How to Bargain for a New Car

by Bree Johnson

If you’re in the market for a new car, you probably want to get the best available car for the least amount of money. Automobile dealers may try intimidate you or hassle you into buying a car that doesn’t meet your needs or your budget just to secure a hefty sales commission for themselves. In order to keep a level head during price negotiations and walk away with a deal you’re comfortable with, you’ll need to know how to bargain for a new car before you visit the dealership.

Learn everything you can about the car. Visit a blue book value website to find the fair market value of the car and compare this price with those of local dealerships. Scour the Internet for consumer reports and reviews from people who’ve purchased or test driven the car and check the manufacturers’ website (see Resources) to learn of any special incentives or rebates that may benefit you when you bargain for a new car.

Locate information about the car’s fuel economy, warranty coverage, standard equipment and options. Gathering as much information as possible about a new car on your own will help you determine how much the car is worth to you and ensure that a salesperson won’t be able to mislead you during a high-pressured sales pitch.

Check the blue book value of your trade-in. If you intend to trade your old car in on a new one, it is important to know what your old car is worth to the dealer. Stand firm about the trade-in value of your car and don’t let a dealer belittle it to encourage you to accept anything less than what the car is really worth. If the dealer is unwilling to give you the full trade-in value for your car, consider purchasing from another dealer or selling your car on your own and using the money to place a larger down payment on a new car.

Determine what price you can comfortably afford to pay for the car. When you bargain for a new car, your task will be easier if you already know what you can afford to pay in cash and in monthly payments to your finance company. Don’t worry if the dealer comes up with a price that is well out of your comfort zone. That’s what car bargaining is all about. As long as your set price is reasonable and comparable to the car’s actual value, you shouldn’t have any problems purchasing a new car on your own terms.

Try not to appear too anxious or desperate when car shopping. Nothing spells “big money” to a dealer like an anxious buyer who may be willing to overlook certain aspects of a car and pay an inflated sales price just to drive away in a new automobile. Even if you love the car and it’s perfect for you, try not to let the dealer see your enthusiasm. It’s hard to bargain for a new car if you’ve already convinced the dealer that the car is sold before price negotiations begin.

Be willing to walk away. If negotiations are at a standstill and you find yourself haggling with the dealer over a few hundred dollars, try to walk away. Shake hands, thank the dealer for his or her time, and try to leave the dealership. Your determination may help you more than any other factor when you bargain for a new car. If there’s only a few hundred dollars standing in the way of a sale, most dealers won’t let your feet touch the pavement before they’re willing to negotiate a little more.

If the dealer does let you walk away, don’t worry. You’ll probably receive a pleasant call in a few days telling you that the salesperson has spoken with the manager and they believe they can close the deal under your terms. Just don’t fall for the “I can’t believe my manager agreed to this. We’re practically giving this car away,” ploy. The dealership wouldn’t sell you the car if they weren’t making money on the deal.


  • check You may have better luck when you bargain for a new car near the end of the year when dealers receive new cars and are anxious to sell the older ones.

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About the Author

Bree Johnson began writing professionally in 2004, penning articles for Internet SEO companies before breaking into copywriting in 2008. Since then, she has written ad copy for some of the world's most lucrative Halloween costume retailers, including Halloween Adventure and New York Costumes. Johnson majored in medical sonography at Forsyth Technical Community College and real estate while living in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

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