At least, that's the theory. In practice you still need to do 100% of the due diligence or you'll end up with spark plug wires that are for the non-California version of the engine of your girlfriend's 2004 Outback, and then you have to build an awkward bracket over the motor because you're too stubborn to return them...
My pet peeve with Amazon is a similar "nice but not quite good enough feature" : their selling of fasteners. Nuts, bolts, etc fall into a clear if quite complex N-space of sizes and features. This can be represented nicely in a web site, for example : http://www.mcmaster.com/ however even though Amazon acquired a nuts-n-bolts retailer some years ago, their site is a horrible mess for this kind of item. I'm not sure if this is because there are no humans curating the catalog, or because Bezos doesn't do his own maker projects and vehicle maintenance...
I had a 2008 Lancer and the owners manual constantly had to make distinctions between "California" and "non-California" versions for various procedures/features.
(I'm not even in North America, that's just global manufacturing for you)
Find the fitting you need but you found it in 3/4 instead of 1/2? You need to start over from scratch 90% of the time.
I'm a fan of supplyhouse.com but mcmaster.com looks good too!
It would be nice if they fixed this problem. I saw a ton of parts that incorrectly said they'd fit my vehicle. Windshield wipers are an easy example. You'll see varying length wiper blades they say will fit.
Edit: It seems like they could favor search results matching specific vehicles to combat this. For example, a part should be viewed as less relevant for claiming compatibility with more vehicles. This would be problematic for universal stuff like tires, wiper blades, and other accessories, but I'm sure they could differentiate between the legit universal stuff and the seller's who claim their part fits every vehicle in existence.
I'm sure this is harder than I'm making it out to be, I can't imagine all the edge cases they have to deal with. But some effort would really help, and I'd be more likely to buy this stuff online if it wasn't so damn difficult to verify that the part is compatible.
If one orders a spare that doesn't fit in the existing vehicle, it may prompt purchasing a vehicle instead. Who knows?
Varying lengths of wiper blades will fit your car. Most cars have a front-left, front-right, and rear wiper blade, all of which are different sizes.
I never understood why they under-size them to begin with.
So a 16" will almost certainly fit where a 14" goes.
It is an interesting feature and sometimes useful, but like you I found that when I even was buying car parts it wasn't always on the ball about whether or not the part I was looking at was compatible. I believe I remember errors in both the false positive and false negative directions, so I stopped trusting it's screening capabilities really at all and mostly have ignored it since.
It's motorcycle part match is an even larger adventure.
If that's the case, why didn't Amazon include older model cars? I know the Chevy Volt has models starting from 2012 or 2011, yet only 2016 and 2017 models are shown
UPDATE: I was wrong. The different models do show up if you search for it, but for some reason I did not see it while browsing.
I just wish that Amazon could start selling cars directly.
Given that I can add an 1896 Duryea (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duryea_Motor_Wagon_Company) to my garage, I think it's safe to say they include older model cars.
They are waiting for people to buy enough accessories that aren't suitable for their existing vehicles.
Subsequently, they'll start selling vehicles that might be suitable for the accessories sold.
First let's assume that Amazon can't sell new cars due to restrictive franchise laws in every state.
You are easily off by an order of magnitude on the billion dollar business statement. Carmax is the largest used car dealer in the nation, with a market cap of over 11 billion. As of 2015 they captured about 1.7% of used car sales. (They sold 582,282 vehicles to consumers and over 33.8 million used vehicles were sold, I'm on my phone so I can source this later if you'd like)
Second Amazon is an beast and anyone in a market that Amazon is considering should pay careful attention. That said I think that vehicle sales is such a different market in many ways that Amazon will either take a long time to figure out the whole process and provide a consistent quality product or they will acquire a company currently in the used vehicle market. The two leaders in the online space had a huge leg up due to ancestry or acquisition. I doubt Amazon would be stubborn enough to learn the business the hard way.
