Buying a vehicle is likely the second biggest purchase we’ll make in our lives. It’s expensive, a long-term investment, and you rely on it. Most of all, no one wants to overpay or end up with a lemon. Unfortunately, buying a car requires most shoppers to be organized and well-researched. Then you’ll need to spend a few evenings and weekends negotiating, which isn’t as fun as going for a test drive.
What if you could take the pain out of the car buying experience and shop from the comfort of your couch? Two online marketplaces help consumers do exactly that; find the best deals from the most reputable auto dealerships and save you time and money.
This comparison column takes a look at two of these services: Cargurus vs. Unhaggle:
CarGurus launched in Canada in 2014 and is now the fastest growing major auto shopping site in the Canadian market.
CarGurus is free to use and helps consumers find deals on new and used vehicles from top-rated auto dealers. The site ranks shoppers’ search results according to the best deals, with each clearly marked as “great,” “good,” “fair,” “high price” or “overpriced.”
Rankings and deal ratings are determined by a number of data points including the Instant Market Value (IMV) for each car as well as dealership ratings determined by verified consumer reviews. IMV assessments are based on an analysis of hundreds of thousands of listings and take into account variables including year, make, model, trim, options, mileage, location and vehicle history.
Organic search rankings on the site are strictly data-driven, so consumers get a transparent view on how the available listings compare. Shoppers can refine their search based on vehicle preferences, distance radius, deal ratings, and dealer reputation.
Dealerships can use free and paid subscription services, allowing them to connect directly with shoppers by listing inventory on the CarGurus site. Notably, dealerships cannot pay to improve their deal ratings: a shopper’s organic search results are unbiased by advertising relationships.
CarGurus lets consumers know if a dealer is trustworthy and provides a positive experience. CarGurus’ Deal-Ratings offer a trusted and unbiased view into a shopper’s local market and are not influenced by whether or not a dealer pays to be featured on the site.
Unhaggle has a national dealer network throughout Canada serving every major make and model vehicle. Since launching in 2011 Unhaggle has serviced more than 1.5 million Canadians.
Consumers looking to purchase a new vehicle visits Unhaggle and can see what their desired vehicle would typically sell for in their local area based on proprietary average market price data.
From there, sign-up to receive a free report that outlines the invoice cost, applicable incentives, provide access to a payment calculator and a referral to a local dealership.
At this point consumers can either be contacted by the dealer or they can reach out to the recommended dealer on their own. Unhaggle partner dealerships work to negotiate a fair and transparent deal.
Dealerships will often negotiate a deal with the customer virtually, including providing a trade-in appraisal and completing a credit application. Then all the customer needs to do is sign the final paperwork at the dealership and drive off with their new vehicle.
Consumers can expect to save an average of $3,241 using Unhaggle.
The service is free to consumers, while dealerships pay to advertise. Dealers will then be showcased in Unhaggle reports and have the opportunity to respond to consumers.
CarGurus vs. Unhaggle: The verdict
Unhaggle focuses exclusively on new cars and allows consumers to build and price any vehicle, similar to a manufacturer’s website. The main benefit being dealerships can factory order or dealer trade to get the customer the exact vehicle they are looking for even if it may not be in their existing inventory.
CarGurus primarily focuses on used cars and has limited availability of new cars, in terms of the number of dealers and inventory. However, CarGurus’ focus on dealer trust and transparency lends itself well to the used car market where consumers should be more cautious about their purchases.
Each marketplace gives prospective car buyers a trusted ally to guide them through one of the largest and most nerve-racking shopping experiences of their lives.