Most items come with a fixed price tag that you can't argue about - they're practically written in stone. Besides coupons or the occasional promotional offer, there are very few ways to save. Big purchases, however, are, somewhat strangely, an exception to the rule. Any veteran car buyer will understand that bargaining is an important part of buying a car, and, depending on your personality, often the most fun or stressful part. Negotiations make some people feel uncomfortable, but for others it is their calling in life. So if you are in the market for a new car, but are fairly new to the game and haven't yet honed your negotiation skills, here are some simple tips for bartering down the price for any car.
1) Be Willing to Walk Away
Car dealers are trained to gauge how much a potential buyer wants the car. It's simple: by demonstrating your willingness to leave and find another seller, you improve your chances of receiving a better offer. And don't feel like there is some sort of deadline - there isn't. Dealers are used to long negotiations, so if their final offer is still not low enough, threaten to leave and, most importantly, follow through if necessary. Remember that you can always come back later to resume your negotiations. Make sure to leave your number so that the dealer can contact you with a better price. Remain polite throughout the whole process, let them know that you are going to buy a car and encourage them to call you if they can make a better offer.
2) Get to Know the Car
Learn everything you can about the car you are trying to purchase. Dealers look for potential buyers who are not car experts, so by thoroughly researching the car you want to buy, you can demonstrate that you won't be easily suckered into a deal that represents poor value for money. If you want to buy a Toyota Corolla, get to know what models are available, what features come as standard, what added extras are possible, the car's horsepower and how its value is expected to depreciate over time. Car salesmen are adept at making a car look and sound better than it is in order to secure a higher sales price, so be prepared to rebut any misinformation you may encounter. Remember that buying a car is a major financial commitment, and research accordingly.
3) Investigate the Competition
Just like any other industry, car dealers have to compete with each other for customers - and the competition can be fierce. Use this to your advantage. By visiting a few car dealers and getting a feel on what they charge, you can use this as leverage. Even if you have to drive to a nearby town, make sure that you have quotes from multiple dealers. One tactic you might want to consider is to get a written offer from a dealer to take to a rival. By using this as a starting point for negotiation, you may be able to incite a bidding war. Remind dealers on occasion that you have other options and are willing to use them. Note that it is often beneficial to shop for cars near the end of the month when sales staff are under pressure to hit their targets and may therefore be more malleable in terms of their pricing.
4) Negotiate for Upgrades
After careful negotiations, a car dealer might simply be unwilling to lower the price any further. While they may be bluffing, there's usually a point when they will simply refuse to drop the price. This does not have to end your negotiations with them. If you are buying a van, for example, offer to pay their price but only if they install a towing hitch to the vehicle. Dealers have been known to take offers like this in exchange for finalizing the deal.
5) Talk to Contacts on the Phone
One technique car dealers use is to leave the room and talk to a boss or coworker. In doing so, they try to intimidate buyers into thinking that they simply cannot lower the price any further. Adopt this technique while negotiating. Find someone you know and trust who is knowledgeable about cars and then call them and ask for their input if you are unsure how to proceed. Since they are not in the room negotiating, they may be better able to assess the deal on the table. This may also lead the dealer to realize that their standard tactics are unlikely to be effective with you.
Buying a car doesn't have to be intimidating - it is exciting! The negotiation process is, whether you like it or not, a necessary part of buying any car. By preparing yourself for the process, you can often get the car you want for much less. Remind yourself of the money you can save, and use it to motivate you towards negotiating as effectively as possible.