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How To Negotiate Car Price At A Dealership

By Liam Houghton


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Purchasing a car is perhaps the largest investment anyone will make, second to the purchase of their home of course. This is what makes it imperative to drive a hard bargain and make your money go as far as it can go. So that you get a fair price and enjoy the perks of owning a brand new car, without emptying your pockets completely. So if you are searching how to negotiate car price at a dealership, then this guide is for you. This post will guide you to get the right price, in both situations, whether you are buying a used car or a new vehicle.

Negotiating Car Price With A Dealer

Negotiating A Car Price
Negotiating A Car Price

For many, negotiating a fair price might seem like an intimidating process. But this doesn’t reduce its importance. If you don’t negotiate, you might actually end up paying more for your vehicle. Nevertheless, where there is a problem, there is always a solution, my friend. So, here are a few useful tips on how to negotiate with a car dealer and get that baby straight in your garage!

Do Your Research – Knowledge is Power!

This may seem a bit cliché. Of course, you need to find a car and do your research on it before you can negotiate for it, right? However, there are two mistakes many buyers make at this point, buying too soon and saying too much. So, use the time to your advantage. Remember, you don’t have to be in a hurry to get a good price. Patience is truly a virtue when it comes to negotiations.

You can start by taking a thorough look around dealerships. Shortlist the ones you find good and you think offer better rates. It’s perfectly acceptable to tell the dealer at this point that you are just looking around for an idea on what should be your next car. However, be sure to not disclose too much information on how much are you willing to pay or what your budget is.

Determine the ‘True’ Value of the Car – Research Again

Assuming you have found the perfect car that suits your budget and style, what now? Are you just going to prepare the cash, head to the dealer and purchase the vehicle? No, you are now going to research the ‘true’ value of the car. Remember, just because the dealer said, it doesn’t mean the price is right. Dealers always set the price bar a little high, so they get the offer they want.

Therefore, once you have settled on a particular vehicle, search the internet to determine what it is worth or visit other dealerships. Once you figure out the ‘true’ value, all you have to do is set a negotiation bar. You can even show the dealer that the car is being sold at a better price somewhere else, so it will be hard for them to turn down your offer.

It’s Time to Talk – Get a Sense of the Dealer

So, now that you have done your research and determined the ‘true’ value of the car, it’s finally time to talk to the dealer. Usually, it is best to begin the negotiation process 8 to 10 days before the end of the month. You know why? Dealers usually have monthly quotas to achieve near the end of the month, so they will be motivated and forced into accepting your offer.

At this point, you know the objective value of the car and its value to you. Now, you need to try getting an idea on how much the dealer will be willing to sell the car. One technique is to simply ask them directly. You can consider saying something like, “are you flexible at all on the price?” or “how much would it take, in cash, for you to sell this vehicle today?

Be Sensible – Play Your Cards Right

It is unlikely the dealer might answer the question, as they have been in the negotiating car price business for years and know exactly when and how to strike to get you into liking their offer. So, you need to play your cards right. Make it clear that you are a serious buyer, but only if the price is right. However, remember not to play it too cool, as the dealer might get the impression you aren’t interested.

Additionally, keep in mind that you are not trying to make a new friend when buying a car. Build a rapport and be gracious, but don’t get too friendly. Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount on the price either. Be confident and ask the dealer to sympathize with you. For instance, consider saying something like, “This is a great car and to be honest I really like it, but my wife will kill me if I spend too much money. How can we work this out?”

Whether or not your wife would be upset, that’s completely irrelevant. Generally, this is called appealing to someone who has greater authority than you. So, you can stay on good terms with the dealer, but still be able to push for a good deal.

Close the Deal – The Final Price

Closing The Deal On A Car
Closing The Deal On A Car

Now that you have gotten the dealer to sympathize with you, there are two methods you can use for the actual negotiating process, the ‘Haggling’ method or the ‘Stick to it’ method. With the haggling method, you will start low and then eventually reach the price you had set for the vehicle. The dealer will, of course, refuse the original offer and present you a counteroffer. You will counter that offer and keep countering it, until you reach the actual price you had set for the vehicle.

For the ‘Stick to it’ method, you simply start by offering what you believe is the lowest possible price for the vehicle. The dealer will of course refuse and test you with a counteroffer. This is when you just politely respond that you are sorry, but that’s as far as you can stretch your budget. Eventually, if the dealer will find your offer reasonable, he will give you a counter-offer close enough to the actual budget you had set for the car.

So, now that you know how to negotiate car price at a dealership, finding and purchasing a car that meets your style and budget won’t be a problem.

About Liam Houghton

Liam has been an automotive enthusiast probably since birth and grew up restoring classic cars with his dad. He still remembers the exact moment when his dad showed him the inner workings of an engine and learned how it works. Also an avid racing fan, especially when it comes to Formula 1, Liam has contributed a unique blend of insight into both the classic car brands and sports car segments on GCB since joining the team in 2016. Learn more about GCB's Editorial Process.

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