I bought the Roadfly Black Bear Jeep in May. I did a lot of research first so I knew exactly what Jeep and what options I wanted. I just needed to find it and get it at the right price. Simple? Of course not. I hadn’t bought a new car in ten years. I wasn’t looking forward to going through the whole process again. But I really wanted a Jeep – so I swallowed hard, rolled up my sleeves and started the process.
A friend told me about a car buying app I had to try – it’s the best he said. So I inputted my specs, my email and phone number (bad idea) and sat back to see what would happen. The app showed me the MSRP, the average price people in my area were paying and what I should pay. Then it configured the price I could get a specific vehicle for from local dealers based on the relationship the makers of the app and the specific dealer have; a predetermined “best price” for the vehicle. All I had to do was take that into the dealer and buy the car. Sounds simple. Here’s what really happened. I got a ton of emails and phone calls. Most of these were offers to buy Jeeps that weren’t even close to what I wanted, even though I inputted the options that I wanted into the app. At one dealer the guy said he had exactly what I wanted and when I got there we drove around to their auxiliary lot looking at Jeeps. They didn’t even have one in the right color. At another dealer they told me the price from the app was the absolute rock bottom price. It’s a great price they said; we couldn’t possibly go any lower; no one gets this deal walking in off the street!!! So I pulled the particular vehicle up on my phone while sitting with the salesman and found that their Internet price for that vehicle was $500 less then the app price. Awesome app. Hours online, tons of phone calls and spam emails, three trips to dealers; a total and complete waste of time. So I had to roll up my sleeves and negotiate – the old fashioned way. It was cumbersome; it took forever; it pissed me off. And I’m pretty sure I didn’t get a very good deal. Car buying sucks. At least it does the way I did it. And I’m a car guy. I should have done better.
I recently found out there is a better way. As it turns out, a much better way. I just heard about Carjojo.com a few days ago. Since I’m a car guy, and since I had such an unpleasant experience recently buying my Jeep, I had to check it out to see if there was something better. I was skeptical given my experience. So I checked out Carjojo.com. After I did, I wished I had checked it out sooner.
Carjojo’s mission is to “inspire life and adventure on the open road by making car buying simple, financially sound, transparent, and enjoyable”. Sounds great. So I went on line to check it out. The web page is laid out in a common sense way that is easy to navigate, whether you are a car guy like me or not. You can select your car by manufacturer or Carjojo will recommend a car for you based on various inputs. My brother just had a baby and thinks he wants a minivan. Carjojo will let you select make, model and drivetrain so I selected the 2016 Kia Sedona SX Limited, the top of the line Kia minivan, within 50 miles of my zip code (you can choose 15, 25, 50 and 100 miles). I had tested a Kia Sedona a few years ago and found them to be amazing so I suggested my brother take a look. The search came back with 33 vehicles that matched my search criteria.
Carjojo provides you with the following information for each vehicle in your search:
- Detailed list of options;
- VIN number;
- Number of days on the dealer’s lot:
- Number of miles to the dealer from your location;
- Link to the dealer’s site;
- A detailed pricing summary; and
- A list of Best Alternatives.
The prices ranged from $33,877 for a Sienna that was 136 days on lot all the way to one for $40,382 that was 173 days on lot; MSRP for this vehicle is $45,720. Quite a wide range in prices. Lots of room for bargaining. The pricing summary is provided in line graph form which makes it really easy to understand. It lists in order dealer cost, Carjojo Price, other sites’ prices, what others paid, dealer price and MSRP. The “Carjojo Price” is the price that Carjojo believes is the lowest price that you will be able to negotiate based on all of the available information collected by Carjojo as shown on the deal sheet. “Other sites price” is the range of prices offered by other car buying sites and “what others paid” is the average price people paid for this model in the search area based on recent sales. All vital information when negotiating a deal.
Carjojo summarizes all of this pricing and other information on what they call a “Deal Sheet” (sample below) which you can print out and take with you to the dealer when you negotiate. Carjojo provides other useful information on the Deal Sheet as well. For example, with my 2016 Kia Sedona SX Limited, Carjojo points out on the Deal Sheet that this particular vehicle has been on the dealer’s lot for 136 days and therefor the dealer is more likely to negotiate on it to move it off the lot. It also pointed out that the specific dealer’s sales from last month were lower then their sales for the month before indicating they may be more willing to negotiate this month.
You can save all of your search results to a dashboard so that you can come back to it later as you proceed through the car buying process. It also allows you to save multiple searches if you are looking at several different vehicles and you can go into your dashboard at any time to print out Deal Sheets when you finally settle on the one you want to buy and you are headed to the dealer to negotiate.
At the end of the search result summary, Carjojo lists some Best Alternatives. On my search it suggested that if I expanded my search to 100 miles of my location 19 additional vehicles were available. It also suggested that the Honda Odyssey and the Chrysler Town & Country were similar vehicles that I may wish to consider.
Finally, Carjojo offers a service called WeDrive. You can select up to three vehicles from your search results and Carjojo will send a real person to negotiate with the dealer to get you the best price. If the dealer accepts the price, you pay Carjojo $199 and simply go to the dealer to pick up and pay for the car. It’s like having your friend or relative go in and negotiate the deal for you and all you have to do pay is $199. Most people hate negotiating so for most people I think this is an amazing service and well worth the $199.
I don’t mind negotiating, but when I negotiated the purchase of the Roadfly Black Bear Jeep I felt annoyed afterwards and not convinced I had gotten the best deal. The process was time consuming and arduous. I even had the manager come out of the back of one dealer and ask me “what can I do to get you in this car today”. I’m not kidding. I looked at him, paused for a second, and said “you have got to be kidding me”. I got up and walked out. Of course I hadn’t done my homework using Carjojo like I should have, so I wasn’t armed with all of the data I could have had in order to conclude a more successful negotiation. If I were to do it again, I think I would pay the $199 and leave the negotiating to a Carjojo professional. I’d pay $199 just to avoid the “what can I do to get you in this car today”.
Carjojo is very easy and intuitive to use, even for “non-car” people. It is well laid out and provides an incredible amount of analytical data. The pricing summary aggregates data from other web sites, recent sales, and dealer information; every pricing detail you need to negotiate a winning deal. Knowing days on lot and the dealer’s sales from the prior month also helps you know how eager that particular dealer is to negotiate. And with WeDrive, for just $199 Carjojo will even do the negotiating for you as well. All you have to do is cut the check. It doesn’t get any easier then that. If you are in the market for a new car, you have to check out Carjojo. Based on what I have seen, Carjojo definitely makes car buying simple, financially sound, and transparent – enjoyable might be a stretch because at some point you are still going to have to go to the dealer to buy the car – and that’s never fun. Carjojo is a definite GO GO!!!
Sample Carjojo Deal Sheet for a Honda CR-V