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How to find a reputable local car dealer

It might seem an odd question in some ways, to ask how to find a trustworthy automotive dealer near you. Surely, it’s just a case of hammering something along the lines of ‘car dealers near me’ into Google, casting your eye over the list that appears, and then selecting whichever one seems to have the best rating out of five? 

Alas, the process isn’t quite that simple. However, it is true that the Internet has made the world of car sales – both new and used – so much more transparent than it used to be. 

The level of scrutiny to which car dealers are subject in the ‘Internet age’ has helped to almost banish that old image of the ‘dodgy car salesman’ – and that’s great news. But what other steps can you take to ensure you select the best local dealer for your needs?

Educate yourself on the different dealer types 

No automotive dealer is quite the same as another, and that’s certainly the case as far as the diversifying range of dealership types is concerned these days. 

This guide on the Carbuyer website does a great job of explaining it – but in summary, franchise dealers are those that have an official relationship with a specific manufacturer. Meanwhile, independent dealers, as the term suggests, are not tied to a particular manufacturer in this way, and therefore typically showcase vehicles from a broad variety of marques. 

That leaves car supermarkets, which have gained particular popularity in recent years and are something of a ‘Costco’ of the car retail world, as well as online car dealers, which may have a strong online presence, but no brick-and-mortar showroom. 

Start comparing the relevant dealers near you 

It’s crucial to underline that when it comes to the aforementioned ‘types’ of dealership, there’s no single ‘correct’ one. You can have a great experience at any of them– it’s simply a question of properly understanding what you will get from each one. 

So, once you do know which types will be most relevant to your needs, it will be time to start narrowing down your options. You might start by looking at the ratings and reviews given to dealers on sites like Trustpilot, as well as running the rule over the dealers’ websites to make sure that they have evidence of training, perhaps that they’ve even completed a Pre-Licensing course, as well as experience in the field so that you can be assured that they will be a good dealer. 

Yes, when looking at a given dealer’s website, you have to bear in mind that they will be attempting to present themselves in the most favourable light. However, a dealer’s website can also be highly revealing as to what they do and don’t value. 

Does the website of the dealer you’re considering talk about the business’s track record and customer service philosophy? What about touching on the issue of finance? Reynolds Motor Group, for instance, has built a reputation as one of the leading sources of used cars for sale in Essex, and its website makes a highly professional and informative impression. 

Visit or get in touch with the dealer 

No matter how slick and detailed the dealer’s website is, to get a fuller picture, you’ll need to have some form of direct experience with the business. A good dealer should be competent when dealing with you. They may have online chat services, use special finance auto leads, or have extensive sales training in order to provide a good sales experience to customers like you. Whether you phone them up, chat on their website, email, or turn up in person at their showroom, you should take note of how responsive the dealer is, how much help they provide to you, and their level of politeness. Dealers who don’t seem like they’re on the ball or fail to answer in a straightforward manner should be avoided.

Finally, there’s the not-insignificant matter of price! Again, the Internet comes to the rescue here. It’s a straightforward process to compare the price you might be offered for a particular car by a particular dealer, with the asking prices of similar cars at other dealerships, up and down the country. 

There you have it – a great summary of some of the most pressing things you’ll need to think about when picking out a local dealer that you can genuinely trust to help you find the perfect new or used car. This is vital knowledge to ensure you make the right decision at the first attempt.