Test-Own vs. Test Drive

Buying Tips & Tricks July 08, 2021

The onset of COVID-19 caused businesses across all industries to transform their business model, forced to adapt and rely on online services. The importance of the Internet's innovation has never been more essential than in the last 1.5 years, and Curbie is no exception. We strongly support the modernization and convenience provided by the online world. Our digital business platform proved advantageous when the pandemic hit and reinforced our company's mission - to make the car-buying experience better. One of the main ways in which we strive to do so is through our 7-day test-own period, which is automatically available to all Curbie customers. We know that "test-own" is a relatively new term for many people, but we fully stand behind it and are confident that it provides a better buying experience than its ancestor - the old-fashioned test drive. Here are 6 reasons why we have left test drives in the past and raise a glass to the future of test-own.

1. Contactless car purchase in a socially distanced world

Buying a vehicle online has always been available with Curbie, even before the pandemic began, and permitted Canadians to get into a new vehicle when test driving cars during COVID-19 proved difficult. Our entire purchase process is completed via phone or email, whichever you prefer, and we will always comply with social distancing guidelines at deliveries and pick-ups to create a smooth, contactless car purchase. We are dedicated to the health of everyone in our community, and have implemented various measures and restrictions to ensure the well-being of our customers (and our team members). Vehicles are continually sanitized and disinfected immediately when placed in our possession and prior to delivering it to you. All deliveries must be scheduled a minimum of 24-hours in advance to adjust for the added sanitization measures. Curbie makes online car buying possible, without ever needing to leave your house as we deliver within Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta. 

2. Test-own provides a longer, more accurate timeframe

Recent studies show that about 1 in 6 people choose not to test drive before purchasing a used vehicle, and this number is likely to increase in the near future (PR Newswire, April 2014). Although test drives do stem from a beneficial premise, they also present the following logistical flaws that limit you from fully familiarizing yourself with a vehicle:

- Cold startup:

When you test drive a car, it is often done from a cold startup after the vehicle has been sitting for a period of time. With a test-own, you have the opportunity to start your Curbie car up at various temperatures and times.

- Limited time:

After the vehicle is started, you spend most of your vehicle test drive trying to figure out the car's features. You adjust your seat, fiddle with the entertainment screen, check visibility, and move the mirrors. By the time you are somewhat comfortable and ready to drive, your twenty minute test drive is half over. At Curbie, we believe that a 20 minute test drive is substantially not enough time to influence such a commitment as purchasing a vehicle, and that everyone should have ample time (7 days or 500km, to be exact) to determine how a vehicle fits their lifestyle.

- Restricted route:

Following the cold start up, traditional dealerships take you on a non-typical route - roads that you don't drive on a daily basis and sometimes, in heavy traffic. Plus, you're given the choice of either city driving or highway - rarely both. In comparison, test-own ensures that you can drive your regular route to work, school, the gym, or to your child's hockey game - wherever you choose. You can even take a day trip if you'd like!

- Envisioning vs Experiencing:

Test drives give you only a mere glimpse of whether your prospective new car is suitable for you. Popping the trunk open and imagining if the cargo space is large enough to fit the contents of your average Saturday afternoon - groceries, your son's giant hockey bag, your daughter's soccer stuff, that new side table from IKEA... the list goes on. With test-own, you can fill the trunk to your heart's content and test drive without the sales person, for as long as you want within the 7-day period. Additionally, you can take your Curbie car to a mechanic for an added inspection if you'd like - a far better option than taking a quick look under the hood before the standard test drive.

Overall, 20-minute test drives are like choosing to watch the trailer to the newest Marvel installment, when test-own lets you just watch the film. 

3. It is digital, convenient, and customer-driven

Society has been rapidly transforming in the last decade, embracing the convenience that technology creates. The current pandemic has immensely increased this further, resulting in younger generations being drawn to e-commerce. Curbie’s founders have shared the same perspective as this generation - Why can’t car shopping be easier and “why can’t I just buy a car the same way I buy stuff from Amazon?” (RD.com April 2020). Test-own with Curbie accomplishes just that. You can browse available vehicles at any time and at your own pace. This means you can shop while you are on vacation, in line at your local Walmart, or at home in your comfiest sweats. You no longer need to spend your Saturday driving from dealership to dealership, haggling with money-hungry salesmen. If you want to stop shopping for a while, you absolutely can! We are here to help you buy a car on your own timeline and if it’s not the right car for you by the end of your test-own period, we’ll help you find something else. 