You select your make, model, year, and engine, and it comes up with a list of parts that fit your vehicle, that can be filtered by use.
They also offer free shipping. I got a new front bumper and apron for my truck for $200-odd shipped to my front door.
Infact you can even put your vehicle registration number in and it'll do the work for you.
I stripped some caliper bolts on an 90's truck. I needed a heli-coil(odd size one), and a new bolt. When ordering the program suggested new caliper bushings. Everything fit perfectly.
I thought, if they can keep accuracy of orders spot on, and prices cheap; they will put a huge dent in the automotive parts market.
That said, I've noticed when Amazon goes into a new market, they nail price, and accuracy of order.
They then seem to raise prices slowly. I notice those price increases, and will shop elsewhere, but as of now--I will buy all my auto parts from Amazon.
Whomever programmed that automotive garage did a really good job.
If this is the competition Amazon is going to make a lot of money on this Garage thing.
Rock Auto is my go-to for most parts. Example, for my 2012 civic:
On the technical side it looks like they're using the JATO database for their search/configuration tool (http://www.jato.com/). A few years ago I also implemented a car configuration website/app for a German startup (which doesn't exist anymore) using this data. The most challenging aspect was the huge amount of possible configurations/options that exist for some models (especially BMW and Mercedes), which would also have very complex inter-dependencies (e.g. choosing package A + B means you can't choose package C except if you also choose D). To resolve this I had to write a dynamic constraint solver: Finally some abstract computer science that was usable in practice :D
As far as I understand, in the US there are usually less options to choose from, which makes extensive configurators unnecessary. Still, it was an interesting challenge.
As far as I can tell Amazon Vehicles is overcharging for the cars by at least 5-10% ( the car I currently drive, they are charging 25%!! more than I paid).
This isn't a nightmare for Car Dealers. This is a nightmare for consumers because they will take the prices Amazon quote seriously.
All I could find were Cars that could be added to a virtual garage, presumably to ensure compatibility with any automotive parts purchasing.
Note that this was 2005 - 2011; I haven't kept up with the industry to know if it had changed any, or at all.
I'll talk about the used car market, since the new car market doesn't have that much pricing variation.
There are several pricing companies for cars in the U.S. Don't forget these companies are also for-profit companies, so the prices consumers get to see are generally also inflated a bit (retail price). The actual market price before the dealership acquires the car is known as the wholesale price. Who determines this wholesale price? Well, the prices actually come from car auctions - a place where buyers that either work independently or for dealers go to restock on used car inventory. So if you really, really had the time - go to a car auction (ex: https://www.autoreturn.com/san-francisco-ca/auction-terms/) and get your car at wholesale price.
Now, what does this have to do with pricing guides such as KBB, BlackBook, NADA (nada.com), Edmunds? Well, these companies have people who go to auctions and record the winning bids. All the data they collect ends up being the wholesale price, usually only seen by the dealership. The retail price is then generally a bump of ~$2000 of the wholesale price, depending on the car + other data factors. The kicker is, back in 200x, the data collection at auctions were just samples, all done manually by pencil and paper, and submitted back to KBB, etc. Often times, the data is so incomplete, the pricing guides would all be off quite a bit between each other. There's also regional variations, as KBB is more west coast based, so the prices tend to be higher.
Anyways, that's the surface of things. Also, I don't know if the industry's changed or not. Right when I left that position, KBB and all the other site started to make web enabled API's - we actually used to get shipped a dll w/a data file to integrate into our SaaS product.
So take away - KBB or other pricing guide will still have a higher price than what you can actually get a car for.
You can get a much better deal by just buying a used car. Try saving 90%, not 20%.
When comparing to the cost of a new vehicle, it's very hard to spend more on an older used car no matter how badly you screw up. Even if you have to (or choose to some degree to proactively) immediately replace just about everything but the engine you're coming out way ahead compared to new cars. In fact, you can probably replace the engine too and still spend less.
