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June 26, 2021

Would you buy a car without taking a test drive?

Even if they ultimately bought there, just about everyone has a story about pressure tactics and broken promises after shopping at a car dealership.

Shopping for a new car is painful. You have to be on your guard at at all times, it's tough to always know what’s true and what’s an exaggeration, and there’s always a significant amount of money at play.

It's all very intimidating. So much so that some potential buyers are skipping the test drive altogether. According to a survey from Maritz Research, roughly 11.4% of consumers who purchased 2012 models didn’t bother to take the vehicle out for a spin before closing the deal.

But, in the United States at least, help is at hand.


Seattle startup Tred aims to ease the angst of shopping by bringing cars to customers’ homes or offices, possibly saving them time and money -- and certainly putting a more mild-mannered spin on car buying.

If you’re in the market for a new car, but can't or don't want to visit a dealer, a salaried Tred employee will set you up with the vehicle of your choice for $19. They show up at your door and you get to take it for a test drive -- all without salespeople looking over your shoulder.

Tred employees pick up cars from participating dealers, and after you've kicked the tires they present the dealer’s supposed best price on the vehicle.

“People ask me if we’re helping dealers selling cars or consumers buying cars, and the answer is both,”  Feek maintains. “We make buying a car easy for customers and our early experience is that consumers who use the service buy the car 40% of the time, a very good closing rate for dealers.”

Would you consider using such a service? What's your approach when it comes to buying cars?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...