"As I've said since the beginning of the pandemic, customers like the

digital experience much better than the dealer experience." 

Carla Bailo, president of the Center for Automotive

Research (CAR). US News April 2021)

4. No gimmicks or pushy salesmen

Speaking of money-hungry salesmen… they don’t exist at Curbie. We have no salespeople, no commission, no schemes, and no haggling. We believe these hinder the experience of buying a car and prevent salespeople from focusing on you, the customer. Instead, dealerships try to pull focus from the mountain of added fees and talk up the car’s features. In 2017, OMVIC in Ontario commissioned mystery shoppers to 50 dealerships in the GTA. The results showed that 29 of these dealerships attempted to “illegally add on fees that they did not advertise” (Driving.ca 2018). Dealerships are required to advertise all fees being charged, including freight, pre-delivery inspection, warranties, and administration fees (Driving.ca 2018) and can only exclude the cost of vehicle and plate registrations, and applicable provincial/government taxes. This is just a mere sliver of all the dubious schemes that dealership salesmen attempt and add to their overall image of being distrustful, in which 56% of people agree with (Cision PR Newswire 2014). Curbie, on the other hand, is wholly transparent about our prices, with no added fees whatsoever and zero salesmen. Our test-own period is completely free, along with our no-cost delivery within Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. By eliminating the aforementioned nuisances, we are confident that Curbie can give you a better buying experience.

5. Stress-free for all, especially women and first-time shoppers

Most importantly, we are a haggle-free dealership, meaning that all of our vehicles are listed at a fixed price. This may seem strange at first, but we aim to create stress-free shopping and negotiating is the top culprit of such tension. Women influence 85% of all vehicle purchases (Cision PR Newswire 2014) and yet, the automotive industry fails to cater to their needs. Nearly 8 in 10 women, aged 18-35, find used car shopping stressful (MAX Digital 2019) and 81% of women do not trust their auto salesman (Cision PR Newswire 2014). To make this experience less taxing, Curbie promises no-hassle firm pricing, and the comfortability of our 7-day test-own period. This ensures that women, and first-time car buyers that may be apprehensive, can take a trial run with their Curbie vehicle, without the added pressure of shady salespeople and receive a full refund at the end of their test-own period if unsatisfied.

“The way we buy cars is evolving, and for women especially, that’s great news. We can do almost all of our research online, where gender is irrelevant…. We’re using our keyboards instead of our feet.”

Lorraine Sommerfeld, Driving.ca, October 2018

6. Better price with a refund

By having no dealership fees, enforcing smaller overhead costs, and eliminating pushy salesmen focused on making commission, we are able to provide the best, competitive price possible to Curbie customers. Again, we have zero fees, so you won’t have any hidden charges for documentation fees or vehicle preparation fees, like our competitors do (Finder.com, May 2020). Traditional dealerships pile on fees, but make you think that you’re still getting a “deal” and then don’t offer a used car return policy. Our pricing program considers the features of a vehicle and combines that value with the current market. Traditional car dealerships base their vehicle prices on getting the absolute “maximum profit on each individual deal,” (Edmunds 2017) but Curbie does not share this goal. As an online vehicle retailer, our prices are “often very close to the absolute lowest selling price for a given vehicle” (Edmunds 2017) because of our business model. With Curbie, if you don't like your car within the 7-day period, you're not stuck with it. You can return a financed car without penalty with Curbie and we’ll pick it up from you. With regular dealerships, you get twenty minutes to drive a vehicle that you will be committing to long term, and once you pull the plug, there's no going back. Curbie fully understands that purchasing a car, financed or cash, is a big decision, we want to help guide you to the perfect car, not manipulate you into buying it.

Used car shopping should be just as stress-free and fun as scoring new deals on Amazon Prime Day, and Curbie is determined to accomplish just that. E-commerce has completely transformed the automotive industry and we, along with J.P. Ostiguy from Alta Automotive Group, acknowledge that "young people in particular want to purchase or lease a vehicle by using their cell phone [and] online becomes a portal to a showroom" (ABC News, March 2021). We embrace modern technology in every other aspect, so why should car-buying be an exception? 20-minute test drives and endless negotiations are outdated and knock the fun out of purchasing a vehicle. We know it may seem scary at first to buy a car online without seeing it, but our online showroom puts you in control of your purchase - at your own pace, without unnecessary pressure, and with no haggle prices. Leap into the future of car shopping with Curbie’s test-own and ditch the old-fashioned test drive. We promise it will be better.

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