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New Car Buying Process

Chapter 6: Buying A Vehicle (continued)

Be informed and confidentBuying your new vehicle-the process

  1. Dress well and walk in with confidence. A salesperson will approach you. Know the vehicle you are looking for, the options package you want and be prepared with a folder full of information and points target decided in advance.

    The goal of this step is to have the salesperson recognize you as a serious customer who knows what they want.

  2. Specify the vehicle, model, options package and price over invoice that you have decided to open the bidding with and don't let the topic shift. Make sure they know that you know what you are talking about, show them your information folder but don't reveal your actual points target, ever. They'll know they've hit it when you accept their counter-offer.

    This will begin your strategy to control the context of the negotiation. Keep the focus on the model and options package you already have in mind. Don't let them blur the issue by discussing monthly payments, switching options, models and/or changing the subject to talk about you and what you want. You know what you want to buy and what you want to pay for it and have just told them. They are just fishing for useful personal information.

  3. Talk in terms of price over invoiceGet the salesman talking in terms of price over invoice instead of MRSP. This is an important step. It will be what you know and it establishes your control over the negotiation. Let them know you will be including the other factors, like a customer rebate or a trade-in, after the price over invoice is determined.

    This continues your strategy to control the context of the negotiation. By keeping the focus on the elements of the deal that you know about, you take away the salespersons ability to work in profits you are unaware of.

  4. Don't wait around while the salesperson consults with others. Give them your contact information and let them know that they have a limited amount of time to accept your offer because you are buying soon and will buy from another dealer who is prepared to meet your price.

    This will put pressure on the salesperson and, again, maintains your control over the negotiation. Don't be surprised when they come back and say the first offer is too low.

  5. Counter their protestations that the price is to low by returning to the information you have at hand. Let them know the invoice price, the holdback, the demand and so on. Tell them the profit they are making on your offer with everything factored-in, let them know you are not prepared to give them more than that.

    This will re-affirm your position of knowledge. At this point you will likely be talking with a sales-manager or the salesperson will be aware of his limits from the consultations he will have had on your behalf. They should counter-offer at this point.

  6. Don't make any bids after the first one. It is tempting to say 'meet me halfway and we'll talk', especially when the halfway mark is your real target, but this is a mistake. Tell them, "No thanks, it is still a little too high." until they offer close enough to or meet your real target.

  7. Don't jump at the deal if they do meet your price target! Take a day to check your figures and make sure that this is the vehicle you want. Say you'll get back to them within a couple of days and let them know where to contact you if they decide to go down to your opening bid.

    Now you have what you need to talk to other dealerships: a firm price from a competitor.

  8. Phone or visit a few more dealers and see if you can improve on your firm price.

    If the vehicle you've chosen is over-supplied, or you find a dealer with a particular need to move wheels off the lot, you may get an even better deal than you had planned.

  9. If you've got the deal you want, the car you want and the options you want, it is time to see the finance manager. Make sure that you get any customer rebates, full trade-in value for your existing vehicle and any other special offers that may apply to you.

    Don't allow your negotiation to go bad at this point by signing a bad deal with the finance manager. It is probably simpler and cheaper to arrange financing through a bank or credit union but check on the dealership's financing offer just in case it is better. Remember though, low monthly payments usually mean a higher total price in the end.

  10. Do the math yourselfDo the math yourself. Use a calculator and add up the following:

    price-over-invoice + applicable-customer-rebates = taxable price.

    taxable-price + sales-taxes + freight-charge + dealer-advertising-fee = Total Cost

    Total Cost is the total amount you should pay for the vehicle. Don't pay any additional amounts without adequate explanations for them.

    Congratulations on your new vehicle!

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Compare dealer prices from multiple discount dealers in your area using Edmunds.

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It's the fast, easy and headache free way to shop!

Although checks with auto manufacturers and their representatives to confirm the accuracy of the data, it makes no guarantee or warranty, either expressed or implied with respect to the data presented here. All specifications, prices and equipment are subject to change without notice.

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