Breaking Down The Path To Your First New Vehicle Purchase


You’ve decided to take the plunge in purchasing a new vehicle. You’re going to spend more money than you ever have before, other than buying a new house. A daunting task, no matter how much money you have to pay. You’re going to want all of the tips you can get for making your first purchase. 

Over the next while, our expert team will be posting many helpful hints to help you get the new vehicle you want, the new vehicle you need, and especially the new vehicle that gives you your true value.  

Buckle-up.  We’re here to help demystify the “purchase process” of buying a new vehicle.

Let’s break down the most common path taken when purchasing a new vehicle.   

1. Time and Commitment

First,  we’ll look at your time commitment to get that first new vehicle.  

Cox Automotive has created a Car Buyer Journey Study, detailing the steps new car buyers take to purchase a new vehicle.  According to this study, you’re going to spend about 12.5 hours over the course of three months to buy your new car.  

Some people know what vehicle they want in advance, but the majority don’t.  How will you spend that time deciding on a new vehicle?

For new car buyers, you’re going to spend 55% of your time researching and shopping online.  26% of the time, or a little over three hours, you’ll spend at the dealership where you’ll actually purchase your vehicle.  You’ll spend about 13% of your time, or roughly 90 minutes visiting other dealerships, and the rest of the time reading ads and talking with others about your upcoming purchase.

2. Online Research

Let’s take a second look at your online research. About seven hours of your time will be spent in front of a computer or on your phone sussing out the features, prices, lease deals and specials for the vehicle or vehicles that you think are right for you.

In that seven hours, you’ll spend almost half of that time on third-party web sites (like this one) as opposed to the manufacturer’s or dealership websites.  

Isn’t that interesting? 

Sites like Car and Driver and Road & Track will give you opinions that the manufacturers won’t, which will help guide you as you discover if the vehicle is right for you.  After all, if you’re only spending three hours at the dealer, and about two hours of that is negotiating your deal, you’re only going to spend an hour sitting in or test driving your new vehicle.  

That’s not a lot of time given how long you’re going to actually own or lease your vehicle.

3. Vehicles Categories

Time to get your research started.  You can use the Vehicle Categories section of our web site to help narrow down vehicles to research.  Explore third-party websites.  

Here’s a partial list:

And when you’ve narrowed things down a bit, and BEFORE you visit the dealer, use our Comparison Tool to help you find your true value for your new vehicle purchase. 

Happy hunting!


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