Buying a car on the Internet – How to find the biggest discounts

The Internet makes it possible: If you are looking for a new car, you can not only configure your dream car online, but now even buy it there straight away.

Buying a car on the Internet – How to find the biggest discounts

The Internet makes it possible: If you are looking for a new car, you can not only configure your dream car online, but now even buy it there straight away.

"Some portals only offer new cars, others new and used cars," says Alexander Schnaars from ADAC. "Others, on the other hand, display the prices of various car dealerships on the Internet and then pass them on to interested parties accordingly."

Examples of new car portals include the websites “carwow.de”, “meinauto.de” and “neuwagen24.de”. Mainly or only used cars are offered by “instamotion.com” or “autohero.com”, among others.

In addition, car manufacturers such as Mercedes also offer pure online purchases. According to Thomas K. Hamann, online sales are fueled by the upswing in e-cars: "Especially among brands for electric vehicles, a trend towards direct sales is discernible." Examples of this are Polestar and Tesla.

According to Hamann, buying online has its advantages for customers: "You don't have to go to several car dealerships, you don't have to go through opening hours and you can easily compare different models and equipment variants on the computer."

In addition, a 14-day right of withdrawal applies to online purchases, while there is no statutory right of return or exchange for classic on-site purchases as soon as the contract has been concluded.

However, the right of withdrawal for online purchases also has limitations: Anyone who configures their new car individually cannot insist on being able to reverse the transaction.

The 14-day period is therefore mainly applicable to existing vehicles, restricts Hamann. However, special features apply here, such as the duties of the dealer when he sells to consumers. Among other things, the right of withdrawal can be significantly extended if the online retailer does not meet its information obligations.

If the retailer has not instructed the buyer correctly or not at all about the right of withdrawal, the right of withdrawal is extended by a further 12 months beyond the usual two-week period, says Schnaars.

In principle, the contract must be revoked in writing to the dealer. It is not enough to simply return the car.

Purchasing from the mains also has its disadvantages. A test drive, for example, is not possible, at least not directly with the dealer concerned. "The customer has to do something like test drives at a stationary dealer beforehand and get an overall impression of the desired vehicle there," says Markus Bach from the "Auto Zeitung".

But online buyers usually know what they are looking for. The step into the Internet to sales portals usually only takes place when the decision for a specific model has already been made, according to Bach.

However, interested parties should find out more about the site in question beforehand, because there are also many black sheep on the anonymous Internet. "A reputable company informs its customers clearly and understandably about its identity, the purchased item and the processing of the contract," says ADAC man Schnaars.

It may be helpful to take a look at the commercial register in advance. A comprehensive imprint with availability and contact persons as well as general terms and conditions are also part of the standard of a reputable website. After the online purchase, the offer and order should also be printed out and all mail traffic should be kept.

According to Schnaars, sellers who demand high down payments are suspicious. Important to know: "Contracts concluded online are also legally binding," says Schnaars. Interested parties should therefore also be careful with spontaneous statements such as "I'll buy the car" from online providers.

The website of the Safe Car Buying Initiative on the Internet, which includes the ADAC, Mobile.de, Autoscout24 and the police, offers a good overview of possible scams on the Internet.

In terms of price, buying a network can be worthwhile. "But that also depends on whether it's a platform like Carwow, which involves several dealers, or whether the car is bought online directly from the manufacturer or dealer," says Hamann.

Various dealers offer their models on intermediary platforms such as Carwow. Interested parties can then compare and confront their local stationary dealers with the offers.

"These online platforms are basically comparison portals like we know them for gas, electricity or insurance," says Markus Bach. For customers, this means more transparency in prices. Because many car buyers do not even know that discounts of 20 percent and more are common.

"An online query can often be limited to a specific region, so that the customer can then see the offers from various dealers in his area with just one click," says Bach.

If, on the other hand, the new car is bought online directly from a manufacturer, this usually does not result in lower prices, according to Hamann: "The negotiation options are then also very small." The manufacturers would also ensure that the online prices are always the same.

Due to the lack of competition between dealers, no price drop can be observed for brands like Tesla. "The price level is stabilized and kept high," says Thomas Hamann.

According to the experts, car manufacturers who rely exclusively on online sales usually have a hard time. “Brands like Polestar rely on a mix. The Volvo service network is still behind it there,” says Bach.

Some manufacturers from China like Lynk

Anyone who has found a good price when searching online and would like to buy online should first check carefully whether there are any additional costs.

"An initially attractive price can ultimately turn out to be a tempting offer, to which there are also fees such as high transfer costs et cetera that are not apparent at first glance," says Alexander Schnaars.

When buying a new car online, the following applies: Always get detailed information and take a thorough look. But then there could also be a good offer.

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