I know some people like the idea or feeling of new, but that's all it is: an irrational feeling, not one backed up by data in terms of a new car being more reliable than a well maintained older one (obviously a poorly maintained car will be less reliable regardless). In fact I feel safer in a well maintained car that's been around long enough that any major recalls, etc have already mostly been found and suffered through by the guinea pigs who insist on buying new.
People repeat this a lot, but it isn't that cut and dry.
People often ONLY include the direct cost of the two vehicles. They don't include the massively discounted loans on new vehicles (e.g. 0% APR), the warranties (e.g. 3-5 years bumper to bumper), sometimes better MPG (newer model, etc), cheaper insurance, skipping state inspection for the first three-five years, new tires & other consumables, et al.
Obviously you have to look at specific vehicles to know for sure; but when I last looked at exactly this (recently used Vs. new) without the externalities it was approx $2-3K cheaper (talking CarMax, non-negotiable pricing) but after factoring in all the things listed above it was damn close (within $500-800).
And as you go more used are you really getting a deal or just exchanging miles/wear&tear for cash? The asset also has depreciated in value by then.
Just to be clear, I am simply saying you have to look at each vehicle one by one, a lot of models/manufacturers depreciate at varying speeds (e.g. a Kia depreciates a lot faster than a used Toyota or Honda).
Just to be clear, that's a GOOD thing. You want depreciation to happen NOT on your watch, BEFORE (or after) you own it.
Something that starts at $20,000 will lose a lot of value on your watch pretty quickly. Something that starts at $2,000 has already lost most of its value on someone else's watch and by the time you sell it you may only have lost say, $500 on depreciation. There's just not as much room to go down, and frankly if you keep replacing parts you can usually keep it going very economically for hundreds of thousands of miles, till the engine fails and needs rebuild/replace.
It takes a hell of a lot of savings on all those things you listed to make up the $18,000. It is especially common for people to way overpay for better MPG, when it would take decades to make it back (by which time they have another new car again)
It probably also makes no economic sense to shop at Macys rather than Goodwill or to buy a house rather than a shack. People pay more for things they want.
Anything that will get us closer to direct-to-consumer sales of cars. I'm ready for car dealerships to be a relic of the past.
As an aside, I just ordered a mattress site unseen from an online only company, and it turned out to be one of the best mattresses I've ever slept in. https://www.saatva.com/ $1000 for the luxury firm Queen, and that included shipping and taking the old one.
Repeat 2-3x, pick the lowest price dealer and be willing to walk out the door if anything funny comes up.
Also quite a few dealerships are directly or indirectly part of a franchise so they won't compete with each other. In that case you usually need to expand your radius to ~100mi. Here in PNW there's great Subaru competition but when we looked at Mazda they didn't haggle at all until we went to dealers in a different state.
Pretty transparent and only changed once we started emailing dealers across state lines. Either way they lost our business. Subaru on the other had has a pretty diverse set of dealers and we ended up with one well below "inventory"(that's a whole nother bit of misinformation) at a dealership ~15mi away.
That said Tesla still wipes the floor with any dealership experience I've had which is why I'm pretty excited to see the Model 3 hit the market and more people experience it.
I eventually went to the Toyota dealership because although they wouldn't negotiate via email, they didn't phone me either. When I told that to the salesman, he said that he could get in trouble for that because he was supposed to call.
Like every other car buying experience I've had, buying the Toyota sucked. They want to know what payment I want and all I want them to tell me is the out-the-door price. We would go back and forth and eventually they would bring some paperwork with an offer and they had accidentally changed the term from 48 to 60 months. Whoops! I think it ended up taking close to 3 hours to come to an agreement.
To this day, I'm still getting emails and phone calls from some of the dealers I initially contacted and there seems to be no way to make it stop. I would happily pay a small premium to buy from Amazon or direct if I could avoid giving my details to a local dealer.
