How to select the best car dealer and feel good about your choice

We all need a car to get to work. Many of us use their car for recreational purposes as well. Sooner or later we need to buy a new car. But where? Which is the best Ford dealerships in my neighborhood? How do I find the best new car dealer?

Maybe the answer to these questions is not even a car dealer in your local area. With the advent of the Internet and digital car buying, the dealership could be located many miles away from your home.

In the past, car dealers had all the advantages in their corner. They held the cards. Car buyers had to rely on friends, family and word of mouth to get prices for the cars in which they were interested. The information was spotty and not very reliable. Many car dealers took advantage of the situation. Eventually, this practice gave them and all car dealers a less than stellar reputation.

The situation has changed.
The Internet has changed this game completely. A potential car buyer now has access to thousands of web pages with car related information. Prices, main complaints, the reputation of cars and dealers, repair and recall records are all available with a few mouse clicks.

Take advantage of the free information on the Net and elsewhere before you step into a dealership.

Ask before you buy.

Before approaching a local car dealer that sells the make and model you are looking for, you should take most or all of the following steps:

• Decide which make or models are your top choices
• Find the local dealerships in your area that sell them
• Check the reputation of the dealerships on the Internet
• Check consumer reviews of these dealerships
• Check with customer satisfaction and sales satisfaction indexes (CSI and SSI) from J.D. Powers or similar services.
• Contact the local BBB regarding the reputation of a local dealership
• Check prices of the makes and models you are interested in on digital car dealer sites on the Net

Armed with this information, you can confidently step into a local showroom and start talking car purchase. The days where a salesperson could flabbergast you with sales talk and sell an overpriced car are gone. Use the knowledge you gained digitally against the fast-talking salesperson. Let sales people fight each other instead of talking you into a bad deal.

Most importantly, never forget to secure independent financing for your car before you start talking to a dealer. This gives you another position of strength and weakens the leverage a car dealer could gain over you.

New trends in the automobile industry are changing what car buyers can expect in the future

New trends in the automobile industrySignificant changes are going on under the calm surface of the automobile industry. The calm is deceiving. The automobile industry is undergoing major changes to the appearance of our cars, to products used for propulsion, to the ever widening use of electronics in our vehicles and, last but not least, the way cars are being sold to the consumer with bench warrants.

These trends in the automobile industry are not all new. Many of them have been underway for years. They happened and are still happening mainly unnoticed by the public and by some industry forces as well.

Several factors are driving the trends in the automobile industry, such as:
• Regulations affecting gas consumption
• Regulations to reduce harmful emissions
• Increased use of electronics in the operation and control of cars
• Increasing consumer demand for more and better entertainment features by consumers
• Consumers changing buying behavior.

On first sight, it would appear that mandatory compliance with stricter pollution control and gas consumption standards in the United States and in other countries worldwide spurns the most significant changes. But that is not necessarily so. True, new and stricter regulations for automobiles make cars more expensive to produce. Stricter requirements for combustion engines most often mean costlier production methods.

However, some of the other trends affecting the car industry have much more severe and long-lasting implications for car manufacturers than regulatory requirements.

Changing consumer behavior
One of the most important among these is the change in consumer demands. As the driver of a car, you certainly noticed that more and more cars, it is difficult to differentiate a Mercedes from a Lexus in traffic or from afar. With the differentiation between cars waning, consumers are increasingly shedding their preferences for cars from their favorite manufacturer. Just like looking for the best deals, they use purchase price, repair statistics and electronic equipment to determine which make and model to purchase. Buyer loyalty is on its way out when it comes to automobiles.

These days makes of cars meet very high-quality standards of manufacture. Domestic cars caught up with foreign makes, even exceeding them.

Electronic equipment in automobiles, especially modern entertainment, and Internet connectivity, is the other major factor in the ever-changing trends in the automobile industry. Car buyers of today expect their new car to have the latest and best electronic equipment standard without having to pay an exorbitant extra price.

Car manufacturers must meet this ever changing consumer behavior to stay in business for the long run.