CarsDirect.com, the Web shopping site backed by Dell Computer Corp. founder Michael Dell, is the best overall automotive resource for online consumers, according to a new ranking by Gomez Advisors Inc.
While most Web buying services simply refer leads to dealers, CarsDirect.com allows shoppers to lock in a price with a $250 deposit. That gives CarsDirect.com an edge compared to other services, said Adam Weiner, auto analyst with Gomez, the Lowell, Mass., company that provides online rankings and reviews for a variety of consumer products.
CarsDirect.com puts pressure on other Web sites to offer 'real-time pricing,' he said. Still, it remains to be seen whether offering a hard and fast price on a new vehicle over the Web can be done profitably, Weiner added.
Gomez, best known for its rankings of online stockbrokers, looked at 13 no-fee automotive buying services with broad coverage of the United States. There are now more than 100 automotive Web sites that offer some sort of shopping help, Weiner said.