BUYING A CAR? HOW TO TALK TO THE CAR DEALER

Written by gary on June 2nd, 2010
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Do you hate the thought of shopping for a new car? Afraid you’ll say the wrong thing to a car dealer that will give him the upper hand in the price battle? Chances are , you will. It doesn’t have to be that way though…confused car buyer

For starters, the wide access of the Internet allows car shoppers to go into battle armed with more information today than ever before. It’s quite easy to get basic information from sites like kbb.com that includes MSRP, features, options and reviews on any car you might have your eye on before you visit a car dealer.

Here are some things candidly from car dealers that suggest What To Say and What Not To Say once you’re on a car dealer’s turf.

  • Don’t start talking about monthly payments. Focus on negotiating the purchase price. Everything gets confusing when talking monthly payments because suddenly you don’t know if that’s the payment for 24 months, or 36 months, or how much of that would include interest charges if you’re financing. Dealers want to try to get you to negotiate monthly payments instead of purchase price because they make more money financing the car.
  • It’s OK to mention that you might want to trade your car in, because you don’t want to get caught telling them something that isn’t true. You may just tell the sales rep, ‘We’ll talk about that later, let’s just focus on the price of the new car for now. Hammering to get the most money for your trade in may not save you money in the end though because once they’ve loaded up in your car, it may be pretty hard to get them to lower a sale price on the new car.

These days, with CarMax and DriversWay being almost everywhere, a consumer might want to consider not trading their car in at all, and just selling it to one of those large dealers. You will almost always get a better price for it if you sell it than what a dealer will give you in trade-in value.

  • There’s nothing wrong with telling the car dealer that you’re definitely looking to a buy a car in the next few days. Look, dealers are trying to make a living and if they think you’re just out kicking tires and are six months away from making a purchase, they might think you’re wasting their time, so you won’t get as much attention from them.
  • Do your homework, find out what incentives are out there, and use a payment calculator you can find online so you’re educated on how much car you can get into for the price you want to pay.
  • Get preapproved for a car loan before you hit the showroom marathon. That way, if you’re pre approved to get your financing elsewhere, dealers will not have leverage to hit you with a high interest rate. That’s what a lot of dealers will try to do without even knowing what your credit rating is.
  • If you’re lucky enough to have plenty of loose coin lying around and want to pay cash for your car, you may not want to announce it right up front. Dealers anticipate making money on the back end with financing. If they know you’re paying cash, the dealer knows he has no opportunity to make money off you from financing. So, he might not be negotiable on purchase price since he isn’t going to make any money off you from financing. This also holds true if you’ve been preapproved for financing. It may be best not to reveal your hand on the outset that you don’t plan to use dealer financing before you negotiate the vehicle price.  After negotiating the purchase price, you can always say, “I changed my mind”.
  • It’s OK to say you’ve been to other dealers, because cross-shopping between two dealers is always a good idea. From the dealer standpoint, customer service is what separates one dealership from another dealer who sells the same brand. Some customers are willing to pay more money if they were treated right during the purchase process, because that’s a pretty good indicator that you’ll also be treated right later on, when you come back to have your car serviced or repaired.
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4 Comments so far ↓

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