Tips for Negotiating with Car Dealers

Getting the price you want on the car of your dreams can be a difficult process. Negotiating with car dealers can often seem like a futile process designed to frustrate the buyer and help the dealer get the price that they want. Following these basic tips can make it a little easier on you. Always remember to be polite at all times as it can only ever help.

Understanding Prices

The best place to start is with an understanding of vehicle prices. The dealer invoice is the price the manufacturer charges the dealership, and the dealer prices the car to make a profit. Dealers also often get cash incentives for selling specific vehicles, meaning it may be possible to negotiate these cars lower. Destination fees are the charges the manufacturer gives to the dealer for delivering the vehicle. Ask about all these fees to get a solid feel for the kind of money the dealer is looking to make on a car.

Pitch Low

Once you have considered all the above information, pitch a price that’s much lower than what you want to pay. This may take the dealer aback (or they may pretend it does) but this is a rather obvious tactic: pitching lower than you want means you can work up to the price you’re willing to pay. Trust us: the dealer will pitch a much higher price than they expect so they can work down to the price they want.

Shop Around!

In the 21st century there’s no reason to jump on the first deal you see anymore. Even the smallest towns have several car dealerships. Don’t be afraid to shop around and find base prices on a variety of vehicles in several dealerships. Play the dealers off each other: once a dealer thinks you’re going to a competitor, they are likely to drop their price significantly in order to appease you. After all, what’s a $500 loss when they could lose $20,000 by having you go to another dealer?

Be Firm

Don’t kowtow to the dealer and let them push the negotiations, but also don’t be too pushy or rude either. Instead, be firm on the price you want and have solid, reasonable arguments for why. This can include dealer incentives, Kelley Blue Book prices, and even the length of time the car has sat on the lot. Don’t settle for a price that’s too high just because you need a car; if you can’t get what you need, walk away.

May 16, 2013 by Jamie Rettig