Are you in the market to purchase a new car?
I wanted to share with you my experience using TrueCar a few years ago to purchase my very first brand new car. If you’ve ever purchased a car you may join me in the anxious feeling over haggling on price. And if you read any of my coupon reports or blog posts about the Kohl’s Drive Through you know I’m not one to pay full price for anything!
Has anyone been in this situation? You have finally decided on what new car you want, but now comes the time to either pay sticker price or negotiate a better price. Cue the anxiety! Check out what I did below to save money on your next vehicle.
I didn’t need a new car
It was June 2012 and my current 2003 Black Chevy Impala was nearing the end of her life. She had nearly 100,000 miles and I had already started saving for a new vehicle. I had $4,000 in fact “saved up” for a new vehicle and was already anticipating needing to go shopping in the next year or two.
For Father’s day of that year, I treated my dad to a day at the horse track about 20 miles from our house. We packed up the picnic basket and all got into the car, with my husband behind the wheel.
There were some looming storm clouds in front of us and sure enough we hadn’t been on the road all that long and it started to downpour, torrentially!
The accident – now I need a new car
We were driving in stop-and-go traffic making our way to the track when the person in front of us slammed on their brakes, and my husband slammed on his. Unfortunately, he started hydroplaning due to the water on the roads and crashed into the car in front of us.
An interesting side note to the story is that the car we hit ended up taking off. Meaning, we were in the wrong, we hit them and were fully prepared to pull off to the side of the road and exchange info, etc. and the car just sped off.
We called the police anyway and had a report taken. No ticket was issued due to the other car speeding off which was great news for my husband.
The bad news was that my car’s front end was pretty damaged and likely not worth fixing relative to the value of the car.
I drove my commute for a few weeks in that piled up car. I’m not a car person. Meaning, cars to me are to get me safely and efficiently from point A to point B. I’m not the type that spends hours looking at or researching vehicles I’m never going to buy. So I really felt like I was starting at square one.
Due to my long commute and the fact that I loved my current Chevy, I was pretty sold on a Chevy Malibu but went for a few test drives. I tested both new and used vehicles. Again, I only had $4K to put down and while I intended to spend more than that (Dave Ramsey would be so mad!). I wasn’t sold on the vehicle needing to be new.
Save money on your next vehicle with Truecar
I don’t even remember where I first learned of TrueCar. Likely it was an advertisement on T.V. I got the gist that TrueCar was a website that would basically take the price haggle out of purchasing a vehicle and give you a dollar amount off retail that specific dealerships were willing to give you off their in-stock inventory.
When you go to truecar.com you can search for a make and model of vehicle. The website will show you:
- MRSP on the vehicle
- Market Average: what others in the area have paid for the vehicle
- TruePrice: if you give the website your email you will see what dollar amount off local dealers will give you.
I went to the website, put in my information and saw that TrueCar claimed that multiple dealers in my area had a new, black, 2012 Chevy Malibu with a sunroof available. Not only that but they were offering $5500 off the retail of the car. Seriously? I just had to put my information in, hit submit, and then magically I’ll get a good discount off a car without any haggling? Sounds too good to be true!
TrueCar was as advertised
So off I went and hit submit and sure enough, almost instantaneously I received information from two local dealerships. They had the car I wanted in stock and would be willing to give me $5500 off MSRP.
So we went to the dealership, I printed off the TrueCar info and brought it, and they honored it!
We took to the lot, and walked and walked trying to find the new black Malibu with a sunroof. The salesperson had a hard time finding one. He kept asking “how about this one?” to a car that was red or gray. Nope, not interested, it’s not black. “How about this one?” to a black one with no sunroof. Nope, not interested, there is no sunroof.
Eventually, they had to call a sister dealership a few miles down the road and a brand new 2012 black Malibu with a sunroof was delivered to me and they honored the $5500 off MSRP no questions asked.
Will you always get the best deal with TrueCar?
You may be able to go to the dealership and negotiate even more. That was not my experience. I went to the dealership, tried to negotiate and the offer was less than what the TrueCar offer ended up being. I used TrueCar after I felt I had done a decent job at trying to negotiate on my own. So the answer if you will always get the best deal with TrueCar is, it depends. Some dealerships at some times of the year may give you the best price. Others, if they are looking to hit a quota or blowing out models from the year before, you may be able to get the same deal, or better doing to the dealership directly and negotiating.
Who should use TrueCar
TrueCar is a great option to consider if you sincerely cannot stand negotiating prices on vehicles. If you’re a good negotiator or a person who enjoys it, this is likely not for you. But for you or I, who are intimidated by it, this is a great solution to consider!
I recommend TrueCar
My personal experience with TrueCar was great. I got the car I was looking for at a fair price without the haggle. I truly see no downside if you are in the market for a new car and want to know the amount off retail the dealership is willing to give you without haggling, this is a great way to go.
Recently I saw they started offering discounts off used cars as well. When I purchased my new car in 2012, they only offered discounts off new cars. But if you’re in the market for a used car, this may be the way to go.
I would definitely use TrueCar again for my next vehicle purchase!