Buying a new car should be fun and exciting not stressful and frustrating. Next to purchasing a home...buying a new car is the second most expensive thing most people will purchase in their lifetime. This section of AutoCheatSheet.com will provide you with the expert advice and tools you need to buy a new vehicle with confidence and know you got a great deal.
Car salesmen love nothing more than an uneducated car shopper. The average person buys a car about every three years and believes they're experts at negotiating a car deal. However, car salespeople sell cars for a living, all day, everyday.
How can you negotiate a fair profit offer on a new car when you don't know what one is yourself? Car dealers are professional players, how can you expect to win a game if you don't know the rules? Rule number one of the car buying process is, "Do Your Homework First!"
Paying the lowest new car price is only one aspect of the car buying process. There are several other areas a dealer can take advantage of you. Read our new car buying tips section entirely to educate yourself on how to buy a new car and avoid being ripped off by a car dealership.
How to Buy a New Car and Save Money
New car dealerships are always in fierce competition with each other and they will do just about anything to keep you from buying a vehicle from the "other guy." Knowing this and using competition to your advantage, will guarantee you get a new vehicle and a great deal.
Getting the lowest price is only one aspect of making sure you receive a good deal. There are several areas during the new car buying process where a dealer can take advantage of you.
To make sure you receive a good deal on your next car. Follow the below steps to maximize your savings and guarantee you get a great deal when buying your next new vehicle.
Steps to Buying a New Car
- New Car Quotes - Research vehicles online and get several free, no-obligation quotes to get a feel of the market and demand of the vehicle you're considering.
- Negotiate Vehicle's Price - Work dealers against each other by email or phone to guarantee you pay the lowest available price and avoid haggling with salesman.
- Get a New Car Loan - Arrange financing before contacting a dealer to protect yourself from costly car dealer finance scams.
- Extended Auto Warranty - Request a couple of free online quotes to use as leverage to negotiate a better warranty price with a dealership.
- Car Insurance - Check insurance rates on the vehicle you're buying so you can budget the amount into your monthly budget.
You can complete the above steps from the privacy of your own computer. Once completed, they will provide you with the information you need to level the playing field and protect you from paying too much for your next new vehicle. The only thing left for you to do is test drive the vehicle and sign the paperwork.
Car Selling Hasn't Changed, Car Buying Has
The way dealerships sell cars hasn't changed much over the past decade. However, the way people buy cars has. A few short years ago if you wanted to buy a new car. You'd have to waste all day visiting one dealership after the next, spending endless hours looking at vehicles and haggling with salespeople in the hopes of receiving a good deal.
"The Internet Has Changed The Way People Buy New Cars"
Other than visually inspecting and test driving the vehicle, you can do 95% of your new car shopping online from the comfort of your personal computer. More and more people are using the internet and its vast wealth of information to research and compare new vehicles before visiting a dealership. Savvy car buyers understand they can do their pre-shopping online, avoid the dealership, and not have to deal with the frustration and aggravation of haggling with salespeople and their managers.
New Car Shopping on Your Mobile Device
Anything that can be done on your home computer can also be done on your smartphone or mobile device. You can research and compare vehicles or even get new car price quotes sent to you on your Smartphone, tablet or iPad. Anywhere you have an internet connection, you can do your new car research online.
What New Car Dealers Don't Want You to Know
What car dealers don't want you to know is that new cars are commodities. They all must pay the same price for a new vehicle from the manufacturer. It's up to the individual dealer on how much they're willing to discount the price of the car.
A dealer in Seattle will pay the same price as a dealer in Miami. If you live in an area where there are nine dealerships selling the same brand of vehicle, you'll want to get more than just one or two prices from a couple dealers. You will want to inquire with each dealer to find out which one will be the most flexible with discounting the vehicle.
Car dealers know smart car buyers shop online, they also understand if they're going to compete with other dealers in the area, they must be aggressive when pricing their vehicles online.
Buying a New Car - Timing is Everything
If you catch a dealer at the right time, he may sell you a vehicle well below cost. The new car you're looking to buy might be old or costing the dealer money sitting on his lot and just need to go away. The dealer could be only one or two sales away from a sales quota that pays him huge bonus...You just never know.
If you happen to inquire about the right car at the right time and have done your homework, you may receive a once in a lifetime deal.
There are millions of new cars listed for sale online. Automotive listing sites make it easy for you to cast your net far and wide and then narrow down your search parameters to find the exact vehicle you're looking for within minutes.
How Dealers Make Money Selling New Cars
Receiving the lowest price is not your only goal when buying a new car. There are several areas a dealer can attempt to make an excessive profit from you when selling you a car.
- The list price of the vehicle.
