We all know that the internet contains a wealth of information on just about any subject you can think of. Along with that information, there is usually some type of online business associated with either selling information related to the topic or products related to the subjet.
Car buying is certainly at the forefront of web sites associated with information, services, and of course products and there are thousands of these sites available to consumers.
The question is can I really purchase a new car completely online ? The answer is no as there are too many areas to be covered that require some type of personal communication.
Also, any of the large sites such as CarDirect.com, Cars.com, Autobytel and others work through a dealership network. Every car sold in the U.S. must be purchased through a dealership by law. That means that if you find a car on CarsDirect.com that you would like to purchase at the price advertised online, you can but you'll still be buying through a dealership in your area.
These sites are more like what could be called middlemen or broker sites. The sites advertise and get placed high in the search settings and the actual private dealerships pay the site so that if a consumer finds a vehicle he likes, he can click on the dealership to be contacted by them. The actual sale then goes through the dealership and the sites get paid from the dealerships to be listed.
While you may get a good deal buying this way, you're more likely to get a better deal either doing the research yourself and contacting multiple dealers or through a non-commissioned auto buying agent such as ProAutoBuying.com.
The buyer's agent is a much more personal relationship and they do not have any allegiances nor do they get paid by the dealership. This means they work and get paid from you and because of their contacts, information, and negotiating skills, they are typically the best way to get the best deal if you don't have the time or willingness to haggle with car salespeople.
So remember, it's a good idea to research the vehicles you're interested in using the internet. When it comes time for the actual negotiation and purchase though, do the work yourself or contact a buyer's agent and you're likely to get a better deal.