How to Talk a Dealer Down on a New Car

by Kristyn Hammond

Knowledge is the most powerful tool when you visit your local new-car dealer. Online research provides you with a powerful guide to reduce the cost of your new car and places the power of negotiation in your hands. Show your dealer that you have done your research and that you will not accept a bad deal for your new car. There are a few keys to letting your new-car dealer know that they are dealing with someone who is prepared and knows exactly what they are looking for.

Write down your specific needs. Consider how you will use the car, how many people will be traveling in it and how often you will drive it. A car dealer will try to sell you as many features as he can. Your aim is to purchase only what you need. For example, if you are purchasing a car for your child as her first automobile, safety features should be your first concern. If you will be driving the car every day on long trips, gas mileage will be your primary concern.

Do your homework. Dealers charge a significant price for certain upgrades. Common colors are often free, while uncommon colors can raise the price far more than they are worth. Check to see whether things like power seats refer to both front seats or just the driver's seat. Avoid upgrading the stereo through the manufacturer. Stereo systems purchased at a specialty store are generally of higher quality and less expensive.

Put together a folder before you go shopping. Include a copy of your credit report as well as online new-car price quotes. If you have an approved car loan from your bank, include this information. Contact your insurance agency and get a quote for insurance on the car that you are researching. Make a copy of the blue-book trade-in value for the car you are considering as well as quotes on past year models. Add a copy of any warranty information that you find on the manufacturer's website.

Avoid purchasing a car on your first visit. Show your dealer the folder to let him know that you have done your research and that you are serious about purchasing a new car from him. Visit the dealer multiple times before you make a final decision. Be sure to test-drive the vehicle.

Research the dealer's discount options. Dealers do not like to publicize this, but they have some freedom to decrease the price of new cars. Factory-to-consumer incentives are well publicized and available with only a little research. However, factory-to-dealer incentives make up a large percentage of a car's price. Researching these can be difficult, but knowing that they exist means understanding that your dealer has some leeway with the price. Dealers do not often want to give up their incentives; however, if you make them believe that doing so will make the sale, they will often cut into their own incentives to ensure the deal.

About the Author

Kristyn Hammond has been teaching freshman college composition at the university level since 2010. She has experience teaching developmental writing, freshman composition, and freshman composition and research. She currently resides in Central Texas where she works for a small university in the Texas A&M system of schools.

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