Can you buy a car online?

Recently, two major car manufacturers have launched online shops, enabling car buyers to purchase their motors from the comfort of their own home.

Hyundai launched its new website ‘Click to Buy’ on 6 January, and Peugeot announced its fully comprehensive car-buying portal on 19 January.

While the Hyundai shop only offers five models of car that can be purchased online (the i10, i20, i30, Tucson and Santa Fe), the Peugeot online portal allows you to purchase any of its full range of cars.

Should I buy a car online?

With two carmakers opening online shops to enable customers to buy a car direct from their websites, we expect more manufacturers to follow suit. But what are the benefits of buying a car online, versus visiting the dealer in person?

To find out, we spoke to Peugeot about its recently launched ‘Order Online’ portal.

The French company’s system is fully integrated with all parts of the car-buying journey, meaning every step of the process can be completed from the comfort of your own living room. The site is fully personalised, with individual finance options available.

Peugeot’s aim is to ‘encourage customers to take control of the buying process’, allowing you to build and customise your dream car while seeing your finance options change throughout the process. With each option you add or remove, you can immediately see the impact on your finance choices.

Peugeot’s site won’t be restricted to stock, either; meaning you can choose any configuration you wish, and it will be built for you.

Hyundai’s ‘Click to buy’ site also claims to make buying a car quick, easy, and transparent. The brand claims the whole process can be completed in less than five minutes if you’re paying with cash.

No more waiting for your new car

The goal for online car shops is to make your new car purchase quick, easy, and transparent. Once you’ve done your research and had ‘the moment’ where you decide ‘that’s the car for me’, you no longer have to wait to visit the dealer before you can buy your new car.

With the number of test drives decreasing, more consumers are approaching new cars with the same ‘I want it NOW’ attitude seen in the rest of the retail market.

Should I test drive a new car before I buy?

There are undoubtedly many benefits to test driving a car before you buy, and discussing the nitty-gritty details of a vehicle with a dealer on the forecourt.

But buying online doesn’t mean you can’t still test drive as many cars as you wish before you make your decision.

Clicking to buy from your sofa removes the pressure we’ve all felt from a dealer keen to earn his commission that day. Now, you can test drive a car, go home to think about your decision, and then buy immediately from your laptop or mobile device – no return journey to the dealership required.

No haggling required

Both Peugeot and Hyundai online shops will have cars listed at fixed prices, removing the need for haggling with the dealer.

Buying online will show you the price of your new car with trade-in, cash, and finance options available. But no more to-and-fro haggling with the dealer – what you see is what you get.

Is this a positive step for buyers who want a transparent, easy purchase?

For some car buyers, haggling on price can lead to a seemingly great deal; for others, lacking confidence when confronted with an extroverted dealer, not haggling can make you wonder if you paid over the odds. Having one simple price from the very start could remove this uncertainty over your true deal.

Will there be anyone to help if I have questions?

Peugeot states that its call centre will be available for consumers seven days a week, with one person allocated to you. You’ll be offered a variety of communication platforms to get in touch with your Peugeot representative – be it email, phone, or via social media.

There will also be a phone and email support system available for Hyundai Click to Buy customers.

Will they be a decent substitute for discussing the intricacies of a new car face-to-face with an experienced dealer? Without a test drive, you won’t be able to point at that strange button on the dashboard and ask the dealer what it does.

Parkers advises

We are all connected to the internet 24/7,. so it’s no wonder that the car market is catching up and offering sales online. Buying your new car online will speed up the process, giving visibility to all your finance options, and remove the pressure of commission-driven dealers.

But there’s still a lot of worth in meeting your new car in person – finding out how it drives, whether it’s comfortable, and whether it suits your lifestyle. This physical presence simply cannot be replicated online.

Our advice would be to continue test driving new cars in person, then leaning on online portals to buy your car if you’re not happy making that big decision on the spot.

This article originally appeared on Parkers.

Can you buy a car online?

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