That reminds me, I'm always getting junk mail and phone calls from scammers trying to sell me some aftermarket warranty. How did they get my name, phone, address, and car information? Is that a public record? The dealer swears they don't sell or share their customer lists.
Maybe you weren't insistent enough? Many dealers don't like negotiating over email, but they also hate to lose a potentially valuable lead. If you make it absolutely clear that you'll only negotiate a certain way (e.g. via email with OTD price quotes), most will play ball.
I'd also suggest starting with a service like TrueCar. The prices they give are generally not the best you can get, but it makes for a good starting point for the email negotiations. I also used CarWoo in the past, but they've closed down. Edmunds has a similar service, though I haven't tried it.
that's why i always use an different email/google voice for dealing with these sleaz- ahem, persistent salesmen
People talk as though the "get quotes by email" thing makes buying a car painless but the simple fact is that it's still a minefield.
My experience with Honda dealers (sales and service) has been so awful that I doubt I will buy another Honda, even though I generally like the car.
The Kia dealer I talked didn't have a car with the upholstery I was interested in and I found out later that the quote they gave me included a charge for taking the car to a local guy and getting the seats re-upholstered.
My wife bought an Acura and so far that dealership seems very good. If they keep treating us right, that's where I'll buy my next car.
In all of their items they say: We will share your data with qualified partners.
I was also thinking DMV records might be public.
I also ordered mine because we wanted a specific set of options like adaptive cruise control, upgraded sound system, but no navigation and a very specific color combination that we couldn't find anywhere.
Our other car is a Tesla and while I prefer ordering online and checking out with a credit card, emailing multiple dealers was pretty painless.
EDIT: If you're curious why we didn't want navigation, this video explains it pretty well: https://youtu.be/hCDt02UXzkQ Not to mention it's really expensive, hard to input destinations, I generally know where I'm going, and phones work great.
I was very pleasantly surprised that with the touch-screen, which supported swipe and seemed generally (though not-quite) as responsive as an iDevice, and CarPlay, most of the ugly edges/sharp corners of a typical auto infotainment system were gone, and it generally seemed very good.
I will say that CarPlay has the potential to be very good, but it's still very basic for now, and needs a lot more work before its as good as standard iOS. It was particularly nice, though, to use Apple Maps while listening to music on Spotify!
I think that's actually a feature, less possibilities to distract a driver with.
* the navigation is crippled. You can't even scroll the map. But why could you--you can't even scroll the map on the iPhone.
* it connects only via a cord. Bluetooth connects automatically and wirelessly.
* it is filled with glitches. Sometimes it hangs or pressing buttons does nothing.
* many apps are poorly thought out. For instance the list of stations in Pandora is always in alphabetical order, rather than showing recent stations first, and the only way to change stations is to scroll through this massive list.
I have mostly abandoned CarPlay and use my iPod hooked up by the cord for music, and the phone in a holder for navigation and Bluetooth phone.
Last car I bought was through an online auction. Didn't actually see the car in person until I went to pick it up.
I think Saturn showed that the model most consumers want is going to have to come from a non-incumbent who doesn't have the baggage of existing dealers.
So, although I believe the model is appealing to some (or many), I do like the guiding hand of a salesperson to help me navigate many makes, models and options. It's more of a personal choice, and definitely it's unnecessary for say Teslas. I feel the car salesperson is not just something to be disrupted and eradicated, but to evolve into a more modern counterpart, like the people at shift.com.
OTOH, car dealership mafias should definitely die.
Then you should pay for someone to offer you that service. He would be more likely to be impartial too.
A good salesman would be good for this. My last salesman did not know how to operate the in-dash entertainment system. Information-wise, I would have been better off ordering my car from a kiosk.
The problem is that people love to complain but a lot will simply walk if they go into a dealer and are told the price is the price. There are also still financing and trade-in games that most people don't have the luxury of simply ignoring--in part because they're trying to get themselves into a car they can't really afford.
