Buying a Car Online: Is it possible?

We live in a fascinating economy where we can do so much online. Artificial Intelligence has infiltrated almost every area of our lives and the economy. But one thing that has – strangely – not yet taken off, is buying cars online from dealerships. There are many reasons why we’d want to be able to do that:

  • It helps us choose exactly what we want, even if the dealer doesn’t have that in stock. Dealers tend to stock cars based on history of colors, trims, models and equipment packages that sell fast and are reordered fast. Since websites are virtual, dealers don’t have to sit on dead stock. 
  • Many of us don’t want to deal with pushy sales-people. We don’t like to be pushed into a deal that we can’t afford, or to spend more money than we had budgeted.
  • Online shopping is fast, efficient, and clinical.

However, for those very reasons, some people prefer the opposite. They want to be able to touch and feel cars; they want to ask a dealer lots of questions, and they want to haggle on the price. And, believe it or not, many people are not yet comfortable shopping online. Let alone buying a car online.

Of course, if you visit a dealership and they don’t have the exact car you want, they could order it for you, source it from another dealership, or offer you something similar from their existing stock. 

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Technology is not quite ready to deal with the legal implications and processes of buying a car online. Just think about the tome of papers you had to sign the last time you bought a car at a dealership… Also, the law across the 50 states prohibits manufacturers with franchised dealers to compete with their dealers by selling to consumers directly or through company-owned stores.

Interestingly, Tesla Motors offers a completely online process, whereby you can initiate the process of buying a car online. However, you still have to visit the dealership to close the purchase. 

Of course, it is possible to buy a car online directly from a private seller. There are certain risks, as there’s typically no warranty and there’s the safety risk of meeting with strangers and trusting them to complete the process through to car shipping, if the car is in another state far away. 

Ultimately, if you want a safe, secure and professional experience, it’s best to visit a dealership rather than to buy a car online. If your nearest dealer does not stock your dream car, you can always visit a dealer in another state or city and request that they add car shipping to the order. That way, you don’t have to drive the car back home.

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