While enthusiasts of classic cars and bargain-hunters alike have been buying cars online for quite some time now, it wasn’t until fairly recently that this trend extended to the wider automotive industry.
Due in part to both advancements in technology and a sudden need to stay home to curb the spread of Covid, major manufacturers have invested millions into making the process of purchasing a car online a simple, straightforward and confidence-inspiring task. Australian consumers stand to benefit from the new avenues for online purchases, considering the long distances that lead to wasted time and reducing the overall stress of buying a new car in the most convenient way possible.
There are, however, some key steps to note in the process of buying a car online, so with that in mind, let’s dive into how you can best prepare yourself for your online purchase, and talk about both the advantages and disadvantages of buying a car online.
How to Buy a Car Online Here in Australia
We’ve covered all the necessary steps you should take in order to make an informed decision on your next vehicle while buying online in a previous article. A brief summary of the major points covered in that article include the need to:
Conduct research, read reviews and comparisons
These reviews should be sourced from an independent publication with no direct ties to manufacturers, so you know you’re getting unbiased and professional information directly from those in the know. OnlineAuto’s comprehensive list of car reviews is a great place to kickstart your research phase, with reviews from professional automotive journalists designed to step past the marketing jargon and identify how each car meets the fit-for-purpose for Australian buyers.
When you’ve found your perfect vehicle, it’s time to compare financing options. The best way to identify the most suitable finance options for your needs involves looking at the interest rates, loan terms, minimum repayments, fees and insurance requirements for the purchase price you’re looking at.
Test drives and inspections
The process of buying a new car, even via an online portal, isn’t complete without a thorough visual inspection and test drive of the vehicle. We encourage readers to take the longest possible test drive to get a clear picture of how the car feels as it drives, as well as any problem areas like blind-spots or a lack of space in the rear cabin for your family.
If you’re at the point that you’re ready to buy, it’s time to sharpen your negotiating tools. Keep in mind that each vehicle has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) that gives you an idea of the recommended possible price for that vehicle. Your aim is to get below this, or at least secure some added features, accessories or extended ownership coverage if you’re paying more than you initially expected.
What are the Advantages of Buying a Car Online?
One of the major advantages of buying a new car online is the convenience of the process overall, when compared to the typical back-and-forth process of buying from a dealership. It’s a simple truth that when we’re stressed, we often fail to make the most logical and informed decisions, so eliminating this stress can help you make a better decision when looking for your next vehicle.
Bypassing the traditional method of sitting around in a car dealership for hours and hours gives buyers more flexibility throughout the transaction, and with the new tools available for buyers, the process is able to fit in perfectly with your lifestyle. You can now, for example, start looking for your next vehicle while you’re relaxing on the couch at home, or continue your research phase while you’re at the gym while avoiding getting caught up in the excitement and stress of the process that often leads to bad decisions.
It’s also worth noting that one of the biggest advantages of buying a car online is that you can now avoid the uncomfortable conversations and sales pressure while negotiating on price that you might otherwise experience in the dealership. In this environment, buyers often feel pressured to the point that they will make sacrifices on price and features.
With an online purchase, though, the buyer is given the power to make their own decision on their own terms, empowering them and making the process as a whole more enjoyable than a stressful or uncomfortable decision on the dealer’s home turf. It also helps in avoiding any rushed decisions, and with high stakes, this is always a comforting thing for buyers. This also extends to the financing of a vehicle purchased through a dealership. Typically, dealers go through the same car financing options with a single lender, which often fails to provide buyers with the best possible finance options for their new car.
Finally, perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of buying a car online for bargain-hunters is just how effectively and quickly you’re able to compare prices on hundreds of different vehicles. Compared to the experience of physically sitting at a dealership, this allows buyers to get a clear view of the overall market, and gives them information and confidence when it comes to the negotiation phase.
Easily-accessible price comparisons
Avoiding uncomfortable conversations
Lack of sales pressure from a dealership
Enables more competitive financing options
Eliminates time-consuming and frustrating negotiations
Convenient test drives and final deliveries to your workplace or home
What are the Drawbacks of Buying a Car Online?
While buying a car online has a significant number of advantages over the traditional method of purchasing a car, there are a number of things you should be aware of before jumping head-first into the online purchasing pool. The first consideration of buying a car online is that the process can, at times, take longer than purchasing a vehicle directly from a dealership. For a number of buyers, this is actually a positive aspect, because the process isn’t rushed, allowing them to make an informed decision on their own terms. For those looking to get into a new car as soon as possible, though, buying a car online can add steps that take time.
It’s also important to consider the fact that, at times, you won’t know exactly who the seller is, and you’re relying on their honesty up until the visual inspection and the test drive. Remember, however, that you’re under no obligation to purchase that vehicle, so if there is any physical damage or paint defects that weren’t shown in photos, you can walk away from that particular vehicle and continue your search.
More time consuming
Uncertainty of the vendor’s honesty
Some damage might not appear in photographs listed online
Test drive availability often dictated by sellers
Need help narrowing down your choices?
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