Also, if it weren't such a racket, you would have a single drive center that sold Chevy, Mazda, Toyota all in once place, and then the dealerships wouldn't have to worry about sending people there. They would compete for people's business.
Obviously there's much better ways this could've been done…
The bottom line is that if you have a figure in mind that's a hard floor, you can just say no; no bargaining required.
The problem, unfortunately, as we learned through some of Tesla's struggles, is that car dealerships are deeply embedded in a bunch of localities through legislation. There are literally written into law as the way consumers needs to buy cars.
So the tough part here is that we consumers would LOVE a better way, but it's going to be a while before this takes nationwide. A few progressive municipalities will, I'm sure, adopt (and make it legal to buy via Amazon Cars), but don't hold your breath for the death of car dealerships in the next ~10 years.
(PS - I deeply hope I'm wrong.)
It also gives you a tool for negotiating if you DO plan to take the offer in to a local dealership.
In the used-car market, this is what CarMax does.
You can do this on most manufacturer's sites. Just configure the vehicle and print out the result. Unless it's an extremely hot vehicle, they will give you that price since most people are trying to haggle below that price.
The real problem is inventory. You're not likely going to find one with exactly what you want, and you can order one at that price but then you're 1-4+ months before it arrives. That's fine if you've got a lease ending soon and can plan for it, but when I buy a new car it's usually because my current car has a problem and I can't really wait more than a month.
They need to figure out how to shorten lead times (perhaps making more options dealer installed), or change the way inventory is ordered/stored so Dealers aren't all ordering the same thing (which I don't blame them for doing).
My dad's last car had some dealer installed trim applied to the door sils, they drilled holes to mount the trim, and didn't properly re-seal the metal, so it rusted.
Dealer installed radio in a previous car had faulty wiring.
Friend had a car where the dealer had replaced the normal badge with the premium hood ornament. Rust again.
I have bought and old broken alarm clock off of eBay for parts to repair one with sentimental value to my father. So I can definitely see the watch thing.
Seriously though, if I were in the market for buying a car I would love to use Amazon. I wonder what the restrictions are for them to register as a dealership in each state...
I've been curious how much below invoice they are. The closest one is 4 hours away from me, so I'm not a member (and can't see prices).
On other hand you can always ask for "costco" price in the dealership, would they honor it I don't know.
I would actually prefer this to a dealership since a real owner probably knows that one car he/she drives everyday way better than the lazy sales guy who is trying to sell 10 different models and rarely drives them himself.
Then again I didn't think Uber could work and now I take them all the time so who knows!
OTOH, this doesn't do much for specific used cars.
By wangchengxuan on July 21, 2016
If you could get these info and subtract cars previously registered, a blurred picture of recent sales should emerge.
From the surrounding comments, it seems they do something similar with home appliances and photography equipment.
* keep away from pets and small children
The same people that said "I'd never buy a book on the Internet" back in 2000.
Basically, car dealers register their offer on the portal and you can shop without knowing about the dealer. Just at the end, you sign a middle man agreement and the website is forwarding your request to the car dealer.
At the end, you need to travel maybe 300km to get your car, but you get it from a normal dealer with standard guarantees. If you still want to buy at your home car dealer, this gives you a good idea of the discount you could try to negotiate.
Here is a truly horrid video about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yISx15OYogU
 Aw. No, it hasn't: this is just a way to "See specs, read reviews, and ask owners" about vehicles. Pity.
Since they have a fair number of listings, I'm waiting for them to offer something where the buyer gets a substantial discount for buying it directly from the Redfin agent, without using a buyer's agent. Next step would be to sell listings exclusively through Redfin and not through the MLS, though this would be riskier.
I don't understand how agents can charge 6% in America when they charge 1 or 1.5% in the UK.
As such, real estate agents need to be highly informed and often rigorously certified. This has the dual effects of raising costs to offset their own, and it also shrinks the potential labor pool, which has the expected outcome of higher wages.
