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.