MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When it comes to buying a new car, many people have looked online. But now getting a new set of wheels could be more high-tech than ever.
Car buying, leasing and even comparing can be done on the go. Everything from financing apps and pop up shops that feature digital dealerships are available to make the car dealership visit all worth it.
Julie Dunn spent a lot of time in her car running errands. She said while she was parked and waited for her kids, she used to car shop.
“I have been using my iPad and my smartphone and I’ve found two or three apps that I use,” said Dunn.
Dunn prefers to use Cars.com and Autotrader.com.
“I plug in my search, the kind of car I’m looking for and if something comes up in that area, it’ll send me an alert,” said Dunn.
Scotty Reiss of SheBuysCars.com said technology has put more power in the palm of the buyer’s hand.
“Every car maker, every manufacturer, every seller is making it easier for consumers to find them digitally,” said Reiss.
Shopping apps like Dunn used are a good place to start, but experts said that consumers should check out other apps. Evaluative apps can tell a buyer what they should expect to pay for a specific car, consumer advocate apps to check the vehicle’s history or a dealer’s reputation and finally, car payment calculator apps to look into financing.
Convenience is the key to the new high-tech trend.
“In the past, customers were spending up to 6 hours searching for and trying to buy automobiles at the dealership,” said George Athan.
Athan oversees sales for a large auto group and hopes technology will continue to drive down buyer’s time at the dealer, even to as low as one hour. Things like digital dealerships, where buyers can build a car on the spot, could help speed things along in the future.
“They can set up showrooms pretty much anywhere, whether it’s at the mall, or a music festival, or a local town fair,” said Athan.
Audi has digital showrooms in London and Shanghai and other companies have planned similar projects. Athan believes these high-tech trends will continue to gain traction, with things like iPads on showroom floors.
“It’s just exciting times. It’s changing at light speed,” said Athan. “The buyer is much different, better informed.”
Experts said that with all the advancement, buyers still have settle the price the old fashioned way.
“These apps are not going to negotiate for you the magic deal on your dream car that costs you nothing. You still have to do the negotiating in person,” said Athan.
Dunn, who used technology for most of her research, agreed.
“I would definitely have to go to the lot and see it before I agreed to anything,” said Dunn.
Some deals are even handled via text message. SwapALease.com, the digital marketplace where you can find people to take over an unwanted car lease, reported that up to 25 percent of its transactions involve texts.