Online Car Shopping

    October 31, 2007

Now there is almost nothing left that you can’t buy entirely online. Autonation is the first to offer this service for buying a car completely over the internet. They are piloting a program that lets customers buy their car online in the Atlanta market with 14 dealerships.

Starting out, you enter your ZIP code, then using drop-down menus you can select a specific vehicle make and model and other features of the car. That includes choosing the color and packages. If you have a trade-in you can also use the used vehicle calculator to get a price for your car. When you and the dealer agree on a price, that figure is subtracted from the purchase price of your new car.

I don’t know how easy it will be to negotiate price or how that part works. However, most of us don’t look forward to that part of buying a car in real life. Maybe they should partner with Priceline.

The site has other tools to help you get monthly payments or credit. Once you’re approved for the amount or a downpayment you can choose to have your car delivered to you or you can pick it up at the dealership. You’ll sign the final papers then. You’ll also get your own customer service rep that you can communicate with by phone or email.

If all goes well the service will be rolled out nationwide. No word on the timeframe for either.