Tag Archives: TrueCar

Car Buying Experience 2.0

A couple of weeks ago my car was slammed from back. The car was totalled by the insurance company.

I had several options of buying used or new cars. I finally decided to buy a new car. This was 4th new vehicle that I was buying and had experience with various car sales people and their negotiation techniques.

The last new car I bought was in 2007 and a lot has changed since then. Earlier, a long round of negotiations start once you are sure what car you want to buy. The salesperson will try to convince you that there is no way they can down. He will bring in his manager, play good cop – bad cop and make you spend as much time in the dealership as possible because you are less likely to repeat the same process with any other dealership and buy your car from him.

Fast forward 3 years. Now, you do not need to follow these negotiation processes. There are 2 awesome services that I used to buy my car below the invoice price.

My first encounter with one of these services was while I was reading about Angelgate I somehow landed at Felicis Ventures website and then one of their portfolio companies Carwoo. Carwoo is a website that brings in the negotiation process of buying a new car online and helps you remain anonymous so that you don’t get the pestering sales calls. Currently they have a free basic package and another paid package to get quotes from local car dealers.

I wasn’t confident if this will really work, so chose the free package. I speculated that the “deals” I will get will more like sticker price. Since I wasn’t confident of the results from Carwoo, I was already talking with a dealership to buy the car. The salesman told me there was NO WAY they are going below the MSRP (also known as sticker price) for the 2 week old car (2011 Honda). It had only been 2-3 hours since I posted on Carwoo and did not get any response from any dealer. At the same time I was “negotiating” with the salesperson in the dealership.

I was pretty close to buy the car because I believed that maybe the sticker price is the best deal available. Buying the car wasn’t so urgent, so I postponed it for another day and came back home. Carwoo, still hadn’t sent me any deals. They claimed that generally deals start coming in 2-3 hours. I didn’t have much hope. One of my friends, who is an awesome deal finder mentioned about a website Truecar. I wasn’t aware of the service and checked it out. It shows the actual price that people have paid for the car you are looking for in your area.

It not just shows the best possible deal you can get, also helps you locate the dealers who will match or are very close to that price. The downside (as some may see) of the service is that they forward your information the those dealers. The best price I saw on TrueCar was more than $2,000 less than what I was about to pay a few hours ago. It was too good to believe, but I had an email where it clearly listed 3 dealerships in the area with the exact price they are ready to sell the car for.

Next morning (Sunday) Carwoo proved me wrong. I got 3 deals from nearby dealerships, all way below the sticker price and one of them lower than the invoice price and very close to the best price advertised on TrueCar. I had a lot of good deals in my mailbox, but preferred to buy it from the dealership that spent so much time with me the day before if they matched the price. I called the sales guy and he said that they will match the price if I have a printed quote. When I reached there and showed him the deal I had, he was reluctant and said “this is from a website”. I walked out because I did not want to waste my entire day at the dealership, his boss followed me and in a classic car selling way agreed to the price and we had a deal.

I was happy that I saved a couple grand which I can put into after market accessories for the car. A couple of days after I bought my car, one of the dealerships that sent quote via Carwoo sweetened the deal with yet another discount. A couple hundred less than what I paid. It amazed me how both the websites can help thousands of new car buyers with their negotiation.

Will I use these services again? – Yes, certainly. Will I pay for either of these services – Yes, if spending $100 helps save 2K or more it is a no brainer.