Buying a Car Online vs.  a Dealership: Which is better?

Posted by Michael McInerney on Jan 3, 2018 12:09:25 PM
Michael McInerney

If you’re in the market for a new car, you have two options: buy online or at the dealership.

Like most people, you’ve probably already spent time researching your options through the car dealership and manufacturers’ websites, comparison shopping sites or other automotive sites. According to a report by Accenture, 36 percent of people research online, narrow down their choices to one or two cars and then visit the car dealership.

Although the dealership can be a place to learn more about specials, warranty and service and you might like the face-to-face contact to negotiate the best deal, when you buy a car online you’ll get everything you need and more without the hassle. 

Here are some factors to consider.

Your Time

Between the time it takes to research your options, compare prices, take a trip—or several trips—to the dealership for a test drive, to ask questions, negotiate a deal and handle all the financing and paperwork, it could take several days, weeks, even months to get the car you want and the best deal.

Buying a car online however, can be done on your own time and in a matter of minutes. You’ll never have to wait for the salesperson to check if the car you want is in stock because you can see all the available inventory with one click.

You won’t be forced to sit and wait in the dealership while the car salesperson is in the back office speaking to the manager, only to bring back a less than stellar deal. When you a buy a car online, you can select the car you want without feeling pressured, handle all the financing without the dealership trying to tack on extras, and even have the car delivered to you for free.

Your Money

When you a visit a dealership, the salesperson is motivated by price and price alone so he’ll get the highest commission possible. He’ll try to up-sell you on luxury packages, a service contract and an additional warranty.

When you buy a car online however, it’s a level playing field and you’re guaranteed to get the fairest deal possible. The car dealerships are focused on selling the highest volume, not getting the most profit on an individual car so you can rest assured the quote you get is a fair deal.

Your Privacy


Whether you buy a car in person at the dealership or simply send an online inquiry, you’ll be inundated with emails and calls from salespeople. When you buy through an online car buying service that doesn’t send sales leads to other dealerships, your information is kept private and never given to the dealership or sold to third parties before the final sale. 

Your Stress Level


No matter how prepared you might be, the thought of dealing with salespeople alone can make you feel stressed out before you even step foot into the dealership. In fact, according to one survey, 52 percent of people looking to buy a car feel anxious or uncomfortable at dealerships, while 56 percent of millennials would rather clean their house than negotiate.

Instead of dealing with pushy salespeople and run the risk of making spur-of-the-moment decisions that you’ll regret, purchasing a new car online allows you to think clearly, evaluate your choices carefully and make the best decision without any outside pressures.  

Ready to start your no-pressure search? 

Find My New Car  

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