There are several car buying services on the market now, offering discounts and painless purchases, but are they as good as they say they are?
What is a car buying service?
Car buying services connect qualified buyers with dealers. Since they do this in bulk and put dealers into competition with one another, they might be able to secure a highly competitive discount. Other websites work by offering quick and easy quotations on novated leases.
How does a car buying service work?
Let’s compare Autogenie and Smartleasing and see how the two companies operate.
With Autogenie, buyers pay a fee of $49 to receive up to 3 quotes from dealers within 24 business hours. Autogenie says they have a network of 650 dealers nationwide.
Using the website, you enter your preferred make, model, paintwork and spec. You will then receive quotes for cars that match your preferences as closely as possible. The quoted cars will also be in the same state where possible. Buyers can test drive the cars before they purchase them and can even have the car delivered straight to their door.
The website says it makes comparing the different offers simple, and dealers only receive your information to arrange the transaction once you accept a quote. Autogenie does not process payment for the vehicle.
Note, in some cases, the offer may not be the exact vehicle you requested as a similar model might be on special offer.
Smartleasing also has a network of 650 dealers nationwide and uses their bulk purchasing power to reduce costs, but the company works differently compared to Autogenie. Where Autogenie says you get novated lease-like deals, Smartleasing actually offers them. Prices charged are all-inclusive, including finance, rego, insurance, maintenance, CTP, roadside assistance and even fuel.
A novated lease is a three-way contract between yourself, your employer and a financing company – Smartleasing in this case. Unlike Autogenie, you can purchase new or used vehicles via this site, bundle all vehicle costs into one and then knock them off your pre-tax salary. This could potentially lower your tax band.
As with Autogenie, you can arrange test drives and don’t have to deal with pushy or aggressive salespeople. The company handles your salary deductions, financing and running expenses.
How much does a car buying service cost?
Autogenie charges $49 per quotation. They also offer a 30-day money back guarantee and automatically refund buyers who do not receive at least 2 quotes from their dealer contacts.
As Smartleasing offers novated leases, there are no initial expenses and buyers effectively reduce their taxable income by offsetting it against the car lease and running costs.
Is using a car buying service actually worth it?
Reading through testimonials and reviews from actual customers, you could save money compared with approaching a dealer directly.
Based on the last 1,000 quotes given over the previous three months, Autogenie says they save customers an average of $3,200. To use the service, you pay $49, but in return, you get transparent car pricing, save time by not having to drive from dealer to dealer and don’t have to deal with salespeople.
Also, if you’re in a rush for your car, the quoted vehicles are in stock and ready for delivery. The company aims to give quotes for vehicles that are in the same state as you and delivery is included as part of the service. On the Autogenie site, they promise to offer advice via phone, email or live-chat if you’re not sure which car to go for.
So for a reasonable outlay, you are basically unlocking fleet level discounts that were only previously given to major corporations and government agencies.
Smartleasing charges a fortnightly, all-inclusive fee for your lease. This includes all running and maintenance costs. Prices increase with higher specification and premium models as well as your annual kilometres limit. Drivers will appreciate the all-inclusive rates, with the added advantage of offsetting your taxable income.
How do I find a good car buying service?
Go online, check out the company’s website and read the terms of service. You should also make sure you read actual customer reviews on forums like Whirlpool. Look for people who can relate their unfiltered and independent experiences with a car buying service.
Dealers arrange delivery, though you may be able to organise a collection if you wish.
Autogenie only deals in new cars. Smartleasing can offer novated leases on new and used cars.
The $49 registration fee from Autogenie pre-qualifies sales leads. These are people who are in-state, ready to buy a car. It is a free service for dealers and the end result is they sell more cars than they would have offline.
Autogenie also provides feedback if a deal falls through or a quote isn't selected. Unlike traditional classifieds or advertising, there’s no cost involved for car sellers.
Autogenie makes money through the registration fee.
Novated leasing companies like Smartleasing make money through receiving a discount but charging customers the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) and through taking a cut of the interest rate.
Yes, for most makes and models. Autogenie says they have a nationwide, 650 strong dealer network as does Smartleasing.
Seven days on the Autogenie website.
Autogenie states on their website:
“Yes, all your quotes from dealers are for the drive away price (as defined by the ACCC) of your new car. The drive away price is a motor vehicle industry term that indicates the retail price of the car, state charges, government charges and dealer charges as well. Dealers are not permitted to haggle over prices one the quote has been submitted.”
Autogenie states on their website:
The dealer has already agreed to deliver the vehicle to your door.
No, you’re still purchasing a car from a car dealer. They’ll take a deposit and handle the financing of the transaction. In the case of Smartleasing, they will manage the financial side of things.
Ben Gribbin is an experienced automotive writer and life-long car enthusiast with a passion for restoring classic vehicles. He brings many years of experience working with and writing about cars to Finder.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 5.69% p.a. A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees. Note: Product only available to residents of Victoria.
How likely would you be to recommend finder to a friend or colleague?
Very UnlikelyExtremely Likely
Thank you for your feedback.
Our goal is to create the best possible product, and your thoughts, ideas and suggestions play a major role in helping us identify opportunities to improve.
Important information about this website
finder.com.au is one of Australia's leading comparison websites. We compare from a wide set of major banks, insurers and product issuers.
finder.com.au has access to track details from the product issuers listed on our sites. Although we provide information on the products offered by a wide range of issuers, we don't cover every available product. You should consider whether the products featured on our site are appropriate for your needs and seek independent advice if you have any questions.
Products marked as 'Promoted' or "Advertisement" are prominently displayed either as a result of a commercial advertising arrangement or to highlight a particular product, provider or feature. Finder may receive remuneration from the Provider if you click on the related link, purchase or enquire about the product. Finder's decision to show a 'promoted' product is neither a recommendation that the product is appropriate for you nor an indication that the product is the best in its category. We encourage you to use the tools and information we provide to compare your options and find the best option for you.
The identification of a group of products, as 'Top' or 'Best' is a reflection of user preferences based on current website data. On a regular basis, analytics drive the creation of a list of popular products. Where these products are grouped, they appear in no particular order.
Where our site links to particular products or displays 'Go to site' buttons, we may receive a commission, referral fee or payment.
We try to take an open and transparent approach and provide a broad based comparison service. However, you should be aware that while we are an independently owned service, our comparison service does not include all providers or all products available in the market.
Some product issuers may provide products or offer services through multiple brands, associated companies or different labelling arrangements. This can make it difficult for consumers to compare alternatives or identify the companies behind the products. However, we aim to provide information to enable consumers to understand these issues.
Providing or obtaining an estimated insurance quote through us does not guarantee you can get the insurance. Acceptance by insurance companies is based on things like occupation, health and lifestyle. By providing you with the ability to apply for a credit card or loan we are not guaranteeing that your application will be approved. Your application for credit products is subject to the Provider's terms and conditions as well as their application and lending criteria.