How to Negotiate with a Car Dealership by Fax

Couple buying a car after negotiating with the dealership by fax machine.

Negotiating with car dealerships by fax machine has become an outdated technique because of the popularity of the internet and email.

However, it can still be very effective in getting you a great deal on a new car. Dealerships still periodically receive fax requests from potential car buyers, who still look at them as an opportunity to sell a vehicle.

Is Negotiating With a Dealer By Fax Effective?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is the internet and email have turned fax negotiating into the “VCR” of negotiating a new or used car’s price. It all comes down to the speed of modern technology, and the fax machine is just not as fast as email.

I highly suggest you contact dealerships by email since the technique is much faster and more up-to-date with today’s technology. You’ll also have a better chance someone will respond to you promptly, and your request will not end up in the trash.
At one time, negotiating prices with a car dealership by fax was the best way to get huge discounts on new and used cars without ever having to step foot into a car dealership. Negotiating by fax is doing the same thing as you would through email, just slower.

A couple of problems with using a fax machine to negotiate a new car’s price are taking time to track down the dealer’s fax number and knowing if it will ever get into the right person’s hands.

Fax machines are very busy in a dealership; people constantly fax or receive something. You don’t want your fax scooped up by one of the accounting ladies or service personnel. Not recognizing what it is, your request may be discarded unintentionally.

You can still receive an excellent deal if your fax request gets in the right hands. In this section, I’ll show you the most effective way to format a fax letter and how to use this technique to negotiate the lowest price on your next new car.

Collect Information to Start the Fax Negotiation Process

There are a few things you’ll need before beginning this process. You will need a fax machine, the car dealership’s fax numbers, and the vehicle information which you’d like to buy.

Pick out the car you want to buy

The first thing you want to do is pick a vehicle you’re interested in. You can go to a car dealership when they’re closed and write down the information or gather it from online automotive listing sites such as Ryde Shopper, Edmunds, and Motor Trend. You will need the year, make, model, and vehicle identification number (VIN). You will also need the dealership’s fax number.

The best online car buying sites have made the fax contact technique outdated because of their ease of use. You can quickly get free new car quotes delivered to your inbox and then use them to negotiate an even better price between dealerships in your local area.

Find the dealership’s fax number

You now need the car dealer’s fax numbers. Call the dealers within a 50 to 75-mile radius of you that carry the vehicle you want to purchase. Ask the receptionist for the fax number the new or used car sales managers use. You will also like the manager’s name over the department of the type of car you want, new or used. This will make the fax more personal when received and make the manager more inclined to get a response to you quickly.

Sometimes there are several fax machines in a car dealership. You want to ensure your fax goes to the sales department or internet department, whichever is applicable. If your fax ends up in a different department, like service or accounting, it may be thrown in the trash and lost forever.

Initial Fax Template to Send to a Car Dealership

It’s time to type or handwrite your fax requesting a price quote on the vehicle you’re interested in. You will want to be short, sweet, and to the point.

You can use my templates below if you’d like. Make sure you personalize the areas to meet your needs.

Dear [Sales Manager’s Name]

My name is [First Name Only]. I’m looking to purchase a new vehicle within the next three days. I am contacting several dealerships in the local area and will buy a car from the dealer who provides me with the best-discounted price and customer service.

Will you please provide me with your best price for a [year] [make] [model] [trim] [VIN if applicable]. Please be very specific in your response with applicable fees and add-ons such as destination fee, doc fee, splash guards, dealer added options, etc. I will be making my decision based on the lowest “out-the-door” price; everything included other than TT&L.

My color choices are [state color choices here]. Please provide as much information as possible on your available cars, including the VIN, so that I can make an informed buying decision.

Again, I’m interested in acting quickly on my purchase, and I’m fully prepared to give the dealership I buy the vehicle from a perfect 100% on their customer satisfaction survey. I will also be doing all my service and preventive maintenance with the dealership I purchase my car from.

Yours truly,

[Your name]
[Your fax number]

Send the above fax letter to every car dealership on your list, preferably in the early morning, before 10 am. If you don’t get a response by 2 pm, resend the fax.

Make sure the quotes match the vehicle you’re considering, and you’re comparing apples to apples. Once a dealer responds to you, send dealer fax template #2.

Second Car Dealership Fax Template

Use the second fax template to follow up with the dealer.  (Feel free to cut and paste)

Dear [Sales Manager’s Name]

Thank you for providing me with a price quote on the [year] [make] [model] [trim] [VIN if applicable]. I prefer to buy the vehicle from your dealership because your history of excellent customer service by your quote takes you out of the race.

As I stated before, I am prepared to give a 100% CSI score to whomever I buy my new vehicle from, and I will also be servicing my car at your facility.

I’d still consider it if you’d like to review your numbers and fax another quote today.

Yours truly,

[Your name]
[Your fax number]

The above fax will stroke the manager’s ego a little, and you may or may not get a return response with a lower price. The dealer may send you fax back that tells you there is “no way” another dealer beat their price and demands you tell them the price you were quoted before they’ll give you another quote.

Many dealerships use this negotiation technique to get you to tell them the price you’ve been quoted. Please DO NOT GIVE THEM A PRICE!

Respond to the dealership with final dealership fax template #3.

Final Car Dealership Fax Template

Use the final fax template for one last shot.  (Feel free to cut and paste)

Dear [Sales Manager’s Name]

By how you have responded, I am delighted with the price the other dealer has quoted me. Put yourself in my shoes. If I give you the other dealer’s quote, you’ll just cut it by $50-$100, and then I’ll have to go back and check with him, and he’ll cut your price by a few $100. All that does is turn into a back-and-forth nightmare for me.

I would also like to remind you I will be servicing my vehicle at your facility, and I’m prepared to give you a perfect 100% score on your Customer Satisfaction Index Survey.

All I know is that your dealership has a reputation for having outstanding customer service, and I would prefer to buy my vehicle from your dealership. If you’d like to fax me another quote, I will look at it. It’s up to you.

Yours truly,

[Your name]
[Your fax number]

Again you’ll either get another quote from the dealer or not. If you don’t get another section, you’ll know he gave you the best price he car no. Again a dealer WANTS to sell you a car and won’t risk losing the deal over a couple of hundred dollars. Keep playing dealers off each other until you stop getting responses.

The final auto dealer to react with the most reasonable offer WINS! Pat yourself on the back; you just got an OUTSTANDING price using the fax technique.

Now all you have to do is go to the dealer, test drive the vehicle, and do the paperwork. However, now is not the time to let your guard down; there are many ways a dealer can take advantage of you. One of those areas is during the finance process of buying a car.

About the author
Carlton Wolf is the author and founder of Auto Cheat Sheet.My name is Carlton Wolf, and I’ve been in the car business since 1994, both retail and wholesale. I created the Auto Cheat Sheet to better educate buyers about the deceptive sales practices used by many dealerships throughout the country. Please understand that not all car dealers are dishonest. However, you never know who you’ll be dealing with, though. I’m willing to share my knowledge and experience with anyone who listens. Keep in mind that I’m a car guy, not a writer.

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