(See here for explanation: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11939829)
I already have my car in my 'garage', they've had that functionality for years.
I'm planning on buying an EV car this year for the tax benefits, but I'm dreading the dealership.
In North America, this fitment data conforms to a popular (but not the only) schema called ACES (Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard). It's a long and pretty well-defined XML schema that specifies things like year, make, model, and all kinds of attributes like engine configuration, fuel type, wheelbase, etc., as well as brand name, part number, quantity, and so on. Fitment data providers create an XML document according to this schema and populate it based on the products they say fit particular vehicles.
For example, say you are the manufacturer of a FRAM oil filter (FRAM is a common aftermarket filter brand in the US). It has a part number A123. You know it fits the 2000-2010 Honda Accord with engine XYZ. You add to your fitment XML document an entry for this filter that specifies brand=FRAM, partnumber=A123, parttype=oil filter, years=2000-2010, make=Honda, model=Accord, engine=XYZ. Now, you (or some 3rd party you designate that specializes in turning your catalog of products into fitment data), sends this fitment document on to companies that care about fitment information because they are selling your FRAM oil filter and want to be sure their customers can tell if it will fit their car or not (Amazon, Ebay, Rock Auto, etc.).
They take that fitment data and join it against their product database and out pops the yes/no fitment data you see on their website.
Now scale it up: there is no requirement that only one company produce these fitment records. Anyone else can produce a fitment record that says all the above, but for the 2000-2010 Honda Civic. Maybe that's a mistake, but as a receiver of the fitment data, Amazon or Ebay can't know it's a mistake--they can only presume the fitment data they are given is valid.
Now, complicate it further by adding the human element: e.g. some fitment data providers have fitment data in Excel spreadsheets. Some poor human fat-fingered that data from the spreadsheet into XML and maybe they left off the leading 0 on all the part numbers (because that's Excel's default for number cells). Oops. Now none of those fitment records will match to any parts in the database of the companies that sell them. Or they're entering this data off a piece of paper and can't tell if that's a 0 (zero) or an O (oh). Oops.
Or, worse: the fitment provider gets the wrong vehicle ID (because the schema is all based on IDs, not human-readable names) and submits fitment data that says that FRAM filter fits a 2000-2010 Tesla Model S. Well, that's extremely unlikely, but the receiver of the fitment data is a machine and the machine doesn't know that is completely ridiculous.
Or equally bad: the fitment provider says it fits a 2000-2010 Honda Accord, but doesn't specify the engine type at all. Now, Amazon's machines see that and think "the customer only needs to tell me their year, make, and model". A smart human knows it also needs the engine configuration, but the machine can't easily know that because none of its data specifies an engine configuration is needed for fitment. So Amazon sends out the filter because its data says "it fits!" and the customer is unhappy.
So, in the end, the customer is displeased because Amazon shipped them an oil filter that can't possibly fit their car, even though it told them it would because they can only go on what the data tells them.
A closely related problem is that sometimes a seller will have a product that they know should require fitment data (like an oil filter), but there has been no fitment data submitted for it. In that case, the company can neither say it fits, nor it doesn't fit--it doesn't have enough data to make the determination. This is common as the new model-years start to hit the marketplace: the car exists; you can buy it; you can buy parts for it; however, the aftermarket fitment data hasn't caught up with the car's attributes yet. It also happens when Amazon has fitment data for some models but not for others, even if the part will fit those other models--without data saying so, there's no way to say "yes that will fit your new 2017".
To complicate it even further, if you're talking about this stuff outside of North America, there are other schemas and data providers with very little overlap of the NA offerings. This is visible in the very different fitment experience you see in most EU countries on Amazon (for example, try https://www.amazon.co.uk/auto and select a car).
The takeaway? Unhappy customers result when you have complex data quality problems, and sometimes it's no fault of the implementation at all.