(ARA) - It is amazing what can be done on the Internet these days-meeting people, watching and listening to live concerts, stock trading, and more. There has recently been a large increase in online shopping, from CDs to boats-if you want it, you can buy it on the Internet.|
But cars? Cars are high-ticket items that consumers plan on buying for months ahead of time. Shopping for them requires research, financial planning and attention to details...so actually, the Internet is an ideal place for car shopping! There are hundreds of web sites that cater to the prospective car buyer. Some are locally based, specialize in used cars or classic cars, or are sponsored by a manufacturer and highlights their car models. The following are overviews of some of the more general car consumer web sites, available 24 hours a day, at your fingertips:
This site caters to the used car buyer and allows for you to search for the model and location of the available vehicles. It will help you to find dealers as well as private owners in your area that are selling the car you want. Also included on the site is information about comparing cars, financing and insurance.
Site Highlight: An excellent source of used car tips and information. There is advice on test-driving pre-owned vehicles and buying/selling, among other topics.
New and pre-owned cars are found at this site. A search for the car of your choice can be done by location and for anyone visiting the site from Canada, Sweden or the United Kingdom, you too can find a car dealer near you. Autobytel.com also offers more information on safety, buying vs. leasing and many other topics.
Site Highlight: The Loan & Lease Calculator, located under "What Kind of Car Can You Afford" will let you choose the make, model and year you want, how much you are willing to put down and how much you want to spend in total. Then it will tell you the lease length or financing period options available and what the monthly payments will be.
An all-encompassing corporation site, autoweb.com allows for you to research autoweb.com stock while you look for a new or used car. A spotlight vehicle and a search for a car by make and location are some of the characteristics of this site. A publicly owned company, investors will find all their necessary information here such as FAQs and financial press releases. Jobs with autoweb.com and other corporate information are also available options.
Site Highlight: Atlanta residents are the lucky hosts of autoweb.com's pilot program for scheduling car service appointments online (other areas are coming soon). Confirmed appointments and reminders 24 hours prior to the appointment are given via e-mail and there is an opportunity for users to comment on the service received.
If you want general information and articles about buying or leasing a car, this is the site for you. This is the best place to go first when deliberating which car to buy or if you are a first time buyer. There is a make/model search available, but the news, tips and information stand out as some of the most informative and all inclusive in the auto web site industry.
Site Highlight: The Personal Auto Page. This is a free and private way to post an online notice about your car for sale. The characteristics of your car are listed on the page and interested buyers can contact you via e-mail.
For anyone who is sure of what car they want but are not sure of how they are going to pay for it, this is the place to go. There are new and used vehicles, reviews, and a consumer search that allows for you to name your price. You can even refine the search by keyword-choose a color or audio system that you are looking for.
Site Highlight: The interactive car. You can take a tour of a car's insides such as the braking, engine, exhaust, heating and steering systems. Diagrams of the systems simulate movement (i.e. the brakes "brake") and show each part of the systems.
For serious car buyers only, this site allows for the viewer to choose the make, model and location of the car they wish to buy. A list of statistics is given for the chosen vehicle as well as price information. A list of standard features is available as well as the opportunity, for a $250 deposit fee, to hold the car for you to purchase it at a dealership near you.
Site Highlight: You can compare cars to one another at the same time (up to 2 in addition to the original one you looked at). Thus, if you are stuck between two cars, you can compare price and features without having to go back and forth or even print anything out.
A photo-filled site that lets you research by make, model and use your zip code to find a nearby dealership with the vehicle of choice.
Site Highlights: The first neat thing on this web site is that it will figure out the trade-in value of your current vehicle by make, model, year, options and financial situation. The second great thing about AutoNationDirect is that you can create a personal notebook on the site of the research you did at one visit so that you can come back to it later. This is especially good if you are searching on your lunch break or at the library and you can't be online for hours at a time.
If you do decide to shop around online for your next car, you will most likely find that most sites offer similar features and information. The best thing to do would be to look at 3 or 4 different sites for the same information and compare your findings. Buying a car is a big deal, and now there is a chance to do personal, hassle-free research online without being sold anything or being pushed into something you don't want. Take advantage of the hundreds of automobile sites available, and happy shopping!
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