Consumers would really like to buy their used cars without having to deal with slick salespeople.
Several online car sellers are trying to remove sales lines along with other pain points car buyers face. These virtual used-car sellers not only ditch the dreaded price negotiations and shorten the buying process, but also offer lower average prices than brick-and-mortar dealerships, a recent analysis shows.
While car-buying experts see some potential risks, they say the future of car shopping may be buying online.
The analysis, conducted for NerdWallet by automotive research firm iSeeCars.com, found that the average used car price among virtual sellers was lower than the average listing price at brick-and-mortar dealerships:
That doesn’t mean buying online is always cheaper. At traditional dealerships, prices are usually negotiable, while online prices are often fixed. A skilled negotiator might end up with a better deal by visiting a dealership, but it requires navigating a sales experience that most buyers don’t enjoy.
And while only franchised dealerships sell certified pre-owned cars backed by the manufacturer, virtual dealers’ vehicles are similar in that they’ve had a full mechanical inspection and come with a warranty. Online sellers also offer additional benefits such as a return policy and, in some cases, a test drive at your home.
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