2 tools by Edmunds and Kelly Blue Book help buyers make better new car deals with less pain
Kelly Blue Book (KBB) and Edmunds have long been excellent resources for those buying new or used cars, or trying to determine a fair market value for their car as a trade in, or as a private party sale. Now both KBB and Edmunds are working harder to be a part of the new car buying experience and both offer new and innovative tools for the consumer.
Seth Berkowitz, President and COO of Edmunds.com has been trying to lead Edmunds through an expansion of its business. By expanding beyond just a database of new and used car prices and values, Edmunds could become more of a consistent companion to car owners. Berkowitz explained the basic idea saying, "We've asked ourselves why we can't make the following promises to our customers: That by belonging to Edmunds.com — much like being an Amazon Prime customer, by analogy — you will have a substantially easier time at the dealership; you will spend less time at the dealership and much more time in the comfort of your home; you will get what you want, from the salesperson you want, in a manner you can trust." These are all excellent goals that would benefit the buyer.
One sided business aids are so 1990. Berkowitz knows this and knows too that without buy-in form participating dealerships the program is likely to fail. Calling the program Price Promise, Edmunds is able to create partnerships with dealers. In addition to customers getting more of the searching done at home and being able to see more detailed inventory information, dealers are getting faster closes on sales and also a 15% better sale closure rate than through participation in other types of promotions.
The way it works is shoppers that participate in the Edmunds program search participating dealers inventory to find a model they might like to buy. They can then download a “Price promise” certificate. This will lock in a price for the buyer to take to the dealership, and thus avoid half of the stress of new car buying. Edmunds makes no mention of how the trade-in negotiations are made easier. It is not uncommon for customers to find a good deal on a new car, but then see their trade in’s value be lower than expected. For those without a trade, this program seems very worthwhile.
KBB is also helping customers with their new car shopping in a new and innovative way. KBB’s website can now calculate a fair price range on a new car based on recent, local transaction data that is updated weekly. Using three color codes KBB can indicate to a shopper what the price range of given inventory at a dealer is considered a bargain. For example, a car that is below market value is coded white. That would be an exceptionally good value and may indicate an overstock situation, or the car could be an outgoing model priced to sell quickly. Next is the green zone which is a vehicle priced fairly based on what others are paying. Red is a zone that indicates a poor value and should be carefully considered by shoppers.
One interesting twist on the KBB program is that it also provides shoppers with some real life information on the dealership they might buy from. Not all dealers offer the same amenities such as loaner cars and free car washes. The KBB site offers information on what makes the dealer special compared to other dealers in the shoppers range, and also reviews from customers. In the real world the relationship with one’s dealer does not end at the time of the sale. Even those who used local shops in the past will now almost always be returning for free covered maintenance and recall repairs. The KBB program helps buyers know what their car ownership experience might be like as it relates to the dealership it will be working with for years to come.
There have never been more tools available to new car buyers than there are today. That these tools can include trusted names like KBB and Edmunds is a real benefit to car shoppers.
Photo courtesy of Ferrari media site