The number of people that have turned to the internet to buy auto parts and also purchase vehicles has steadily risen over the last decade. Thanks to sites like, AutoTrader and CarMax consumers have gained access to a much larger market of new and used cars. These sites have added some integrity to the online car market by offering protection to the buyer.
In recent months, a new online car retailer has emerged and is trying to change the rules for purchasing a car over the internet. The site is called CarWoo.com. CarWoo allows users to create an anonymous profile, for free, in which they select only their zip code and the exact specifications of the vehicle that they would like to purchase. Car dealerships within a reasonable distance to the designated zip code can then bid for the customer’s business.
The idea is to allow the consumer to gain some leverage and transparency in the purchasing process. The anonymity of the user and the built-in rating system are the primary ways CarWoo attempts to achieve their goal. The site also touts a stellar customer service program in which “Happiness” representatives are available for online chat during business hours.
Initial ratings of the site show the savings by the consumer to be minimal—often less than if you were to go through a site like Edmunds.com or even negotiate face-to-face at the dealership. Reports also show that dealerships have already tried to circumvent the anonymity feature by messaging CarWoo users for their phone number.
It will be interesting to see how this site develops in the coming months. As it is, for an extra fee users of CarWoo can receive more bids from dealerships and search for multiple cars. However, they only guarantee that 3 dealerships will bid, which might restrict the competition that would ultimately drive the price down. The premise for CarWoo is a great one. Attempting to put power back into the hands of the consumer is a noble cause. If CarWoo manages to work out its bugs it could prove to be the future or purchasing a new car, but uprooting the traditional process is going to be a long and windy road.