Tim is our awesome CarWoo! ops (operations engineer) guy who recently bought a new car through CarWoo! In CarWoo! tradition, we interviewed him to get his full review of his car buying experience.
First things first – what kind of car did you buy, and what dealership did you end up getting it from?
I got a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X MR in Rally Red.
How did you decide on that model? Did you search for multiple makes or models on CarWoo! before making your decision?
Looks and performance were big factors in my decision. The market for performance cars has slimmed down quite a bit in the past few years, so I was actually looking at used cars too. Ultimately, I settled on the Evo because it just simply wowed me during my test drive — something no other car did.
How much research did you do on the Evo before signing up? And what kinds of research (websites? test drives?)?
I test drove the loaner Evo we had when Tommy was car shopping, but I wasn’t actually in the market for a car then so I didn’t really check out the Evo in detail. My only real research was on http://www.evoxforums.com to check if there were any major issues with the car, but with the Evo being in its 3rd year of manufacturing, I didn’t find anything significant.
The online aspect of car shopping is really what draws me to CarWoo. Maybe it’s because I’m an engineer, but I find making purchases so much easier when all you need to do is type a few words and click a few buttons. Living in San Francisco, there’s no Targets or Wal-Marts around for me to purchase common household goods. I don’t know what I would do without other online marketplaces like Amazon. Or CarWoo!
Do you think the car configuration process had the right amount of specificity to target what you were looking for?
My Evo is the MR trim, which is a step up from the base GSR, so it came pretty well equipped. All I wanted was the premium package, so I just let the dealers know that in the comment box.
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 started my CarWoo deal before I went on my lunch break (shhh don’t tell my boss that it was on company time!) and by the time I got back I already had two offers. I purposely signed up with a fake name and alternate e-mail address as to not tie me as a CarWoo employee. It was only until I was filling out my finance forms that I had to give away that I worked at CarWoo, but by this time the all the fine details (including the final price and my trade-in offer) were already settled.
What did your first offers look like? How did they compare to MSRP?
The Evo isn’t produced in large quantities, and there was a supply shortage at the time due to the earthquake in Japan, so almost all I my offers came in at exactly MSRP. Considering dealers were asking $3k+ markups in-store, MSRP was actually a discount!
How long did you wait to respond to your first offers? What kinds of questions did you ask?
I responded as soon as I saw the e-mails about my offers (once again, I think I was supposed to be programming, so don’t tell anyone…) Dealers were very clear about the limited availability of the car, especially the difficulty in allocating my exact color (many Evos are grey or white) and package. I let dealers know I was willing to wait for a special order, and though intent on purchasing a car, was not in a hurry.
How many offers did you get altogether? When did the last offer roll in?
I believe six offers were made from 5 different dealers, all within 48 hours.
Did you find some dealers to be better at engagement than others, or was it pretty much the same across the board?
All were prompt to respond.
How did you decide on the offer you chose?
Concord Mitsubishi already had an inbound vehicle matching my exact requirements, and they accepted my counter-offer which was under MSRP, so it was a no-brainer.
What did it feel like to click that “I want to buy this car” button?
“Crap, I just bought a new car!” It was almost too easy — I was kinda hoping in the back of my mind that I would get dissuaded from buying a new car and saving a few dollars =).
Describe your experience at the dealership. How did it compare with car buying experiences you had in the past?
It was definitely convenient having dealers come together online to give you their best pricing, rather than having to drive around town shopping around. I’m not the best negotiator in the world, but I still managed to snag a great deal on a hard-to-find car.
What was the feeling when you drove your new car off the lot for the first time?
What advice would you give to new CarWoo! users?
If you’re not in a hurry to buy your car, ask the dealer if they’re able to order one just for you. Some may want a deposit, but that’s not always the case, especially if it’s an in-demand car.
Are there any parts of the product that you’d go back and re-think now that you’ve been on the buyer side?
After accepting, I wasn’t allowed to reply back to the dealer via the dashboard — apprently because I was expected to call/e-mail the dealer to set up a time for me to come by. This threw me off a bit since we had been chatting back and forth exclusively online. I found out that Chris (my dealer)’s only complaint about CarWoo was this “feature,” so we ended up allowing messaging to continue after the deal has been accepted.