But an innovative technology platform is poised to make the experience much easier and more transparent for the potential buyer.
Its called Zag, and its CEO is Scott Painter, the founder and former CEO of CarsDirect.com.
Zag is a B2B [business-to-business] service provider, building car-buying services for affinity and membership organizations such as Capital One and the AAA.
The way most current car-buying sites work is that you check prices for car models in your area through the site.
The next step is to wait for a dealer to contact you with a quote; everything else happens offline.
Where Zags platform differs is that everything you need to buy a car—researching, configuring, selecting, pricing, searching inventory, accessorizing and financing—is done online.
Once youve decided on the car you want, complete with any aftermarket accessories youd like to have installed, you instantly get a price quote from one of the many dealers that have signed up with Zag.
If you like the price, you can accept it right then and there, with no haggling or pressure from a salesperson.