TOURBUS: Thursday, November 19, 1996
DRIVER: Bob Rankin
Car Buying on the Web

   |     "Why | Surf When / You Can | Ride The | Bus?"    /    |  \
   |__________|__________/__________|__________|________ /     |   \
  /                                                     /______|----\
 |   Get FOUR FREE CD-Roms! Find out how by visiting    |//////|    |
 |        |//////|    |
 |                                                      |//////|    |
    \___/  \___/  T h e   I n t e r n e t   T o u r B u s  \___/

Auto accidents are no fun.  And shopping for a new car isn't much
better.  But using the Web to shop for a new car can make the
experience much easier, and gives you information even the slickest
sales staff can't refute.

Today's TOURBUS posting is full of car buying tips from netizen Anne
Desautels, who recently bought a new VW and saved a bundle using the
Web.  And speaking of savings, be sure to check out the magazine deals
from today's sponsor before we drive off...

  Then get the Fall & Holiday TOURBUS HOT SHEET from Magazine Express.
 The magazine deals are white-hot, with many under $12 per year.  Plus,
    Dr. Bob's "Internet Goodies" is still FREE.  Send e-mail now to:
+--------------------- ( 

Step One:  Do Your Homework

If you don't already know what car to buy, check out web sites like
Edmunds Auto Guides, to research items like
safety, resale value, recalls and service incidents, cost of
ownership, cost of insurance, performance, driving pleasure, etc.

The data is often surprising and may point out new options you weren't
aware of.  Plus, advance look at what the total financial impact will
be (insurance, service, resale value, etc.) can help make your choice
easier.  Another great web site for similar background research is
Kelley's Blue Book,

Step Two: Check the Dealer and Manufacturer Web Sites

I started with the VW web site, - since I'm
hooked on VWs, but the same '' nomenclature typically works
for other companies and pubs.  Other sites for new and used cars
include CARveat Emptor at, The
Auto Buyers's Connection,, AutoWeb
Interactive at, 
AutoSite at

My favorite and the one I used successfully, is Auto-By-Tel at Almost 
every site includes car photos, and
some sport links to insurance agencies, local dealerships, travel
agencies (go figure) and AAA.

Step Three:  Pull and Print Data

Most of the web sites show both the invoice and retail prices.  I
noted that the prices for my Jetta shown on Edmunds, and Kelley's,
were a couple of hundred dollars off - because of the popularity of
the GLX and the scarce number of available cars.

The same sites also hold info that factors into the pricing equation,
such as rebates, incentives, luxury taxes, destination charges,
advertising charges and other items that may or may not be negotiable.
You also see what every accessory costs, what comes standard, etc.
Holding a printout that lists the invoice and retail cost, along with
the cost for every available feature makes it much harder to be
railroaded by a salesperson.

Step Three and a Half: Using Auto-By-Tel

If you opt for the Auto-By-Tel route, you'll fill in a web form which
goes to the datacenter server, and an actual car request (specific
make, model, color of interior and exterior, accessories, and price
range.) The Auto-By-Tel service checks the dealers in the service group
for your car at the best price.  You'll then either receive a call or
email, depending on your choice of contact, typically within a few

Step Four:  The Negotiations Begin

Some of the best tips I learned from talking to over 25 dealers in
search of my GLX include:

  * Call first - ask for the sales manager or largest volume
    salesperson.  These folks are typically less hungry and more
    willing to work with you while respecting your web research.

  * Tell the sales rep you're paying cash.  That you have a price
    in mind, have gotten prices from other dealerships, and want to
    see what this dealership is willing to do for you, using the
    dealer invoice price as base, of course.

  * Once you get a price, ask for the quote to be faxed to you.
    Whether you have a fax or not, this will be a clear indication of
    the honesty and integrity of the offer if the dealer is willing
    to fax a quote.

  * If you can't get someone to fax a price, get the person's name,
    and their bosses name.  Make a specific appointment to meet.

  * If you have time, call you bank or credit union and get a cashier's
    check for the amount of either the AutoByTel quote, or the amount
    you're willing to spend.  If you have cash in hand, no dealer is
    likely to let you walk.

  * Once you're there, state the price you have in mind, show your
    check - wave it around a bit, even - and then sit tight while the
    usual baloney washes over you.  With a printout of the invoice and
    the car's retail value, plus a check in hand, you'll invariably get
    your deal.  But if you don't like the way you're being treated, get
    up and walk out.  You won't get very far, and you'll have the upper
    hand in the negotiation.

That's it!  You should be able to get a new car using the web with much
less hassle than a person heading into the showroom without the right
info.  Try it, it worked for me. - Anne Desautels (

+---------------  The Best of the Web in one Place!  ------------------+
  Looking for a place to shop for the Holidays?  Web Warehouse is it.
  We offer high-end selections of quality items for the cybershoper.
 Your main Web resource for Music CDs, computers,books,travel and more.
 Visit today - enter PrizeLINK's Sweepstakes to Win a COOL $1 Million!
+---------------------( )----------------------+

Hey, if you win that Million, I want a cut.  I'm still driving a Ford
that's about ready to enter its second decade!  :-)    --Bob

, viruses, hoaxes, urban legends, search engines, cookies, cool sites
TOURBUS Site Search