar.com, andwww.CarMax.com are three good sources for getting bids on your current used car. You can also shop your car with the dealers of your same make used car departments. A Honda dealer used car manager will usually pay more for a used Honda than a Chevrolet dealer.

I hope this works for you and I wish you the best of luck. If you can’t find a “cyber-savvy” digital assistant, I’m always available for advice. I’m one of the few baby boomers who’s cyber-savvy, thanks largely to a scientific education and a lifetime fascination with science.

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