While many people like to use large nationwide chains like Carvana or CarMax to buy and sell their used cars, others prefer a more local experience. Residents of Houston and the surrounding area, including Stafford and Sugar Land, will likely be familiar with one regional platform: Texas Direct Auto.
We’ll take a look at this Texas-based platform and how it works. Let’s see what it offers buyers and why people might consider this platform over others.
What is Texas Direct Auto?
Texas Direct Auto was founded in 2002 in Houston, Texas, and later acquired by New York-based e-commerce and online automotive sales giant Vroom. Despite being acquired by this huge brand, Texas Direct Auto continues to operate under its own name while enjoying the benefits of being part of a larger operation.
Texas Direct Auto offers an online option for buying and selling used cars, plus it operates a Super Center in Stafford and six other Houston-area “Sell Us Your Car” Centers. The company is also involved in buying cars from individual sellers across the contiguous US states, which is detailed below.
Texas Direct Auto operates as an independent brand, but with the great array of resources that come from its corporate parent, Vroom. They offer a large range of vehicles, including trucks, sedans, SUVs, coupes, wagons, convertibles, hatchbacks, and minivans.
How Does Texas Direct Auto Work?
If you’re looking to buy from Texas Direct Auto, all you have to do is either visit the Super Center to look at the available inventory or browse the online selection. The website offers a simple buyer’s search function to select by make, model, body style, or even the VIN number if you have it.
For instance, just enter “Ford Mustang” in the search bar to look up available listings. But, there are likely to be numerous results. To pare things down, refine the search by minimum and maximum model year, mileage, price, monthly payment, or other factors.
The extensive search filters allow the addition or removal of features, narrowing by fuel type, drivetrain, transmission, engine, and passenger capacity. It’s a tool to tailor a precise vehicle search. A “Clear All” function starts the process from the beginning.
What Happens When You Select a Listing?
When you spot a preferred listing, click directly on it to open a more detailed view of that vehicle. There are a number of additional features that become available. First, each listing comes with a number of high-resolution photographs that provide a clear, multi-angle look at the vehicle. Information on the model year, model name, trim level, mileage, price, and estimated monthly payment is immediately available.
Scroll down the page to view “Vehicle Insights” and a detailed analysis of how the price compares to similar vehicles. The information tells:
- If there have been any recent price reductions, and whether this amount is more or less than a similar vehicle in your area.
- About the car’s physical condition and whether the mileage is considered low or high.
- Whether the vehicle is a “Great Deal,” a “Good Deal,” a “Fair Price,” or “Above Market.”
- If the color choice is popular and how it ranks among colors. For instance, to choose a black Ford Mustang, it tells you that black is “one of the top 3 Ford Mustang colors.”
These insights can help gauge a vehicle's pricing, if mileage is an indicator of greater wear and tear, and if the color is popular.
Further down the page, "Vehicle Details" includes a complete list of features, with select equipment highlighted at the top. You can also access details on the car's exterior, engine, performance, and warranty. Any vehicle purchased from Texas Direct Auto comes with a 90-day or 6,000-mile limited warranty, with the option to extend coverage for up to 10 years or 120,000 miles with 24-hour roadside assistance.
Preferred listings can be saved in a personal list, or an interested buyer can send a message to the company for more information. Texas Direct Auto offers delivery within 40 miles of its Super Center, with curbside pickup also available.
Can You Sell Vehicles on Texas Direct Auto?
The company's website also includes selling and trading options. Begin by entering the vehicle identification number (VIN) or license plate details and select "What's My Car Worth" to receive an instant quote.
If the quote is acceptable, schedule a pickup time and location, and Vroom will send someone to collect it and pay you. Vehicle pickup is free in the continental U.S., and payment is made immediately upon receipt of the vehicle.
The company withholds its formula for determining the purchase price, but says the number is based on the vehicle's current market value and condition. It's typical of instant-offer car buying operations. Payment is made via electronic ACH payment, or check. If you choose a check, it will be mailed within 3 business days, and you'll get tracking information via email.
What are the Benefits of Using Texas Direct Auto?
1. Corporate Resources, Including Financing
Vroom's vast resources help a local company operate as a nationwide chain while retaining its local brand, team, and management flavor. On top of that, the company can offer online financing options, something that many smaller local firms cannot do.
It's an approach that allows buyers to get pre-qualified for financing before shopping. This improves the overall experience as buyers know their loan amounts before starting. It's about making it easier for the customer.
2. Comprehensive Listings
Texas Direct Auto's web listings provide detailed information in a format that's easy to read and understand. Some may find the specifics too spread out over the page, but the insights and vital data are well organized. Overall, it's a good platform for new and experienced online car shoppers.
3. Direct Sales Available
Unlike many websites that aggregate car listings from multiple sources, Texas Direct Auto only features cars in its possession or those that will soon be. You can communicate directly with the company's sales staff through the website.
4. Buy and Sell in One Place
The company's platform allows users to buy and sell/trade their vehicles in one place. That's a huge advantage for anyone looking for a one-stop-shop experience. It means not having to deal with multiple dealerships or buyers. It also adds tremendous speed and efficiency to the entire process.
5. Find Available Models Now
Finally, one significant convenience is the ability to filter search results for cars immediately available at the Texas Direct Auto Super Center. This is indicated in the menu as "Available at TDA." Check that box in your search filters, and you'll see cars in stock now. That's handy because it can be disappointing to suddenly discover that a potentially ideal vehicle isn't available yet.
Are There Drawbacks?
Although parent Vroom has a smartphone app, Texas Direct Auto does not. It's a disadvantage, as scrolling through the company's website can be cumbersome on a smaller screen.