Posted October 31, 2007 8:22 am by with 9 comments

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Now there is almost nothing left that you can’t buy entirely online. Autonation is the first to offer this service for buying a car completely over the internet. They are piloting a program that lets customers buy their car online in the Atlanta market with 14 dealerships.

Starting out, you enter your ZIP code, then using drop-down menus you can select a specific vehicle make and model and other features of the car. That includes choosing the color and packages. If you have a trade-in you can also use the used vehicle calculator to get a price for your car. When you and the dealer agree on a price, that figure is subtracted from the purchase price of your new car.

I don’t know how easy it will be to negotiate price or how that part works. However, most of us don’t look forward to that part of buying a car in real life. Maybe they should partner with Priceline.

The site has other tools to help you get monthly payments or credit. Once you’re approved for the amount or a downpayment you can choose to have your car delivered to you or you can pick it up at the dealership. You’ll sign the final papers then. You’ll also get your own customer service rep that you can communicate with by phone or email.
If all goes well the service will be rolled out nationwide. No word on the timeframe for either.

  • Maybe in the USA, but here in the UK I bought my previous family car completely over the Internet back in 2001. Specced online, paid for online, I didn’t actually see it until it was delivered, and never spoke to anyone on the phone at all. All done over the web. I used JamJar (don’t know if they are still going) and saved around £3k / $6k.

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  • I wonder if there’s a drop-down for what you’d like the salesperson to do next:

    a. Write their “best” offer number down on the sales paper
    b. Go speak to an imaginary manager for 10 mins
    c. Tell you “I have another couple interested in this one, might not be here tomorrow”.


  • Vince

    CarsDirect has been selling new cars online for years! This is nothing new.

  • I am not usually one to drop a link, but this company ( ) has been selling automobiles nationwide for quite some time.

    I pursued a position with the company over a year ago and they had been selling cars online then for almost a year.

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  • AutoNation’s service differs from CarsDirect in that it is the dealer selling direct to consumers.

    However, they are neither first nor even second to do this nor is what they are doing really direct selling as humans are involved via email and phone calls.

    My company, has been selling a service to dealers which enables a true, complete, online, self-service to consumers. Price, credit, interest rates, rebates, trade in, accessories, accurate monthly payments. It is all there and involves no sales staff from the dealership beyond checking over what the consumer did + arranging for delivery.

    Lithia began a buy direct program at its L2 used car superstore concept at the end of August 2007.

    Are dealers getting serious about the Internet? Yes.

    Is their model maturing beyond leads/inquiries into buy direct / shoppin cart based ecommerce? Yes.

    Is AutoNation first? Not by a long stretch. Nor is what they are piloting really very close to what Michael Dell or Jeff Bezos would call “Buy Direct.” It is more like “efficent inquire direct.”

    But check out the service. Compare it to what my company offers to car dealers and form your own opinion.

  • This is a great site! Easy to navigate and I can find the car that I want. Would recommend it to my friends too. Thanks!

  • Great Post. Thank you. Still not ready to buy a car online.