It’s Getting Harder to Shop For a Car Online. Is This the Fix?

June 24, 2022

The new and used car markets have seen it all in the first few years of this decade. 2020 kicked off with a few months of normalcy before the bottom fell out. Car sales plummeted by 15% before pulling the quickest turnaround in automotive history. In 2022, simply finding the car you want can be a tall order, not to mention getting it at MSRP. But the way we buy cars has changed too. A third of car sales are now completed online, and the recent popularity of direct-to-consumer sales is showing that shoppers are tired of the dreaded dealership runaround.

My own recent car buying experience taught me a lot about how in today’s market, knowledge certainly is power. Although it’s still a seller’s market, that doesn’t mean you can’t drive away a winner with your next auto purchase. These are the game-changing solutions that are bringing consumer empowerment to the car buying experience in 2022. 

Honest Pricing Is Hard to Come By Online

I’ve experienced the annoyance of online dealership pricing firsthand. Earlier this year, I was in the market for a car. After narrowing down my search to a few models, I began the tedious process of contacting dealerships to get the ‘real’ pricing. I was quickly discouraged, but refused to give up. Dealers would advertise a car at MSRP, but upon making contact, the true price became difficult to tease out. Some salespeople would let me know on the phone that there was a $2,000 to $10,000 ‘market adjustment’, which of course wasn’t reflected in the online pricing. Others would only spill the beans once I specifically asked about ‘additional dealer markups’. However, the madness didn’t end there. 

F-150 Lightning markups
The all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning is in the news for outrageous dealer markups. See the F-150 on CarEdge Car Search.

Buying a car, whether new or used, too often feels like an obstacle course in this day and age. Asking your salesperson about dealer markups doesn’t cut it nine times out of ten. I quickly learned that it was just as important to inquire about dealer add-ons. Shopping for the all-electric Hyundai IONIQ 5, I found more than a few dealers in my region claiming to sell ‘at MSRP’, but with up to $2,500 in dealer add-ons such as pinstripes, ceramic coating, nitrogen-inflated tires and door guards. After a dozen phone calls ending in disappointment, I was left wondering if I should just go buy a Tesla to avoid the haggling and money games. Or maybe I’d wait it out for Ford’s supposed Model-e no-haggle pricing. Still, I pushed on.

Crowdsourced Dealer Reviews Changed the Game

car dealership reviews
See crowdsourced car dealer reviews or leave your own at CarEdge Car Dealer Reviews

Fortunately, I did end up finding the car I wanted at true MSRP at Hyundai 112 in New York. The power of crowdsourced reviews at CarEdge’s Car Dealer Reviews made it a whole lot easier to sift through thousands of auto dealers to find honest, pro-consumer car dealerships in America. Nearly 2,000 dealerships have been reviewed, with more added every day. So even if the dealership went out of their way to seem honest, I could see what real customers had to say. Why didn’t this exist before?! 

Out-the-Door Pricing Reflects the REAL Cost of Buying a Car

When shopping for a car, the price you see is usually not the price you pay. The number you should really be looking for is the out-the-door price. With this in mind, CarEdge created the perfect car search engine for car shoppers looking for transparent pricing. CarEdge Car Search features the Out-the-Door Price to give you a better idea of how much a car really costs. It takes the dealer’s advertised price and adds in estimated taxes and fees. Finally, consumers get an accurate picture of what to expect in the finance office

out the door car pricing

A $2,500 difference between the advertised price and Out-the-Door Price is not uncommon. Taxes, doc fees and registration fees vary widely from state to state. When buying in states with a high sales tax, the difference can be substantial for a car with a big price tag.

Research Saves You Money

Use Price History and Days On Market to Your Advantage

During a vehicle’s lifetime, there can be sharp changes in its market value. Knowing the price history is key to effective negotiating. If a car has seen repeated price drops or has been sitting on the market for a long time, your buying power is much greater than if it was fresh on the lot. CarEdge Car Search includes detailed new and used price history for every vehicle on the market. 

car listings price history
Price history data as displayed on CarEdge Car Search

This 2019 Honda Ridgeline has been on the market for months, and has seen a significant price drop. Time to negotiate!

Vehicle Supply Data: It’s What Dealers Don’t Want You to See

Vehicle supply data is yet another number you can use to your advantage when negotiating on a new or used vehicle. For instance, if there’s an abundance of Nissan Rogue’s in your region, you know the dealer better not be playing ‘limited inventory’ games with you. 

car listings vehicle supply
Vehicle supply data as displayed on CarEdge Car Search

On the other hand, if there are only 15 Hyundai IONIQ 5’s around (as was the situation in my case), you know that you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle. All in all, you’re a better informed and more prepared car buyer with the behind-the-scenes research that CarEdge Car Search provides with every auto listing. 

See Extended Warranty Quotes Before You Buy

CarEdge now offers a Tesla extended warranty, the first of its kind!

Past auto maintenance troubles giving you anxiety? Now you can get a free, no-hassle instant quote for an extended warranty while searching for your next car online. Since the start of the pandemic, Americans have been spending 124% more money on auto repairs. That’s a startling figure that would surely be lower if more drivers opted for an extended warranty with top-tier coverage and transparent pricing. 

Get a free quote for CarEdge’s Extended Warranty for ANY vehicle before OR after you buy!

Buying a Car Is TOUGH in 2022, But These New Tools Empower YOU, the Consumer

Whether you’re thinking about buying new or used, the latest new car inventory and used car sales statistics point towards a rough second-half of 2022. Fortunately, this new car buying toolkit from CarEdge puts power back in the hands of the people.

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