Most customers think they are applying for a loan directly from the dealership when they fill out an application form like the one on this website. But that is not the case. The form is really a pre-approval form. This is actually a better way of applying for a loan rather than going directly to a bank.
If you fill in an application for with a bank or other lending institution 2 things can happen:
If you go to someone who specializes in finding the best deal on a loan, like Guaranteed Auto Loans, you will fill out an auto loan pre-approval form. In this case there is only one hit on your credit report. Your information is sent to several lenders and the best deal is offered to you from many choices so you not only get the lowest rate but there are less hits on your credit report.
You will be glad you did.