Web offers motorists better new car dealsYou can save thousands buying online

21 February 2008

buying a car online

Online car brokers help you find deals

Motorists can make substantial savings when buying a new car online, Which? reveals today.

Through a simple search of internet car brokers, we saved an average of 11% on the list prices of 15 popular new cars.

This included £2,994 off the list price of an upmarket Mercedes C-class and £2,550 off a Renault Clio 1.5 supermini.

The biggest saving was a massive £3,746 on a Ford Mondeo 1.8.

Dealerships

Which? found it was possible to save 7% on list prices when buying the same 15 cars in person at dealerships.

But researchers found the going tough, and the sales staff often unprofessional or inefficient.

Dealers' sales tactics also left much to be desired.

One salesman told researchers he would not give his best price until they sat down to sign an order so that they couldn't take the quotation to another dealer.

Online brokers

Such problems are avoided with an online broker whose job is simply to find the best price.

But a Which? survey found that 50% of our members were currently unwilling to buy a car online – with just 6% saying they'd bought a car this way.

Which? Motoring Editor Richard Headland said: ‘We found that shopping around online is simpler than negotiating with dealers yourself and, in most cases, we obtained a better price.

‘You can save hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds by shopping this way.

‘Buying through a broker also means you don't have to haggle with pushy salesmen. But if you choose to buy from a main dealer, an internet quote can give you the upper hand.'

Buying online

Here is our checklist for buying a car online:

  • ensure that the prices offered are up to date
  • make sure the car is to UK specification, is the latest model and carries a decent warranty
  • paying the deposit by credit card offers a further financial guarantee
  • if the broker will take your old car, make sure the trade-in price is fair. Use the Which? Car Buying Guide to check
  • upon delivery, thoroughly inspect the car for damage and make sure it’s as you ordered.