Online and offline: ways to find a cheap new car

When buying a new car, there is still no getting around the dealership for most customers. However, the cheapest prices are available on the Internet. What is the best way to combine online and offline?

Online retail is booming and has received a further boost from the Corona crisis. However, when it comes to a new car, customers still trust the local dealer. But the network also plays a major role in this.

How can the two worlds best be combined? According to the current DAT report by Deutsche Automobil Treuhand, only one in ten new cars was sold online in 2020. The Internet therefore continues to play only a subordinate role as a buying platform. On the other hand, it is becoming more and more important when initiating purchases. 87 percent of buyers find out about models, prices and equipment online in advance.

Further discounts only with bonus programs

However, in the opinion of Prof. Ferdinand Dudenhöffer from the CAR Institute, anyone who wants to get the lowest price for their new car cannot ignore online platforms. “As a rule, the local dealer can grant a discount of perhaps eleven or twelve percent, but not much more,” says Dudenhöffer.

“Further discounts are only possible if the car manufacturers also set up bonus programs for dealers, and these are easily recognizable in online platforms,” ​​said the professor. Because the platforms have more leeway to pass on discounts. According to the current CAR Report, the online discount for new cars is currently around 18 percent on average.

At the same time, most online car purchases end up back at the classic car dealerships. “Suppliers such as Carneoo, Carwow, APL or Neuwagen24 are pure intermediaries. Here, the customer ultimately concludes a sales contract with a resident dealer,” says Thomas K. Hamann. He is a management consultant specializing in automotive and mobility issues. The classic car dealerships would use this additional distribution channel to boost their sales. Anyone looking for the car of their dreams on the Internet will come across many providers who advertise with attractive prices.

Commissions should make you wonder

But not every cheap offer is recommendable. One point in which reputable offers differ from dubious ones are agency fees. “If an online new car broker demands a commission payment, you should stay away from it, that’s unusual,” says Hamann. Although the agent receives a commission for the sale, this is a matter between the online agent and the dealer. The car buyer has nothing to do with it.

Good prices can also be achieved at local retailers, true to the motto: Get information online, buy offline. “When you have found your dream car online at an attractive price, you can negotiate it with the car salesman on site,” says Dudenhöffer.

Exchange bonuses and winter bikes

Anyone who changes brand when buying a new car can also speculate on a higher discount. “Some car brands offer so-called conquest premiums for their dealers if they succeed in winning over a customer from the competition,” says Hamann. In an open conversation with the seller, this additional discount can be shared, for example, so that the buyer and seller benefit from it. Once the end of the flagpole is reached with the pure price, you may be able to negotiate in kind such as winter bikes.

more on the subject

Even at the end of the quarter, a little more could possibly be obtained if dealers have to sell predetermined quantities per quarter, according to Dudenhöffer. With so-called daily registrations of dealers with only a few kilometers on the speedometer, discounts of 20 percent and more can be realized.

The fact that the vast majority of new car customers still buy from local dealers is apparently also due to the literal “experiences” on site. At least the DAT report found that the test drive is very important to many. Anyone who has done this usually also buys from this dealer. In any case, 93 percent then signed the sales contract there.