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Should you buy a car online?

Should you buy a car online?

With COVID-19 having closed much of the auto industry, including dealerships, now isn’t the best time to be shopping for a new car. It is a great time to research and get pre-approved for a car loan but the purchase itself may have to wait. Or does it?

Is buying a new car online a viable way to go? We buy everything online already. Shoes, music, movies, books, clothes and even groceries. So why not cars?

Many car manufacturers offer their own online retail experience and some third parties have gotten in on the action too. You now have a genuine choice of where to buy a new car online. You can specify make, model, colour, trim and even extras, all through the internet. But is it a good idea?

The case for buying a new car online

If you’re thinking of buying a new car and cannot find a dealership open where you live, it can be very tempting to go online. You can go directly to the manufacturer or use another method. Either way, you could end up with a brand new car, a car loan or finance and everything you need without leaving your home.

Buying a new car online is relatively fast, hassle-free and very convenient. You can do it during lockdown, arrange delivery or wait until you can collect from the dealership. You can check out every option at your leisure and don’t even have to speak to any sales staff.

Buying online is where retail is at now and cars should be no different.

The case against buying a new car online

Have you ever bought a pair of shoes, dress or item of clothing online and had to return it because it wasn’t comfortable? Imagine trying to do that with a car! You spend hours choosing the make, model, trim, colour and adding some extras only to not like the driving experience once it arrives. Then what do you do?

For some, buying a new car is more visceral than ticking options boxes. It’s about the look, smell, feel and experience of sitting and driving in that car. Those are not things you can assess on the internet.

Buying online does not provide the opportunity to try before you buy. Neither does it offer any scope for negotiation or for using leverage or other buying tactics to get money off or some neat extras.

If you need a car loan for the purchase, your options will also be limited to those lenders tied to the manufacturer or retailer rather than the wide pool Car Nation Canada and other dealerships have access to.

Buying online is great for sneakers or t-shirts but not for big ticket items like cars.

We may be biased but we think buying a new or certified used car is one of those things best left to real life. Visit a dealership, check out the stock, sit in the car, feel how it drives and make an informed decision. The internet may be the future for a lot of things but it doesn’t have to be the future of everything!

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