Auto sales account for approximately 20% of all retail sales in the United States. This equates to almost $1.3 billion spent on new and used vehicles and parts each year.
Maybe you weren’t among the 17 million Americans who purchased a new or used car last year. However, you’re ready for a new vehicle now.
Does that mean you’ll need to drive all over town—or further—to explore a dealer’s vehicle stock?
Actually, it doesn’t. You can check the vehicles in stock at various dealers online. Read on to learn how.
Finding Vehicle Stock Online
Driven by the pandemic, e-commerce grew an exponential 40% between 2019 and 2020. However, the benefits of online shopping extend beyond health and safety.
Shopping online is more convenient, saving time and gas money. It also lets consumers explore a greater variety of products. Finally, online shopping makes it easier to compare prices and options on those products.
So how can you enjoy the benefits of online shopping when looking for a new or used car?
1. Check Dealer Websites
Dealers’ websites often provide detailed information about the vehicles they have in stock.
Most, like this company, even allow consumers to search their inventory. Simply enter the year, make, and model you want. In seconds, the database will search 100s of vehicles in stock to find those that match your specifications.
2. Don’t Limit Yourself to Local Dealerships
Exploring the inventory of dealers outside your area makes it more likely that you’ll find a car to match your needs.
Doing so strategically can also save you money.
Consider this: Certain vehicles tend to be in greater demand in certain areas. Greater demand, in turn, translates to higher prices.
In big cities, hybrid and compact cars tend to be more popular than full-size trucks. In rural areas, the reverse is often true.
Take advantage of these patterns by looking for your dream vehicle at dealerships where it might not be getting much attention.
By searching online, you just might find a hybrid at a rural dealership or a full-size truck at an urban dealership. If you do, you might also have found quite a deal.
3. Communicate with Dealers
Most dealers let you chat with a representative right on their websites. You can also reach the dealership via phone or email.
Consumers ready to purchase or lease vehicles in stock should use these tools to request information.
Knowing a car’s title, registration, accident, and repair history is essential. If a dealer won’t provide these reports, request the VIN number. Then order an AutoCheck or Carfax report.
You can also negotiate online. Discussing financing, trade-ins, and other factors virtually can be more comfortable and effective than doing so in person.
Finally, communicating with the dealer can help if you’ve searched a dealer’s inventory and can’t find a match.
A car matching your specifications might be in the next shipment. Or the dealer might trade stock with another dealer to get the car you want.
4. Go for a Test Drive
Before agreeing to purchase a car you’ve found online, it’s crucial to see the car in person and take it for a spin.
With used cars, it’s also wise to seek an assessment by an independent mechanic.
Searching Online for the Vehicles and Information You Need
With the steps above, you can successfully complete an online car purchase or lease.
Searching vehicle stock online is quick and easy. Done strategically, it can also save you money.
Whether you’re looking for a new car or caring for your current one, count on our blog for the advice you need.