Buying a new car is a major event and like all major events it requires planning. The price you pay for your car will depend to a great extent on how you approach this process, and in the current economic climate, the potential savings can be huge. We have put together a list of our top 10 tips to help you get the car you want at the price you want to pay.
Know your priorities: Before doing any research on specific makes and models, look at what and who you need this car for and what are the main priorities for fulfilling these basic needs. List your priorities in meeting these needs (cost, fuel-efficiency, reliability etc.)
Be prepared! Research different cars and when you feel you are ready to buy, go to the dealership knowing exactly the make and model you want. Don’t deviate from this without going away and carrying out more research of your own.
Be cool! Leave your emotions at the door of the dealership. Car dealers are good at what they do and they know how to try to get you to make an emotional purchase (usually straight after a test drive!) Don’t fall for the “this car won’t be here tomorrow” line. It will and so will the dealer!
Know the score: When you are researching the car model you are interested in – find out about all the standard features that come with the car and any incentives and cash-back options offered. These will be available at all dealerships so should be a given in any negotiations with a dealer – don’t let them use this as a bargaining chip.
The price is the price! The price of the car is what you are negotiating, not what you can pay per month. Dealers may use the monthly payments angle as a way of getting more money out of you – don’t be tempted by attractive finance offers. You can check out if you can afford the car using this calculator tool.
Financing options: Check out the market rates on this one as they can vary greatly. Don’t limit yourself to what the dealership can offer.
Extra! Extra! If you are a sucker for all the added extras it’s going to cost you. Do you really need it? If not, or you are not sure, leave it out!
A bit of undercover work! If at all possible try and find out the invoice price of the car – this is the amount the dealer paid to the manufacturer for the car. The dealer will obviously have to make some profit but your aim is to minimise this. You may be able to find this information on the web and if you can then you increase your bargaining power substantially.
Get the dealer onside: Let the dealer know you are serious about buying a car but only if you can get it on your terms. If they feel a deal in the air they may work harder to clinch it!
Cross-shop: It’s expected that you would have gone to other dealers and this can give you good leverage. Don’t feel bad about playing one dealer off against another – just do it nicely!