Getting Straight Answers From Your Car Dealer

October 11, 2010
Question: Why is it so difficult to get a straight answer from my local car dealer about prices? When I ask for new car prices, the salesperson tells me that he will make sure that I’ll get a good deal, but doesn’t provide any figures. And when I ask about the value of my trade-in, he says to wait until his used car manager can see it. This is frustrating!

The Internet has changed how we buy cars from major dealerships. The savvy car buyer pre-negotiates as much of the deal as possible before they ever set foot inside a showroom. This new approach--the new rules of car buying--not only nets a better deal for the consumer, but it reduces their level of stress. They are no longer at the mercy of the salesperson, the dealership’s managers, and a system designed to tilt the odds of getting a good deal against them in favor of the dealership.

How do the new rules affect car dealers? The bad news for them is that this new way of buying cars cuts into their bottom line. Dealers are not only trying to survive an economic downturn, but now, most of their customers walk onto their sales lot knowing the exact invoice price the dealer paid for the very car the customer wants to buy. This tilts the advantage towards the customer, and most dealers don’t like it one bit.

More Than a Good Deal
One of the most common lines you’ll hear at a car dealership these days is, “Don’t worry about the price; I’ll make sure that you get more than a good deal.” I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but when you hear those words you should know that as a consumer you’re doing something wrong. The new rules of car buying dictate that you pre-negotiate the selling price. This means that you should already know the dealer’s best price BEFORE you arrive at the showroom.

Always begin your vehicle search online. It's a kinder, gentler way to buy a car. And never walk into a car dealership to complete the transaction until you have pre-negotiated every possible aspect of the deal. This includes the selling price, the value of the trade, the interest rate you’ll pay on your car loan, and the price of all accessories and extras you plan to purchase.

Car dealers hate working this way because it costs them money. Try it, and you’ll run into their resistance to providing you with the information you need. However, it is possible to stay in control of your car buying experience and pre-negotiate everything.

Tomorrow, hands-on advice on how to work with dealers to get the price information you need to stay in control of your car buying experience.

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