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Friday, May 7, 2010

The CarConnection Makes Car-Shopping Effortless

Shopping for a car is one of those chores that I can not believe anyone ever relishes. The endless visits to dealer after dealer, the endless test drives, the endless hours spent listening to fast-talking car salesmen whose practiced pitches would make you believe that every single vehicle out there was the next quantum advance in automotive technology, quality and value. And no sooner do you drive off the dealer's lot feeling proud about how you did in the bargaining than your friend calls you on your cell phone and tells you about how he got ripped off buying the exact same vehicle you bought for $1000 less than you paid for it!

I seriously think auto sales would go up by quite a bit if they just shut down all the auto dealerships and allowed stores like Walmart to just sell cars at a fair price. You walk in, you pick the car you want based on the features and the price (which is fixed and clearly visible), and you walk out, the proud owner of a new car the you know nobody paid less than you for.

Well, that is not going to happen anytime soon, but there does exist a site that can make your automobile shopping a little easier. That is the CarConnection website. The site is packed with information that makes it essential that you make it your first stop in your car-shopping adventure. In many cases, it could end up being your last stop too.

The site features reviews of all new and used cars by both the editors of the site as well as visitors. Vehicles are rated on various attributes like styling, performance, quality, etc. EAch vehicle is also given a list of things people like about them and a list of things people don't like about them. Even if you are not in the market for a car, it is fun to go through the ratings for cars and read through the reviews, which are well-written and interesting.

To try the site out recently, I read through the reviews of the Jeep Commander and the Volkswagen Tiguan. But the site does not simply stop at reviews (and there is only so much you can do with with reviews, however well-written they are). The site also features a forum, a classifieds section, an insurance purchase portal, and a photo gallery.

But one of the most useful features I found on the site is the pricing section of the site. Here you can put in your zip code and get price quotes from nearby dealers. But in addition to that, you can get what the site calls a "true price" for the vehicle. The site takes actual vehicle sales prices for the particular model and trim level you choose from dealers near you and shows you the pricing information in a graph. Overlaid on the graph are the MSRP, the invoice price, the dealer's cost for the vehicle, the average price people paid for it, and what the site considers good and very good prices for the vehicle.

This is a whole lot of ammunition on your side when you actually do walk into a dealership to negotiate prices for the vehicle of your choice. This is the information dealerships have and use to their advantage against you. Not only have you effectively disarmed them, but you have also armed yourself with an expert's opinion on what price points you should drive the negotiation towards. This will enable you to not only get an excellent price on your next vehicle purchase, but also feel confident about the possibility of someone else getting a lower price than you did!

Just for fun, I did the pricing charts for the Mini Cooper Clubman and the Audi R8. The site is fast and responsive, and allows you to do a lot of research in a short amount of time. This not only enables you to save time and money, but also your sanity and peace of mind! The CarConnection has been made a permanent part of my bookmarks, and there it will stay for the foreseeable future!!

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