Officially launched this week, Car-ED, a free tool for people looking to buy a car, uses a proprietary algorithm that works with a lifestyle-based questionnaire, designed to tease out behavioral patterns and identify a short list of cars that best connect with the shopper.
"After decades working for automobile manufacturers, we decided there had to be a better way for people who don't spend all day thinking about cars to find a simple list of vehicles that best connect to their behaviors," Kevin Joostema, Car-ED co-founder said. "Our goal is to offer a fun, easy service to anyone asking the question that comes up so often in our line of work: 'What car should I buy?'."
After completing the quick and easy 11 questions, users get a short list of recommended vehicles that might appeal to them. They can use this list to begin their research process, with the list providing links directly to the manufacturers' web sites.
"The cool part is that the system might know you better than you know yourself," Car-ED co-founder Andres Valbuena said. "If you keep an open mind about makes and models, you may be surprised at how close the suggestions match to you."
Car-ED is designed to be a trustworthy source of information for people who are looking for unbiased advice rather than guidance based on sales lead-generation goals.
"Car shopping sites assume that everyone starts by knowing basic information about what kind of car is right for them, but we think the conversation should start one step sooner," Joostema said. "There are too many new options for people to keep up with, so they usually gravitate to what they know." Valbuena added, "But the truth is, the right car for you might come from a company you've never considered before. We want to help make you aware of the alternatives."
As a company built around the idea of helping people, Car-ED offers something unusual: Every year, through a program called Car-ED Community, the company plans to give away a small number of cars to people in need based on nominations.