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New Car Shopping Tips

Assistance for the Timid, Faint of Heart, Restless, Angry or Those Who Feel Inadequate, Fearful and Just Plain Disgusted With Trying to Buy a New Car!

In order to overcome the dread of buying a new car, you merely need some knowledge of the business. You are about to embark on making a purchase that is second in magnitude only to a new home.

In order to protect yourself, you need some information as to the tactics of the average automobile dealership.

You will be surprised at how little time it takes to read, digest, memorize, practice and ultimately transform yourself from "sucker" to "expert" at negotiating for a new car or truck, and finding your way through the dealership maze from the Showroom, through the Business Office and out of the Service Department.

For you who are serious about buying a new vehicle, let's go!

  • The Time of Month to Get the Best Price
  • What to Do Before You Go to the Dealership
  • Dealer's Cost vs. Window Sticker
  • What to Do When You Arrive at the Dealership
  • Handling "Two Sticker, No Dicker" Dealerships
  • How to Handle Your Trade-In
  • The Finance Department a.k.a. "The Business Manager"
  • Taking Delivery

 

The Time of Month to Get the Best Price

Automobile dealers ususally pay their sales staff a commission based upon the amount of gross profit the salesperson develops from the sale of the vehicle. In addition to this regular commission, there are usually monthly volume bonuses that are paid when a certain number of units are sold.

The later part of the month is the time that the sales staff is eager to get the needed units to reach their goal so as to collect substantial bonuses that are offered. This includes the sales managers and assistants. Late in the month is the time to make your grand entry into the dealership to negotiate a fair deal.

It is not time just yet. There is some homework to be done.

What to Do Before You Go to the Dealership

The hardest part of a car deal is determining the actual value of your trade-in. Market Guide Books are merely an estimate. Year model, mileage and condition of your trade-in are the most critical aspects of its value.

To get an idea of the value of your trade, you must go around to various Used Car Lots and/or New Car dealers Used Car Departments and get a bid on your trade-in. Tell them you want to sell it and would like an offer. Do this at three or four different places and you should have a good idea of your trade-in's value.

Do not waste your time taking your trade-in to car lots that do not handle your type car. For example, a used car dealer that handles late models will not be interested in your older trade-in. If you have an older trade-in, most New Car Dealers will wholesale it to a Used Car Dealer that handles older cars.

Now armed with the value of your trade-in, call some dealers that handle your choice of brand and ask for the fleet department. If you are a member of a credit union, work for a company or work for yourself, you can buy through the fleet department. Here you usually don't have to go through the games that are played out with a floor salesperson.

Make an appointment to see the fleet manager on a day near the end of the month.

Dealer's Cost vs. Window Sticker

Being armed with the dealers' cost for the vehicle you want is not the answer to getting something for nothing. The dealer must make a profit. That's pretty clear.

It will not help you to advise the salesperson that you have the dealers' cost. Keep this information to yourself, and you will be negotiating from a position of power. Don't force your meeting to become a contest of wills.

Also, your best chance for a fair deal is to not antagonize your salesperson. You should play the salesperson and be polite, cordial and charismatic. Yet, keep the knowledge of the vehicle "cost" to yourself.

After leaving and applying these 8 tips, you will be able to buy a new car at $100.00 over dealer cost. You may have to weed out all of the dealer add-ons such as paint sealant, windshield etching (Theft Protection) and any add-ons that do not interest you.

If the vehicle you are looking for is extremely popular, you have to pay more or wait for dealer inventories to improve. On the other hand, if the dealership has a glut of these vehicles, you may buy closer to dealer's cost than I indicated.

If you are paying slightly over invoice and are getting what your trade-in is worth, you will have a great deal. The dealer won't retire to the South Pacific on the profit you allowed him, but it is a reasonable deal for both parties

What to Do When You Arrive at the Dealership

When you arrive at the dealership, go to the receptionist and ask for the Fleet Manager. Never ask a Floor Salesperson for the Fleet Manager, any one of them may claim to be him and you are off into a maze with no exit.

When you are face to face with the Fleet Manager, tell him exactly what you want and/or what vehicle you want to see.

Examine the vehicle carefully as all dents and scratches will be yours once you take delivery. Go over the window sticker and see how and if it differs from your Dealer's Invoice Cost that will detail all standard and optional equipment. Your Dealer's Invoice Cost that we provide will also give the suggested list prices for all of the options, as well as freight.

Take the vehicle on a test drive and see if it lives up to your dreams.

If all is in order, proceed to the office to get the best price. Ask if there are any unadvertised incentives that they are sharing with the customers. Also, ask about any low rate finance deals being offered.

If you are asked to make an offer, refuse until they commit first to a best price. Then you may counter-offer with a figure substantially below your best price. Work from there to the maximum you have set for yourself.

If during the negotiating they spring an invoice to convince you of their "good deal", I recommend you politely refuse, explaining that it really does not matter what the vehicle cost them, you have a target price to pay and arriving at that price is all that really interests you. This takes away some of their "steam".

At some point, they will need to get your trade-in appraised. When you give them they keys, tell them you want the keys back when they are finished with their appraisal. When they return, do not continue to negotiate until you get the keys back.

Do not give any money to show good faith. You can show good faith when they reach a price you can live with. They keys and the good faith money are only to intimidate you and keep you from jumping and running before they have reached their best price. You keep all that is yours and you will get to a "best price" much faster.

The Fleet Manager, if he is real, will not have to run back and forth to the Sales Manager for pricing. If he does, he probably is not the Fleet Manager, but a Floor Salesperson posing as one.

Beware of "payment" offers such as "You can own that car for $450.00 a month, Mr. Customer."

You should know what the payment is going to be after you decided on the price you could pay. This should be already in your mind.

