Throughout the past few months, Tommy has been asking our fans and followers and readers what kind of new car he should buy after his old Honda was totalled. He FINALLY completed his purchase on CarWoo!, and now we have the 411 on his experience.
First things first – what kind of car did you buy?
I ended up buying a 2011 Camaro 1SS in Silver Metallic.
How did you decide on that model? Did you search for multiple makes or models on CarWoo! before making your decision?
This was a long process for me. I’ve purchased more cars than I can remember (I’m somewhat of an expert consumer given the number of cars I’ve purchased new). This time I was determined to do it differently. I’m also the CEO of a company that helps people buy cars, so I knew should definitely listen to our fans/customers and take their opinions into consideration. We asked people on Facebook what cars I should consider. The only requirement I had was the car had to have some power AND it had to fit my family in the car. I have three kids, so three extra seats were a requirement. Obviously I didn’t buy a car with three seat belts in the back… more on that later.
Here’s the story. My wife and I went down to a Chevrolet dealership to test drive a Traverse. If you haven’t driven or seen a Traverse, it’s really a mini-van in an SUV’s body. We happen to already have a minivan, but thought this might be a good opportunity to get an upgrade. When we got to the dealership and my wife saw the Traverse, she basically said it was pretty much exactly the same as her mini-van and it didn’t make sense to spend $50,000 on a mini-van without sliding doors. Then, she saw a Camaro and said… hey, that car is cool. I also happened to have my kids with me and they freaked out because the Camaro on the lot was yellow, almost exactly like Bumblebee on Transformers. So we all sat in the car and my wife said. “If you have to get a car without three seatbelts in the back, get this one.” She opened the door and I didn’t look back.
I took my time after our trip to the dealership and looked around a ton trying to find other alternatives that would fit our needs. I took a hard look at the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo and while the car met most of our needs, it’s considerably more expensive than the Camaro.
I finally made my decision after renting a Camaro for three days. I highly recommend people rent the car they are going to buy before they purchase. You have zero pressure from a sales person and can make your decision based on your own judgment and not based on the marketing and salesmanship that will happen on a test drive with a sales person.
How much research did you do on the Camaro before signing up? And what kinds of research (websites? test drives?)?
I spent countless hours on the Chevrolet website. They have a fantastic set of information about all their cars and their dealership inventory search is one of the best in the business.
Before you signed up for CarWoo!, what feature or aspect of the product were you most excited about?
I think I’m biased, but here’s my take. We built CarWoo! because engaging with many dealerships is a hassle if you’re to do it on your own. The last time I bought a car (before starting CarWoo!) I spent over a month going back and forth with dealers and it was what gave me the idea to start CarWoo! So I was most excited about finally getting to use the product that I’ve spent almost three years of my life pouring my heart and effort into. I used every feature to its fullest and I loved it.
How long did you wait before your first offers came rolling in? Do you think you got any ‘special treatment’ because the dealers knew you were a CarWoo! employee?
I received offers within minutes of signing up. One of the greatest features about CarWoo! is that you remain anonymous and dealers had no idea who I was until after I had agreed to the deal and was actually at the dealership filling out paperwork.
What did your first offers look like? How did they compare to MSRP?
My first offers were all very competitive; they ranged from a few hundred dollars off MSRP to a few thousand. I got a wide range of vehicles to choose from and all of the dealers were extremely responsive.
How long did you wait to respond to your first offers? What kinds of questions did you ask? What kinds of questions would you recommend that other CarWoo! users ask?
I was on top of the offers as they came in. It’s actually pretty exciting seeing the offers roll in one after the other. I kept refreshing my CarWoo! dashboard impatiently, but that’s part of the fun of it. Instead of having the process be dreadful, we’ve managed to make it exciting. I actually had a pretty big adrenaline rush from the whole experience.
I asked questions of the dealers about vehicle options and other colors they had. A few of the dealers then made offers on different cars they had on their lot. My biggest piece of advice to any CarWoo! customer is to have fun with it, have meaningful conversations with the dealers on the other end and you’ll end up with a great deal and an experience unlike any other you’ve had buying a car.
Did you find some dealers to be better at engagement than others, or was it pretty much the same across the board?
Some dealers were better than others… The dealer I bought my car from (Tim Boone from Boardwalk Chevrolet) was by far the best at engaging me. He answered my questions quickly, provided a real competitive first offer and immediately responded to my one and only counter-offer. The other dealers were very good as well.
How did you decide on the offer you chose?
At the end of the day though it came down to how awesome Tim Boone from Boardwalk Chevrolet was at responding to my request. He paid attention to my preferences, he made a competitive offer and when I had questions he answered them almost immediately. I made one counter-offer on CarWoo!, Tim countered back slightly above my counter and the price was good, so I took it. I ended up paying $31,300 for the car, which was competitive with the other dealers and more competitive than any pricing available online.
How long did it take for your Customer Happiness Rep to get back to you with assurance that the deal was a go?
I received word from one of our CHR’s within minutes of agreeing to the deal with Boardwalk Chevrolet.
Describe your experience at the dealership. How did it compare with car buying experiences you had in the past?
The best part about the experience was I didn’t have a single conversation about how much I was going to pay for the car when I got to the dealership. And, since I had already communicated with Tim on CarWoo! I already knew what he was going to be like when I got to his store. I was in and out of the dealership in under an hour. Woo!
What was the feeling when you drove your new car off the lot for the first time?
This is my favorite part of buying a new car. There is a sense of freedom that comes over you. The Camaro SS is a powerhouse and an amazing car to drive. The only bad part about driving off the lot is you know you can’t really open up the vehicle until it gets past its break-in period. So I had to gingerly drive the car around for a few hundred miles before I really got to see what she could do.
What advice would you give to new CarWoo! users?
Have fun with it. You are about to make a large purchase and you want to make sure you make the right decision. If you have a question or if something is unclear, reach out to the dealer, or to the CarWoo! customer happiness team. When the right deal shows up for you, you’ll know it and the decision will be easy.
Any other comments?
I know our fans on Facebook are going to give me a hard time… I didn’t buy a car that any of them suggested. Such is the car buying process, it’s such a personal decision, but I want to thank everyone for their wonderful suggestions. I learned about so many different cars by listening to what our fans had to say.
Another piece of advice for all the husbands out there car shopping. Getting a car that’s good for “date night” is a good way to get a car you want without upsetting the family balance, especially if you already have a family car. Call it the CarWoo! tip of the day. Now I need to take my wife on a date in the Camaro… Any of our Facebook fans have a suggestion?