You can get a large number of free quotes directly from dealerships through online car shopping. These quotes may not necessarily reflect the average market price of the car you are looking for, but they can give you a ballpark idea of what the cost will be.
Online referral services may have agreements with dealers to provide discount selling prices. There is nothing nasty hidden up the dealer's sleeve with this. If you are referred to a dealer and you do buy a car from that dealership, be sure to emphasize the discount. Member dealers benefit by gaining greater visibility from accredited online referral services. A lower price might be possible when hooked up through the Internet.
Tips for online car referral services
Here are a few tips when using online car referral services:
Make sure your email address is filled out properly when applying for free quotes. Do not simply fill in the local part of the address; be sure to fill in the domain. Example: email@example.com. Joeschmoe is the local part; the domain comes after the @ symbol, in this case msn.com.
Many of the online car referral services will give free quotes from 2 or 3 dealers. Your quote may arrive in a matter of minutes, or perhaps a few hours. You can specify models, style, colors and options.
Different referral services have different agreements with various dealers. They're not all going to be the same, so search around.
You may want to test drive at a local dealership before buying directly online.
Doing research before buying a car is essential. Considering online shopping is free and you're searching sitting on a chair, take some time and be thorough. Each online service will likely have a slightly different quote, so look for a consensus or a range. Use the quotes when it comes to the negotiating table to get a better price. Some hard to get cars may not have discounts through online referral services.