As automobile manufacturers continue to offer incentives to new car buyers, it's tempting to get caught up in a car-buying frenzy, says AAA. "Car buyers should be aware that one of the best ways to get a great deal and end up with exactly the car you want or need is to do your homework prior to visiting the dealership," said John Nielsen, director, AAA Approved Auto Repair. To help consumers make their new car decisions, AAA says it has launched AAA AutoMaker(R) on www.aaa.com
. Designed to help buyers find the right car for their needs and lifestyle, AAA says AutoMaker allows users to search for vehicles by choosing the features that are most attractive to them, and to view a side-by-side comparison of the vehicles that interest them. The service is free and available to the public. "When shopping for a car, some people may feel pressured to make a quick decision or to grab the first deal that sounds good," said Nielsen. "But if you know exactly what you want before you go shopping you are more likely to look at only those vehicles that best meet your needs and desires. That is where AutoMaker comes in - to help you make important decisions before you leave home rather than trying to do that when you're in the dealer's showroom." According to the company, AAA AutoMaker takes users through a step-by-step process to first determine the features they want and need in a vehicle, and then to narrow the list of appropriate vehicles to a manageable few that they can then test drive at a dealership. Whether you have no idea what type of car you want, or know exactly what suits your needs, AutoMaker helps you create a profile of the perfect vehicle. Users choose the vehicle type such as sedan or SUV, then the price range, gas mileage, number of passengers and doors, crash test ratings, engine type, transmission and other features. AAA says AutoMaker then lists the vehicles that match the user's criteria in order with those having the most specified features first. These vehicles can then be compared side-by-side, with additional features available in a separate list. "The final step is to build your vehicle and this is where the Web site allows consumers to get more creative, choosing various color combinations and options," said Nielsen. As users build their vehicle a calculator with both the invoice and the retail prices adds up the total on the screen allowing users to see how their choices affect the price and to better understand what a fair purchase price would be. Consumers can find AAA AutoMaker on www.aaa.com in the automotive area of the Web site. Complete reviews on more than 200 new vehicles can be found in "AAA Auto Guide: 2003 New Cars and Trucks," (AAA Publishing, $13.95 US/$21.95 CDN). More information on making good decisions when buying a car can be found in "Buying or Leasing a Car," by Jim MacPherson (AAA Publishing, $14.95 US/$22.95 CDN). Both books can be purchased on www.aaa.com, in AAA club offices or at retail bookstores. As one of North America's motoring and leisure travel organizations, AAA says it provides nearly 46 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA says it has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.