Buying a Car? New Services Let You Skip Negotiations

By DriverSide

CarWoo bid comparison
Bid comparison chart

Once upon a time, it was common practice to walk into a dealership blind, not knowing much about a car except that so-and-so down the street just bought one and he likes it. You’d ask for the price, and that’s the price you paid.

CarWoo screenshot
Real screenshoot of offers

The Internet may have changed many things with regard to the good old car hunt, but the car buying process has been essentially the same for years now. Yes, you may walk through the door with an arsenal of information – and you can even submit dealer queries online, but you’ll still have to fight tooth and nail in hours of negotiations to get the price you expect to pay for a car.

Websites like DriverSide are overflowing with specific information about new cars, aiding you in whittling down the choices based on your preferences, while other sites will find you great deals on cars in your area. However, there are far fewer resources out there to help with negotiations, a gap that CarWoo hopes to fill.

How It Works
CarWoo’s service is actually quite simple, you sign up, choose the type of car you’d like to purchase and then sit back and watch as dealers in your area send you bids within 24-48 hours through the CarWoo interface. The site also lets you include a trade-in vehicle and customize everything from paint color to audio options so you get the car you really want.

Another benefit to a more hands-off approach is the anonymity it provides. From the early days of the Internet until now, lead submissions were the only way to utilize the web to buy a car – enter your contact information and desired vehicle and wait as you are bombarded with offers, phone calls and follow-up phone calls.

Without having to reveal any information about yourself, sales people don’t have the means to hassle you while you’re deciding on a purchase. You’ll only be put in touch with a dealer after you’ve decided on a price. Then it's as easy as printing out a purchase agreement and heading to the dealership to pick up your car.

Your commitment to a service like this shows dealers – all 5,000 of those who are currently part of CarWoo’s network – that you’re serious about purchasing a car, and competing to undercut the competition makes sense when a dealer is certain of a sale. Surprisingly, CarWoo doesn’t make a dime from dealers, so they can stay unbiased and pass the savings on to you.

A Leg Up From The Competition
Traditionally, brokerage services or even concierge-type businesses have provided car buying assistance. They negotiate the purchase and shop dealerships for the best trade-in value and most enticing price. The only downfall is that they generally charge a few hundred dollars – a worthy price if you’re truly saving in the end, but a fee that’s hard to rationalize.

That’s where CarWoo begins to separate itself from the competition. There are only two pricing levels for CarWoo’s services, based on the number of dealers that can participate in the bidding. Opt for the Basic plan ($39) to see competition from two dealers or the Plus plan ($79) for three to five, and get a full refund (really!) if you’re not happy. In most cases, choosing the plan that nets you more competition seems like a sensible option.

Real Savings
CarWoo boasts an average consumer savings of $3,763 off the sticker price, but their crowning achievement is $16,205 saved on one lucky buyer’s vehicle. These are big savings, especially when considering the total sign-up cost.

For all its innovation, CarWoo, and other sites similar to it, doesn’t completely eradicate the necessity of physically stepping foot in a dealership, and agreeing to a price beforehand means you delay or even skip the test drive, but it does eliminate most of the negative associations with car buying, making it a win for savvy consumers and dealers alike.

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