I recently received an email with a press release from Edmunds.com announcing a unique travel and paid blogging opportunity for shoppers on the market for a compact car in the next 6 months or so. Having a daughter turning 16 early next year as well as a boyfriend that is due for something new, I found this a perfect opportunity to see the options out there.
Edmunds.com Where to Go Online When Shopping for a Car
Aren’t familiar with Edmunds.com? They are the premier resource for car shopping and automotive information online. The company chose six shoppers to visit it’s headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif. where they experienced Edmunds.com’s innovative corporate culture. They also go to drive and review five of the hottest new compact sedans available on the market. And with all of this were instructed on the best way to go through the car buying process. This unique, fun and informative experience was made to prepare them not only to make a great car purchase themselves, but also to help their friends and family.
“According to our research, nearly 40% of car shoppers want a helping hand through the car buying process, and the Connect & Drive Experience is one way we’re responding to that need,” said Edmunds.com President Seth Berkowitz. “Through this program, as well as our new Price Promise offering and other efforts, Edmunds.com is helping to transform and improve the car-shopping experience.”
Since I had a trips planned for the week before and after Edmunds.com opportunity, I sent Donnie to Santa Monica for his very first trip for Trippin’ with Tara – here is his experience.
I am not a car person. I have never been the kind of guy that goes onto a car lot and looks at cars. Buying a car to me is something that caused me stress. So when Tara mentioned this opportunity to visit Edmunds.com, I was very curious. Now that I have had the opportunity to be part of the Edmunds.com Connect & Drive experience, I am very excited to share all that I learned.
The headquarters is located in Santa Monica, California. I had to fly into LAX, where I was met by a very nice man named Ed, who was my driver to take me to the brand new and very posh, Shore Hotel.
We had a meet and greet dinner at the Blue Plate Taco with some of the Edmunds.com reps. I met the other 5 participants and Liz Gibson, Manager of Marketing Events, who was with us the duration of the experience.
About Edmunds.com, Inc.
Edmunds.com is a car-shopping Web site committed to helping people find the car that meets their every need. Almost 18 million visitors use our research, shopping and buying tools every month to make an easy and informed decision on their next new or used car. Whether you’re at the dealership or on the go, we’re always by your side with our acclaimed Edmunds.com iPhone and iPad apps and our Edmunds.com Android App. Our comprehensive car reviews, shopping tips, photos, videos and feature stories offer a friendly and authentic approach to the automotive world. We’re based in Santa Monica, Calif., but you can connect with us from anywhere by following @Edmunds on Twitter or by becoming a fan of Edmunds.com on Facebook.
Let the Fun Begin
Day 1 – Track Day
Up bright and early, we headed an hour and a half north to Rosamond to visit Willow Springs International Raceway, the location Edmunds.com used for our testing of the cars for this Connect & Drive Experience.
The tests included; acceleration, braking, general driving (interstate driving) and my favorite part, the road course track, where we got to push the cars to their limits. For the last hour of the day, I felt like a race car driver. Of the 4 we tested that day, there are many features of each car that I like more than the other, but of those 4 my favorite was the Toyota Corolla.
Once returning to Santa Monica, we went to dinner at True Food, shared our thoughts of the day and turned in for the night.
Day 2 – Edmunds HQ Day
What you would imagine Google Headquarters to look like, that is how I can describe what Edmunds Headquarters is like. It’s a very relaxed work place to keep the creative juices flowing. Employees can playing ping pong or hang out in the game room (no quarters required). There is no clocking in, there’s no need, their employees love to work there, and it’s easy to see why.
We were brought to the Headquarters to learn the ins and outs of car buying. We spent a good part of the day in a classroom environment where they taught us.
As I stated in the beginning, I knew nothing about car buying. This is why learning what I did while visiting was so significant. Here’s a little of what Edmunds.com. has available, for FREE!
Edmunds.com provides free, unbiased information, on buying, leasing, and selling cars and trucks. They have created many unique car buying tools via their website. My favorite of these tools is their price promise guarantee. The price you see is the price you pay. With the simplicity of the internet, Edmunds.com makes car buying easier and the whole car buying process really a pleasure. Helping you find the car you want, with the price you want to pay, they then help you locate that car in your area. You can either go to the dealership to purchase or there are even options to possibly have it delivered to you. It’s like ordering a juicer on amazon or something. So easy!
The Cost to Own (TCO) – The Big Picture
When you buy a car, it’s an investment. So this tool on their website is nothing short of brilliant. I have always loved Hummers. I thought it would be fun to see if I were to purchase one, what would it cost for me to have it over the years. Wow – I no longer want a Hummer. There are many extra costs/variables in owning a car. This is the True Cost to Own (TCO). These variables include: depreciation, interest on your loan, taxes and fees, insurance premiums, fuel costs, maintenance, and repairs. Search here to view the TCO® of any vehicle.
Some cars are cheap to buy, but expensive to own.
Once you have found the car for you, here are some great tips I came back with on how to test drive a car.
First and foremost, make sure you fit the car and it fits you. Check the seat comfort, leg room, head room (think Shaq in a Mini Coupe), ergonomics and viability. How’s the cargo space? Acceleration? Be sure when test driving, mirror you driving habits – hills, freeways, etc. And turn off the radio so you can hear the wind noise, road noise, and anything that may rattle or hum.
Found the car? Now it’s time to negotiate.
Traditionally, negotiations are stressful and can even be confrontational. Here are some really great tips that Edmuns shared and to me they are truly invaluable.
- Don’t negotiate with anyone that makes you feel uneasy, always be ready to walk out.
- Let them know you will not be controlled.
- Don’t be trapped in a sales office. Taking a walk around shows you are in control.
- Use leverage, and by that, let them know you are shopping around.
- Be prepared. Show them Edmunds.com print outs. By doing your research you are showing your knowledge. Knowledge is power! Especially in situations like purchasing a new vehicle.
- Keep negotiations impersonal and non-confrontational.
So now you have a verbal deal, make sure you know the out-the-door costs.
Ask for your out-the-door cost. Understand all the fees. You will have to pay sales tax, a reasonable doc fee, and motor vehicle fees. Things you don’t have to pay are inflated doc fees, junks costs, junk fees or written-in charges.
By using the resources provided by Edmunds.com, I learned that car buying can be easy. The internet has leveled the playing field, so take advantage of utilizing their site in helping you make your next car or truck purchase. If you have any questions about anything to do with vehicles, they have a live-chat option. I met these folks, and believe me when I say it is their pleasure to help you.
Have you use tried Edmunds.com? I would love to know your experience.
Edmunds.com is social media savvy – follow along.
*Edmunds.com paid for Donnie to do the Connect & Drive Experience. This was an easy thing to share, for it truly was very informative and a positive experience. All opinions are 100% my own.