UPDATED: See below*
So, you're in the market for a new car. You've skimmed through our extensive collection of news and reviews, and you're ready to hit the showroom. What should you expect? If you're a man, you might negotiate a slightly sweeter deal, however, your female friends will probably pay less because they've configured a more cost-efficient ride. That's according to new data from CarWoo.
We first mentioned CarWoo a little over a year ago. It's a website that allows shoppers to solicit competing offers from auto dealers, a little like Lending Tree does for home loans. So, you tell CarWoo what sort of vehicle you're looking for, and CarWoo asks dealerships in your area to make their best offer. (Interestingly, when CarWoo debuted, there was a fee to use it, which made us somewhat skeptical about its prospects. Now, that fee seems to have been removed, or it's been pushed deep into the sale transaction*.)
After crunching numbers for cars bought through CarWoo in 2011, data hounds found that women pay less for their wheels -- around $28,306, compared to $31,911 for men. That's mostly because women chose less expensive options and packages than their male counterparts.
However, men did score ever-so-slightly better when it came to haggling. On average, men paid 10.3% below MSRP, while women got 10.2% off. That's pretty solidly in keeping with last year's stats, which found that "Only about one out of five dealerships offered a significantly different ($500+) price to one gender versus the other." This may have something to do with the fact that CarWoo's bidding process is anonymous, so dealers don't know a bidder's gender. Secret shoppers have found greater disparities in the way that salespeople treat men and women in person.
Our suggestion? Don't rely on your gender to score a great deal. Instead, you're better off looking to specific brands. As we saw just a few weeks ago, Chrysler and Nissan offer substantially better discounts than other makes: the average Jeep customer saved 17.7% in 2011, while Nissan shoppers saved 15.7%, and Chrysler customers saved 14.2%.
For a full rundown of CarWoo's 2011 shopping stats, check the infographic at left.
UPDATE 1: When we reviewed CarWoo in 2010, we seem to recall the site's pricing plans being prominently displayed. This time around, when we entered from the front page, we found no mention of fees at all. However, a reader confirms that CarWoo still charges customers a usage fee -- $49.00 or $99.00, depending on the level of service. Thanks for the tip!
UPDATE 2: Megan from CarWoo wrote in to clarify that CarWoo only charges customers who need to compare bids on more than one car. Comparing two cars runs $49, comparing three is $99. If you're just looking for bids on one vehicle, though, that's free. Capisce?