For someone who grew up in the world’s greatest car town, surprisingly I’m never particularly excited by the prospect of getting a new vehicle. Sure, I love that new car smell, but I find the process of actually selecting a vehicle and trying to figure out how to get a good deal on it daunting. That’s why I find Justin Vitale’s idea so intriguing.
Vitale is the president of Detroit-based Internet Automotive, a company that specializes in simplifying the car buying experience. It’s essentially an industry-specific concierge service.
Clients can inquire on whatever vehicle or vehicles they are interested in, and the Internet Automotive team can provide monthly payment information, secure the lowest available price, and set up the purchase or lease at a nearby approved dealer. In some cases, the vehicle can even be delivered to the client’s home or workplace.
Vitale started the company after discovering that the online sales process for many auto dealerships is slow, and potentially frustrating to customers. According to Vitale, “This is because the people answering the emails and phone calls are trained to set an appointment. They have no idea how to actually sell a car or provide the customer the pricing information they need. I figured while other dealers are busy trying to schedule an appointment, Internet Automotive approved dealers could get right to actually setting up the car deal.”
Dealers pay a flat monthly service fee for exclusive rights to be part of the Internet Automotive sales network, so the concierge service is free to purchasers and leasers. Ideally it simplifies the purchase or lease process on both new and used vehicles.
Vitale adds, “This way the customer knows exactly what their monthly payment will be on their next vehicle before they drive to the dealership, which helps alleviate tension and assures the prospective vehicle buyer that they won't be wasting any time. If the vehicle they're interested in is out of their price range, there's no need to set the appointment. Why go drive the car if it's not the right price for you and your family?”
Cindy Conti of Trenton discovered exactly that scenario when she turned to Internet Automotive for her new car. Originally she had a Malibu in mind, but Vitale couldn’t find a good price on one so he suggested a Buick Verano to her as an alternative. It was within her price range and he even found a $1000 rebate for her, which she didn’t even know existed.
According to Conti, “He worked out the money end for me, so basically I went into Sellers Buick, test drove the Verano, and I loved it. I signed papers and was on my way as soon as the paperwork was done. It was a fantastic experience. He saved me a ton of time, he saved me money because I wouldn’t have known about that rebate. I would highly, highly recommend this service. It’s fantastic because it’s free.”
Interested purchasers can fill out the Request A Quote form after browsing the vehicle inventory on the company’s Home page. Be sure to include all vehicles that interest you in the "Comments" section when submitting your contact information. Also, let them know if you qualify for any employee, supplier, friends, family, military, owner, or lease loyalty discounts. If you don't know what discounts you qualify for, the Internet Automotive team can help you figure them out.
Vitale originally launched his services exclusively online, but has since opened up Internet Automotive’s first retail presence in Southland Mall in Taylor, Michigan, for those who prefer face to face contact. He has plans to expand into 12 Oaks Mall, Oakland Mall, and Briarwood Mall by the middle of 2013, creating new job opportunities.
Amidst the growth, the company is also committed to supporting the communities it serves with an ongoing Facebook promotion. Each month a different Michigan cause is selected and receives a fifty cent contribution for every new "like" to Internet Automotive’s Facebook page. Past recipients have included All About Animals Rescue based out of Warren and Greening of Detroit. Right now through October 21, 2012, any new like will result in a $.50 donation on your behalf to the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute.
For those of us who want the excitement of driving a new vehicle without the hassle of shopping for it, there may finally be a fun new alternative in town.
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