When walking into a dealership to purchase a new car, it’s hard not to feel as if you are fighting a loosing battle against an opponent who has every advantage over you. Salesmen use an arsenal of high pressure sales tactics, misleading contract clauses, and industry jargon to make you feel like you are about to lose a deal that you’ll never find again. After purchasing a vehicle, it’s not uncommon to find out you overpaid by a large amount. Here are some simple ways that you can arm yourself when walking into a dealership and make sure you are paying a fair price:
- Incite a Bidding War – Salesmen make their living by selling as many vehicles as they possibly can and not one of them likes the idea of losing a sale to a competing dealership. Take sometime to visit a few different dealerships. Make yourself an easy mark and engage a salesman at each dealership you visit. Write down their names and offers and tell them you have to think about it and will call them he following day. Make sure you seem excited about the sale! The next day, choose the lowest offers and call the salesmen from those dealerships. Tell them whatever you can to get a lower price. For example, tell them that you like their customer service and would rather purchase from them but their competitor is offering a lower price. Ask them if they can help you buy from them by lowering their price. This method sees varying results depending on where you live but if you can find two or three dealerships that are under their quota, you may be offered options and discounts you would never think to ask about.
- Timing is Everything – If you are going to trade in your vehicle, try waiting until after you have negotiated the price of the new vehicle before you bring the trade-in up. If you talk about the trade-in first, they will offer you a high trade-in value but will not lower the price of the new vehicle much, if at all. This method hinges on knowing the approximate trade-in value of your vehicle so that you can keep them honest on the amount.
- Knowledge is Power – Before you step foot in a dealership, take to the internet in search of reviews. Although you may not find many positive reviews, you can count on people to post their poor experiences with dealerships or even specific salesmen. This can save you a lot of time and trouble. Make a list of what you find, and you will have a better idea of where not to buy. Be careful not to mention unfavorable reviews when you get to the dealership, though; no good will come from putting a salesman on the defensive. In addition, do some basic research on the vehicle that you want to purchase. That way, you will not be paying for “extra features” that should come stock.
- Choose Your New Car Wisely – Don’t get the newest, most hyped vehicle on the market at the moment. Choose a car that comes with as many options as possible so that you don’t have to pay extra for all the bells and whistles. A big influence on which vehicle you want to choose is to know what the dealership paid for that vehicle. It may seem like a daunting task but it is very doable. Search for dealership specific “invoice prices” online and you might be surprised how easy it is to find.