It is undeniable that the car industry is changing. These days, potential shoppers do their own research online before buying; opposed to the now "old fashioned" approach of taking the drive to their local dealership to get the facts straight from the salesmen (who have been known to bend the truth as long as they can add another sale to the board.) This new method of buying a car has been facilitated by numerous websites currently scattered throughout the Internet. Websites like TrueCar, Autotrader, Cars.com, Global Autosports, and Car Gurus all offer the online car shopper knowledge and insight about the vehicle buying process before ever leaving their couch.
TrueCar is an automotive pricing and information website for new and used car buyers. An ideal visitor to TrueCar would be someone has no knowledge of car pricing or experience with buying a car. When you first visit the website, you are prompted to choose the car you are interested in and to enter your zip code. This then pulls up the Factory Invoice price, Average Paid price, MSRP, and "TrueCar Price" for your area. The "TrueCar" price is what TrueCar thinks a fair price to pay for this vehicle is, in your specific area. This is beneficial to the inexperienced car buyer because it gives them hard numbers to go into the dealership with to know if they are getting a fair price or not.
Cars.com and Autotrader are virtually identical websites that make shopping for a car online a reality. Both sites list vehicles for sale from dealerships and private sellers, letting shoppers compare prices on the same vehicle from numerous vendors. Most dealerships advertise their inventory on both platforms. Cars.com and Autotrader also give you the opportunity to trade in your vehicle or list it for sale. Some may argue Craigslist is a more effective way to sell a car, but that is another discussion.
Global Autosports is a unique and useful tool for the exotic or luxury car buyer. It is the only website that "cuts out the junk" leaving you with only "the world's finest cars" to drool over and/or buy. Global Autosports lists vehicles from dealerships and private sellers across the US; they have more private sellers of exotic vehicles than any other website, which is beneficial to the consumer. Usually when dealing with cars of this caliber, it is better to buy direct from the owner (being they have all service records of course) This will help you save thousands over dealer markup prices. This goes the other way as well. Instead of trading in your exotic car to the dealership and getting a lowball offer, Global Autosports is a great place to list your exotic car for sale to get top dollar from qualified buyers who frequent the website.
Car Gurus is a newer website, founded by the same individual who created Trip Advisor. They also have listings from both dealerships and private sellers. Private seller listings are free, which is an added bonus. Car Gurus offers a price analysis tool that makes visible if the car is above or below market value, and by how much. They also offer a Car Finder tool for those unsure of what vehicle to purchase. On each ad you can see how long the car has been listed for sale, giving you insight and knowledge on where you stand with negotiations.
Depending on your individual needs, there is a helpful website out there for you. The Internet has given us the power and tools to make buying a car a smarter and more simplified process.