With interest rates on new vehicles the highest the market has seen in a decade according to Edmunds, a leading online resource for automotive information, getting the best price on your next car –whether new or used– is more important than ever. RewardExpert recently sat down with Eugene Park, Edmunds’ chief product officer, to learn more about the resources the company offers to guide car shoppers from research through purchase as well as tips for maximizing your savings.
Making Car Buying Easy Since 1966
Founded in 1966, Park said that Edmunds began as a printed automotive pricing guide for new and used vehicles. “The goal was to help people understand automobile pricing and features, compare the cars they were interested in purchasing, and find the perfect vehicle,” Park continued. “We were the first to put that information online for new cars in 1994. And we became the first mainstream automotive information website in 1995.”
Edmunds’ mission continues in that vein to this day. “We want to make car buying easy, which is not necessarily a small task,” Park noted.
Everything You Need from Research to Purchase
Anyone who has purchased a vehicle in the past knows that doing so isn’t always a simple process. “The car buying journey can be long, with lots of different questions to answer,” Park explained. “We’re trying to cover all the phases from figuring out which cars you might be interested in to understanding their features and comparing their benefits. We offer reviews, rankings, pricing information and lots of specs to help consumers narrow down which car is going to be the right fit for them.”
Once you’ve chosen the make and model you want to buy, Edmunds can help you find one for sale. “We can search inventory at dealerships all across the country,” Park said. “We also publish data to help consumers understand what a good deal for that car will look like. Beyond that, we offer things like calculators and incentives information to help consumers figure out when they’ll get the best deal from the dealer.”
In addition to consumers, Edmunds is used by thousands of car dealerships across the country. “We offer a subscription package where they can post their inventory on our website and we’ll serve as the matchmaker between the dealers and consumers,” Park said. “Our job is bringing people who are looking for cars together with people who are selling those cars. When the consumer comes into the dealership, they’re prepared and ready to purchase. It makes the buying experience a lot easier.”
A Straight-Shooting Approach
Park said anyone in the market for a new or used vehicle can benefit from using the resources they’ll find on the Edmunds website. “We tend to attract shoppers who really want to do research to prepare themselves,” he added. “They’re very interested in understanding how the process works.
Why are they choosing Edmunds over the other automotive websites out there? Park said it’s because of the company’s lengthy history as well as unbiased, straightforward reviews. “We give consumers the straight story,” he explained. “We don’t hold our punches or avoid constructive criticism. We pride ourselves on giving the whole story –both good and bad– about every vehicle.”
This straight-shooting approach extends to the pricing information published on the site. “We have a very large team of statisticians and data scientists who really crunch the numbers and try to figure out what price is a really good deal,” Park continued. “We’re a voice that can be trusted in a marketplace that’s crowded by lots of different voices telling you lots of different things.”
Even More Tools to Come
Park said that in the future, Edmunds users will have the opportunity to buy cars directly through the website without ever needing to set foot in a dealership. “Some dealers even offer delivery of the vehicle to the consumer’s home,” he added. “We’re creating tools like this to make the whole process simpler and are piloting it in the Southern California region right now. By the end of the year, we hope to have a significant amount of penetration into major metros around the country.”
Save More with These Tips
We asked the folks at Edmunds for a few tips to help RewardExpert readers save more money on any automobile purchase they plan to make this year. Here are a few of their best:
- Consider certified pre-owned vehicles. Interest rates are high right now, and certified pre-owned vehicles can offer subsidized loan rates, which will help you save money.
- Compare used and new prices. Don’t automatically assume a used car will be cheaper than a new one. According to the experts at Edmunds, incentives and discounts can sometimes bring the price on a new car down to less than one that is one- to two-years old.
- Factor in the cost of repairs. If you have a tight budget and are planning to spend around $5,000 on a used car, consider looking for one that is $4,000 and saving the extra $1,000 for any necessary repairs.
- Consider different brands. While the team at Edmunds say that Honda and Toyota are great, they noted that there are other brands of excellent quality that may cost less.