Not that long ago, researching new cars meant traveling from dealership to dealership, test driving a variety of vehicles and enduring countless “What’s it gonna take for me to get you in this car today?” questions. Thankfully, times have changed.
Now your computer is the essential tool in the car-buying process. According to the 2013 Automotive Social Media and Reputation Trend Study, 43% of car buyers said they would use a social media site like Facebook to find a local dealership, and 59% would trust a review they got from a Facebook friend much more readily than a review from somewhere else. In addition, one in four car shoppers said that online vehicle reviews are helpful when deciding where to purchase a vehicle, and a whopping 81% reported they sought review scores to help them make their purchasing decision. If you’re in the market for a new (or new-to-you) vehicle, why not start your search on Facebook? We have some tips to get you started.
How to Use Facebook as a Car-Shopping Tool
Start by posting on your own page. Ask a question like, “I’m in the market for a new car. I have two kids, three dogs and a husband—what would you recommend?” and then sit back and see what your friends suggest.
You can use Facebook to research various dealerships, too. For example, once you determine which dealers and car lots might have the types of vehicles you are interested in, look them all up on Facebook. If you find their pages, spend some time reading them; it can be a great way to find out about inventory and deals that might not be included on the company’s regular website. A great example of this is DriveTime’s Facebook page, which posts specials and other helpful information.
You can also post questions about specific places on your home page to see what experiences—both good and bad—your friends and relatives have had. For example, asking “Has anyone ever bought a car from Wacky Wheels in Walla Walla?” will probably get you all sorts of helpful feedback. Knowing ahead of time how a dealership operates will be very useful once you go there in person to test drive your desired car.
Other Online Research Tools
Other websites also offer fantastic and helpful information. For example, Consumer Reports has an outstanding section of its site devoted to helping people research new cars. In addition to offering in-depth and unbiased reviews of cars and how they handle on the road, the site includes handy features like a comparison tool that enables you to see how different cars perform and are rated compared to each other. For example, just select three minivans, and the site will clearly display their most important ratings, test results and more. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the whole process, a handy Car Buying Guide includes helpful and reassuring advice.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!