A Conversation for Buying a Car

Dealing with Dealers

Post 1

Kandyman - Keeper of Old Buses

This is most applicable to buying a new car.

The most important thing to remember is that you are in a very strong position. They have a showroom and factory full of cars which they've got to sell and you have the choice of who you are going to buy from. It's up to you to get the best deal you can from them.

It helps if you don't have a specific make/model in mind. Make a list of all the features you want in the car and give them a points value. Take a couple of weekends and visit as many makers showrooms as you can and see what generally provides what you want. Get brochures for all the models which come close to your spec.

Go home and study the brochures in detail - you will often find pluses and minuses hidden away in the small print. Modify your wants list in light of what you find in the brochures. Compare the features offered with your wants list and pick the 3 or 4 which score best.

Go back to the dealers and spend a lot of time looking at and sitting in your chosen models. If the dealer doesn't have the exact model you are considering ask them to get one from another dealer for you to see. Find out about servicing costs, warranties, courtesy cars. Test drive the cars as often as you need to and compare them with each other. If the salesman is unhelpful, don't accept this. Get up and walk out. You're better off with your third choice from a good dealer than your first choice from a bad one.

Don't be afraid to play one dealer off against another to get the best trade-in and discount deals you can.

Don't be conned into taking a "Cash-back" deal where the dealer gives you a cash sum and you take out extra finance. You lose out and the dealer makes extra commission on the additional finance you take.


(I just love it when its time to buy my next car)smiley - biggrin

Dealing with Dealers

Post 2

SchrEck Inc.

Buy your next car in autumn or - even better - in winter when business is low. The buzzword here is 'anticyclic'; a friend of mine bought his used convertible in january at -10°C and saved several hundred 'deutschmarks'. Just think of it, everybody's dreaming of a convertible when the sun is shining and one is sweating in a traffic jam, while normally nobody in his right mind buys one in winter.

Dealing with Dealers

Post 3

Jimi X

And *never* buy a car on your first visit to a dealership.

Their 'I can only offer you this price today' sales pitch is a load of bull.

Haggle with them, get the best price out of them that they're willing to offer and then walk away.

You can think more clearly outside of the showroom at your own leisure. Buying a car is a big decision and needs to be made rationally.

Plus, you can take their price to another local dealer and say 'Dealer A offered me this model at $X, can you beat their price?' If not and you're happy with the price, walk back to Dealer A and buy it. They always honor a price they set beforehand.

Get free Air Conditioning

Post 4

The Stinky Cheese Man

If you want to be a real hard bargainer, negotiate the very best price and walk away as JimiX said, but make sure it's a price excluding air-conditioning.

THEN, when you come back the next day, remind the dealer of his final offer and tell him you'll have the car right now if he throws in air-con for the same price.

He He, works a treat and is essential if you live in a hot country...

Get free Air Conditioning

Post 5


As Jimi and Beepo say take your time and remember you are in charge of the situation.

If you are girl this is five times as important, you could be Chief Mechanic for a Formula 1 team but they will see you coming and wonder what chance of ripping you off. smiley - smiley

Dealing with Dealers

Post 6

Researcher 185749

I used to be a car salesman in the UK, and would like to add to the comments already made by your very cunning contributors.
These tactics for putting one over on the dealer DON'T ALWAYS WORK.
Why is this the case, do you think?
An example in point: if you were selling apples to the public, and buying them for 10p each, what would you say if someone strolled up to you and offered you 5p per appple? My guess is that you tell them to 'coconuts'.
Dealerships only have a fixed profit in cars. Some, admittedley, have more profit in certain cars compared to other cars, or even other dealerships.
So it is completely fair to attempt to get the best deal that you can.
But to think that you can get free air-conditioning thrown in, as one contributor likes to think, is living in an altered reality.
Dealerships cost money to run. They invariably have stakeholders, in the form of shareholders or partners. They are not charities, and will not attempt to lose money.
The best way to get a good deal?
Do your homework. Don't annoy the salesperson by 'taking as many test drives' as you see fit. Have some respect for yourself and for the person or people you are dealing with. And most importantly of all, think about where the dealership is making most profit. That is where your bargaining power lies.
To the other contributors who think they can bully dealerships into getting what they want - you would not have liked to have met my sales manager. He would have shown you the door.
And before you flame me to death, we were one of the most successful dealerships in England. Why? Our customers kept coming back year after year. Respect. That is what it's all about.

Dealing with Dealers

Post 7

Jimi X

In the US, the margin for new cars is paper-thin. The major profits are to be had in their used car sales.

And of course those comments above are generalities. Some dealerships in the US - like Saturn for example, have a 'no games' policy. They state the price of the car - period. No pressure, no hassles.

But if you walk into a shark tank (like some dealerships) you should be prepared to fight back. Hardline tactics need to be used in dealerships with hardline salespeople.

smiley - cheers

- X

Dealing with Dealers

Post 8

Blatherskite the Mugwump - Bandwidth Bandit

Car dealers in the US, as Jimi said, have a very thin profit margin on new models. So where do they make their profit? After the deal is done.

Just when you think you've won the battle by haggling them down to the absolute lowest they can go (you can tell when this happens because they just shuffle the numbers around to the same old deal to make it look like less, like stringing out the payments for another 6 months. There will also be an air of desperation emanating from all involved), you agree to sign, let out your breath, and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. But now you've made a major investment, and they start offering all sorts of things to protect it. Would you like undercarriage rust-proofing? How about an alarm, or anti-theft ignition-lockout system? How would you like to extend that warranty for another 2 years?

That's where they get you, if you don't know what you're doing. Undercarriage rust-proofing is almost completely unnecessary, unless you drive on the beach. In any case, it's a simple spray-on chemical treatment, worth about $15. They'll charge you $150.

How about that alarm, or anti-theft device? They'll install it for you, but the electronics are a $45 value for the spectacular ones. They'll charge you over $200 for it.

Extended warranty? Not worth the paper it's printed on. There are so many loopholes that you'll be lucky to get anything fixed under that agreement.

Buy the car, turn down the extras, and if you require any of that sort of thing, have it done by someone else. Dealers are not the time and place for such things.

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