Negotiating a vehicle purchase
When you have finally decided to make your car ownership dreams a reality, the next step isn’t as easy as pointing at the car you want and telling that “I’ll take this”.
Buying a car isn’t as simple as buying a T-shirt at the mall or a carton of milk at the grocery store. Buying a car requires negotiation.
Know the numbers beforehand
It’s necessary to know almost everything there is about the car you wish to buy. Once you know exactly what you want, you need to know how much you should pay for it.
For instance, let’s say I wanted to buy a 2017 sedan. On the manufacturer’s website, it says that the car starts at $16,775. That number doesn’t include any customizations, includes a manual transmission, and is essentially the lowest listed price for the most basic version of that car.
Let’s say I live in Austin, Texas with the ZIP code 73301. I plug in all of the car’s data, choose the most basic version of the car, and guess what I found. For my location, the true market value for the car is $12,707. That’s the invoice price minus $4,000 in incentives and rebates. This would be the number I would aim to purchase my car for, give or take a few hundred dollars.
Stick to that number when negotiating
We don’t mean that you must be inflexible when it comes to price, because you may find you have to pay a few hundred dollars more than you’d hoped to lock down a deal. What I mean is salespeople will try different strategies to confuse you, one of which is to steer the conversation away from the total car price to other things like monthly payments, trading in your car, or even disputing your research.
Remember to steer the conversation back to the total purchase price. Anything else, such as car payments, financing, and trade-ins can be discussed after you’ve agreed on price. Be brave and stand your ground!
Make it known that you’re a serious buyer
Make it clear that you’re serious about buying a car, not just looking. That means doing your research, test driving the car a few times, having your quotes handy, and having your financing in order.
By letting the salesperson know this, you’ll be able to express confidently that if they sell you the car within your ideal range, you can help them make an easy sale.
Compare, compare, and compare some more
The best way to negotiate is to make it seem like you don’t need to buy from them and you can always go somewhere else. Remember, they’ll do almost anything to make sure you buy from them instead of a competitor, so take some time to consider your options.
You should never buy a car in a rush. Give yourself plenty of time to visit numerous lots, get quotes from several dealers, test drive the car, then select the dealerships who gave you the lowest quotes to negotiate with.
Know when to move on
Some salespeople are not reasonable, even if you make it sound like making a deal with you would be easy. If you find that they keep talking in circles and aren’t willing to go down to a price that you deem acceptable, you need to get up and say “Thanks for your help” before shutting the door on the way out. There are plenty of fish in the sea!