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Car buying is 11 per cent cheaper online

22-2-2008

But consumers still prefer to buy from a car dealer
Internet car sales brokers are undercutting dealers on price but many buyers are using them to research prices before visiting showrooms, according to a study by the Which? consumer magazine.

It researched prices of fifteen new cars online and at dealerships, and although every dealer bar Mini retailers were prepared to offer discounts, Which? found it could still save an average 11 per cent online. 

Online: Average savings came to 11 per cent 
One Audi dealer was prepared to sell an Audi A6 2.0 TDI listed at £28,550 for £26,605 but online an identical car was found for £25,771. 

Internet research
A Ford Mondeo 1.8TDCI Zetec 5-door listed at £18,195 was offered at a dealership for £16,395, but was available on the internet at £14,449, representing a £3,746 reduction.

However, a Toyota Auris 1.6VVTi T3 five door retailing for £14,095 was offered by one dealer for £12,695, beating the best online figure of £12,980.

Despite the savings, the magazine surveyed 2,095 of its members and half the respondents were unwilling to buy a car online. 

Some 42 per cent would consider it but only 6 per cent had actually done so. 

The study found that the internet was often used to research prices and specifications before buyers approached ‘a reputable named dealer’ to make a purchase.

Dealers slammed

“We found that shopping around online is simpler than negotiating with dealers yourself, and, in most cases, we obtained a better price,” said Which? Car supplement editor Richard Headland.

The organisation slammed some dealer sales staff tactics, claiming one had refused to give his best price until the researcher had signed an order that prevented him taking the quotation to another dealer. 

Others didn’t factor discounts into the price of optional extras, or added options when not requested to do so. 

In six cases requested price quotations were not sent.

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