- Low balling or undervaluing you trade.
- Adding points to your interest rate.
- Insurance and maintenance packages.
- Additional fees or phony charges.
- Dealer added options.
- Money down.
A dealer can secretly manipulate one or more of these areas during the negotiating process. For example, if you focus on one area such as the "list price" of the car. The dealer may lower it and increase his profit in a different area such as "undervaluing your trade" or "adding points" to your interest rate. Dealers are experts at this game and have fine tuned their skills with decades of experience.
As you move on to other areas, the dealer will play "cat and mouse" with you until you get tired and make a costly mistake. This is why dealers and their salespeople drag out the car buying process in the hopes of wearing you down.
Read more on how to negotiate a new car's price here.
Additional New Car Buying Tips and Advice
How Much Should You Pay for a New Car
One of the most common questions I receive is, "How much should I pay for a new car?" If you offer to pay too much for a vehicle, the dealer will jump all over it. If you're offer is low and unrealistic, the dealer may not take you serious and even laugh you out the building.
Before negotiating the price of a new car, you'll want to have a good idea of how much money a dealer has in the vehicle. You can do this by researching, available for free online, and calculating the dealer's true new car cost.
Once you've figured the cost, you can calculate a fair profit offer to present to the dealer. Your "offer to buy" will be realistic and the dealer will know you're prepared and have done your homework.
When is the Best Time to Buy a New Car
There is plenty of information on the internet about the best time to buy a new car. Be cautious if the information your reading is coming from individuals that have never worked in the day-to-day grind of a dealership. As a car dealer, I can tell you in my experience what some of the best and worse times are to buy a new or used car from a dealership.
To buy a new car at the absolute lowest possible price, you will need to buy it when it has the largest customer rebates and factory-to-dealer incentives available from the manufacturer.
Normally these times are around June to October when the new models arrive from the dealership and then the end of the year when people are focused on the holidays and not car shopping.
If you can't wait to purchase a vehicle or need to buy one right now. Educate yourself on other best times to buy a car before making contact with a dealership.
Buying a New Car Based on Monthly Payments Alone
This is one of the worst mistakes a car buyer can make. There are still thousands of people that walk into dealerships and purchase new vehicles using this technique. People believe they can buy anything as long as it fits within their monthly payment range.
If a dealer can get you to focus on a monthly payment , they have a better chance of making a lot more profit from the sale of a car. They can do this by adding excessive profit or additional products to the car deal without your knowledge.
Here's an example: You want to buy a $35,000 car and you tell the dealer you'll buy the car if they can get you payments under $450 per month. After some back and forth negotiating (acting), the dealer may have stretched out your term to 60-72 months or more to get you under $450. In doing so, the dealer may have increased your interest rate or add a couple thousand dollars to the price of the car to get you "UP" to your requested payment. You'll never know though, because you were too focused on monthly payment and not the overall purchase price of the vehicle.
Always focus on the final purchase price of the vehicle you're negotiating. You can then use that amount to calculate your monthly payment.
New Car Discounts, Rebates, and Secret Incentives
Manufacturers will occasionally run these kinds of special programs to help dealers promote new car sales to the public. A dealer will not always come straight out and tell you if these discounts are available so they can attempt to pocket the money.
It's important for you to know if the specific vehicle you're considering has one of these discounts available because they will affect the overall cost of the vehicle and may allow you to receive a much greater deal. Read more on how to find out if a vehicle has rebates or incentives available and how to figure a car dealer's true new car cost here.
Insider New Car Buying Tip
Competition between dealers will always get you the best price. Having car dealers compete online in a low price bidding war cuts out haggling with a car salesman and is the best way to guarantee you pay the lowest price on your next new car. By requesting free, no-obligation price quotes from online services and then playing them off each other makes them compete between each other and not with you.
Don't Be Afraid to Walk Away
This may seem like basic advice but I'm going to say it anyway, "Don't get emotionally involved!" You'd be surprised how many people I've seen make some pretty dumb purchase decisions based on emotions. A dealer knows when you've become emotionally involved and they know how to turn the heat up when you let this happen. Don't forget, you're the one in control, if the dealer is not willing to negotiate or you feel uneasy about the car deal, be polite and walk away. I promise you'll find another car you'll want to buy.
Get a New Car Loan Beforehand
One of the areas of the new car buying process commonly overlooked is financing your vehicle. Do not solely rely on a dealership to arrange financing for you. This will leave you vulnerable to costly dealer finance scams that may cost you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
By getting a pre-approved car loan before contacting a car dealership. You'll know how much money you can borrow, interest rate, payment, and terms you qualify for. You can also use this information to level the playing field negotiating a better rate with a dealership.
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