It’s easy to make substantial savings when buying a new car online, says Which?

Through a simple search of internet car brokers, the consumer organisation saved an average of 11 per cent on the list prices of 15 popular new cars – an overall saving of almost £30,000.

Which? saved £2,994 on the list price of an upmarket Mercedes C-class and £2,550 off a Renault Clio 1.5 supermini. The biggest saving was a massive £3,746 on a Ford Mondeo 1.8.*

Buying the same 15 cars at dealerships, Which? found it was possible to save a total of £18,601 (7 per cent) on list prices. But researchers found the going tough and the sales staff often unprofessional or inefficient.

Dealers’ sales tactics also left much to be desired. One salesman told researchers he would not give his best price until they sat down to sign an order so that they couldn’t take the quotation to another dealer.

Such problems are avoided with an online broker whose job is simply to find the best price. Armed with an internet quote, customers should find it much easier to negotiate with a dealer.

The consumer organisation encourages people to “buy” online. In fact, customers are using brokers’ websites to browse prices, but usually make the actual deal and payments with a reputable named dealer. As one satisfied customer said: “I avoid the heavy-handed sales talk that I have previously experienced at dealerships. As long as you do your research there’s very little risk.”

A survey by Which? also found that 50 per cent of Which? members were currently unwilling to buy a car online.** Just six per cent of respondents had already bought a car this way, and a further 42 per cent would consider it in future.

Richard Headland, Editor, Which? Car, says:

“We found that shopping around online is simpler than negotiating with dealers yourself and, in most cases, we obtained a better price. You can save hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds by shopping this way.

“Buying through a broker also means you don’t have to haggle with pushy salesmen. But if you choose to buy from a main dealer, an internet quote can give you the upper hand.”