Phone, tablet apps making car shopping easy


From financing apps to pop-up shops to digital dealerships, technology is making it a lot easier to buy a car before you even get behind the wheel.

Julie Dunn spends a lot of time in her car running errands. Now when she's parked and waiting for her kids, she's car shopping from it, too.

"I have been using my iPad and my smartphone and I've found two or three apps that I use," Dunn said.

Apps she prefers include and AutoTrader.

"I plug in my search, the kind of car I'm looking for, and if something comes up in that area, they'll send me an alert," she said.

Scotty Reiss of says technology is putting more power in the palm of the buyers' hands.

"Every car maker, every manufacturer, every seller is making it easier for consumers to find them digitally," Reiss said.

Reiss says you'll also want to check out evaluative apps, which can tell you what you should expect to pay for a specific car. Also, it's worth checking out consumer advocate apps to check the vehicle's history or dealer's reputation and car payment calculator apps to look into financing.

"Customers were spending up to 6 hours searching for and trying to buy automobiles at the dealership. With the new technology, we're finding that the time spent at the dealership has been reduced to three, four hours and in some cases even more," said George Athan with DCH Auto Group.

Athan oversees sales for a large auto group and hopes technology will continue to drive down buyer's time at the dealer to as low as one hour. Digital dealerships, where you can essentially build a car on the spot, could help speed things along in the future.

"It's an exciting time. It's changing at light speed. The buyer is much different, better informed," Athan said.

Some websites allow you to buy a car simply by text messaging. One website says 25 percent of its transactions are done simply by texts.

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