Norton School Built Mobile App Makes Used-Car Buying a Game

Alexis Blue, University Relations - Communications, June 8, 2016


The educational Car Smart app targets 16- to 21-year-olds who are in the market for a used car.

Purchasing a car can be a stressful experience, especially for first-time buyers.

A new mobile app developed at the University of Arizona is making the process a little more fun by teaching teens and young adults about the used-car buying process through interactive games.

The Car Smart app, available for free for iPads and Android devices, targets 16- to 21-year-olds and uses educational games to walk them through all the steps of buying a used automobile, including talking to their parents about the purchase, visiting the dealership, negotiating price, getting a loan, visiting a mechanic, getting insurance and ultimately walking away with a car.

To develop the app, the UA's Take Charge America Institute in the John and Doris Norton School for Family and Consumer Sciences partnered with the nonprofit Young Adult Consumer Education Trust in Washington state and the Mobile Matters app development team in the UA's University Information Technology Services division.

"The idea of the app is to get users to think beyond the price tag of a car, to get them to start thinking about the big picture with respect to all the dimensions of the car purchase," said Mike Staten, director of the Take Charge America Institute, which focuses on educating young people how to manage finances and make informed choices as they move into adult life.

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