When you reach an acceptable price, it is customary to sign the transaction sheet and leave a deposit. Taxes and other charges will be listed at the bottom of the sheet. Only you will know for sure if they are appropriate. Know you state laws and your tax rate for automobiles... sometimes the tax rate is different.

Handling the "Two Sticker, No Dicker" Dealership

Saturn and a lot of other dealerships have gone to the "Two Sticker, No Dicker" philosophy. They have a way of violating their own policy if they see you are not going to buy at their price.

The way they can get around this is to give more for your trade than the appraisal. You will never know what they really appraised it for, so don't waste your time getting nowhere. You will know what it is worth and implement your own pricing policy and advise them that if they stick to their price you must ask "X" number of dollars for your trade-in.

If you don't have a trade-in and are buying straight out, you may have to shop another brand or another dealership.

Many shoppers report the so called "One Price" policy is not as good a price as you get after going through the "grinder" at the dealerships that operate under the negotiated price philosophy.

How to Handle Your Trade-In

Your trade-in will usually cause the most haggling that you will become involved with. As covered elsewhere in these "TIPS", some dealer's policy is to appraise your vehicle, then keep the keys in the sales manager's office. This is an intimidating trick you don't have to put up with. Merely tell them the negotiating is over until they return your keys. You have the right to jump up and leave whenever you please.

Get this straight in your mind, you are selling a vehicle while trying to buy another. Call it a trade-in or whatever, the fact is you are also a salesperson.

With that in mind, clean your car to the nth degree. Remove all half-eaten hot dogs, papers and all personal items. Remove all papers from the glove box. You can be assured the appraiser will go through the glove box looking for mortgage information, or to see if you brought the title and for just plain nosiness. Don't forget the trunk, make sure your spare tire is bolted down (prevents rattles), vacuum the trunk carpet and wipe down the entire area.

One thing you might leave in the car is brochures from other dealerships. This let's them know, or think, you have been heavy shopping and know your way around.

After the inside is immaculate, wash and polish, if necessary, the entire car. Clean or have the engine degreased. Not painted with lacquer, just cleaned. If the tires are slick, invest in a set of used tires. The appraiser will deduct for a set of new tires if yours are slick. The used ones will be good enough for him to resell your car and not deduct.

Any maintenance receipts that you have for things like tune-ups, oil changes, really anything that will impress you prospect (the appraiser), should be left in the glove box. Trust me, they will be found.

Make sure the power steering belt does not screech and that the air conditioner blows cold. provided it doesn't cost too much to repair. An air conditioner that does not blow cold will be deducted at an amount in the hundreds of dollars. If it only needs freon, get it done. Screeching power steering belts can indicate a faulty power steering, at least that is what they will hit you with.

You see what we are after here, don't you? If they sell you a new car for absolute dealer's cost and give you less than yours is worth by $1000.00, you've made a bad deal. Give the appraiser as little reason as possible to deduct. Keep the price of the new vehicle and the price of your trade-in separate in your mind. Once you are satisfied, you can then talk taxes and monthly payments.

Make certain you have your Service Contract papers and any transfer forms that are needed. This will make your trade more valuable as the dealer can offer the remaining coverage to the next buyer.

I have found a well funded old company that writes Extended Warranties for up to 60% less. They have coverage that exceeds the factory warranty, such as a Rent Car, Key/Lockout and much more. Available on new or used cars.

The Finance Department a.k.a. "The Business Manager"

Arriving in the Business Office can cost you all that you gained during the purchase of the vehicle. So, before you make a decision as to who finances your vehicle, be sure you shop at your bank, credit union, Mom and Dad, Uncle Walter or anyplace else you might borrow money. Shopping the interest rate is just as important as shopping for the vehicle; unless, of course you are paying cash.

Have some idea of what you can do before you let every Tom, Dick or Harry check your credit. Each lender will first check to see where all you have applied. A lot of credit bureau inquiries makes you look like you've been turned down, and although your credit is good, each lender thinks the others know something bad. They are a lot like sheep. This is why you should limit the number of credit reports you permit to be pulled.

Some dealership finance companies offer, from time to time, a low rate special like 2.5%. But, the details reveal that you must pay 40% down and finance for 24 months and you must have a blue wart on the end of your nose.

If you can stand the terms, the low interest rate deal is a real buy, it's just that they raise the sticks pretty high. But, if you're a high jumper...

You seldom qualify for the low-rate deal. So, get their best rate with a down payment that fits your budget, tell them you will get back to them. Do not give a credit application unless you know you are going to do business there and then.

After that, you are on your own. You will be offered Credit Life, Accident and Health, (Croak and Choke), Paint Sealant (Mop and Glow) and everything from mechanical zit removers to hand painted neckties during your visit to the Finance Department.

If you consider the Service Contract, remember it does not kick in until the factory warranty expires. So, if time is the factor, the 5 year contract may only pay claims for 2 years, provided the Factory warranty is for 3 years. If mileage is a factor, then be your own judge.

I have found a first rate company with an excellent claims paying reputation that offers up to 60% savings on Extended Warranties with more coverage than the factory offers. Including Rent Car, Key/loc out and more. It can be used now. Check it out. CLICK HERE!

Taking Delivery

Walk around your new vehicle before going into the Business Office to sign the papers. Check for nicks, dents and scratches that are going to be yours forever if you don't point them out now.

If you haven't ask to meet the Service Manager and ask him about recommendations for service and maintenance. Ask if all recall procdures have been performed on you car. It's good to know the Service Manager.

This being done, you will have made a shopping nightmare into a normal business transaction. The keys to a good deal are, shopping your trade-in and knowing it's value, being aware of dealer's invoice cost and shopping the finance rate before showing up at the dealership.

Good Luck and Buckle Up!

 

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