Use the Internet, But Use it Wisely – Car Pro Article

We all get those emails that our friends send and are immediately suspicious. For those who regularly visit Snopes.com, you know what I am talking about. Some of the things you see on the Internet are blatantly false, yet thousands if not millions respond to the email saying you have just inherited millions of dollars. However, when it comes to automobiles, people tend to believe everything they read.
I hear from people all the time who won’t look at a particular brand vehicle because they read on a blog they were “bad cars”. The problem is, we do not know who wrote the information. Maybe a salesperson at a local Honda store is bored and decides to post bad things about the Toyota Camry, or perhaps the same bored salesperson decides to write great things about his or her product, the Honda Accord. I know for a fact some dealerships write horrible things about their competition online and somebody out there is going to buy into it. There are complicated ways that you can write false things on a given subject, and then cause those things to pull up first at sites like Google.com.
There was a recent case where a dealership in Mobile, AL wrote some horrible things online about another dealership, which ended up in a long lawsuit and 7.5 million dollars was awarded to the dealership that was victimized. In this case, it was proven that the offending dealership hurt business and ruined the reputation of the dealership that sued. The disturbing things written are off the Internet as part of the settlement, but how much damage was done and how many people really believed the false statements?
Then there are those who try to value their own trade-in by going to Kelley Blue Book, or looking at similar cars on a site like AutoTrader.com. Neither of these plans generally works out very well. The information on these and other sites are often way off, and can be off both high and low, either of which can really foul you up.
All this is not to say there isn’t good automotive information available online. I think Edmunds.com is a terrific website for doing research, but like everything else, you really need to keep in mind that much of what you find is opinion, not fact. Studies suggest most consumers spend five hours researching cars before they go look. I have no problem with this at all, but nothing will ever take the place of actually driving a new car to see how it fits you and your family. That is why most of us do not buy shoes online; we need to try them on first.
Some things never change in the automotive industry. One thing I tell people on the air constantly is to forget what a website says a used car is worth. No matter how new or old, no matter what brand, a car is only worth what someone is willing to write a check for it, and not a single one of these sites will buy your car, so keep that in perspective.
All the years I owned dealerships, I wanted the educated consumer to come in. If you went online to find out what my invoice price was on a car, I thought that was terrific! That eliminated the person that thought there was a $3000 markup in a small car. All we had to do was determine how much profit I made and I was good with that. Those were always the easiest deals I encountered, as long as the information obtained was accurate.
Do your homework on the World Wide Web, but never think it is a substitute for going to a good dealership. There are just too many variables and there is no substitute for that new car smell!

1 Comment
  1. Perry 6 years ago

    Jerry is right! Pick out two or three and go drive them! I used to teach in a motorcycle rider class (15 yrs) and I always enjoyed listening to the students who going to buy ‘this bike’ basically on a spreadsheet listing ‘specs’ they think are important. Same with cars and trucks. A spreadsheet is a tool, not a final decision maker. Let the comments begin!

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