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Buying a New Car Cheaply - 10 Tips Print E-mail
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Automotive - Buy
Written by livecheap staff   

Buying a car isn't exactly a fun experience for most people. Cars are an unusual product. Two customers can go to the same dealer on the same day and buy the same car. But one customer ends up paying a lot less than the other. The price of a car often depends on the customer and his ability to negotiate.  There's no polite way of saying this - car dealers fully expect to make the majority of their profits by inflating the cost of everything and bullying their way with pushover customers.  Even if you're well informed on prices, the dealer has a host of tricks to maximize its profits.  Here are 10 Tips to buy a new car cheaply.

  1. Research, research, research - know what you want, how much it costs long before you step into the dealer showroom.  Fail to do this and you are easy pickings.  There are tons of auto information sites on the Internet to give you the information you need.  Also research dealer ratings and complaints that people have had.  Some dealer's tricks are very public if you Google them.
  2. Get Internet Quotes -  Negotiating over email is much easier and less intimidating for many people.  Know exactly what you will be charged on a specific model  and have all the options itemized.
  3. Arrange Financing Beforehand - Get fully approved for your auto financing.  I prefer credit unions and here is why, better rates and no B.S.  Credit Unions also like to have 1 percentage rate for all loan lengths and have the same rate for new and used cars.
  4. Go at the Best Time - Late in the model year.  I like end of September. Last days of the quarter at the very end of a model year.  They will likely have good incentives at that time too.  Anyone who's ever run a sales force will tell you the last few days of a quarter at the end of the year (in this case model year) is when you are cutting the best deals.
  5. Check with the Fleet Dealer - If he sells the car you are looking for, this is a fairly painless way to get your car at a good price and not waste days.  Fleet dealers deal in volume and they are compensated differently than the normal sales people.
  6. Carefully Look at the Test Drive Car - Just because its new doesn't mean it doesn't have problems.  My dad once bought a car and when he got it home and looked under the hood many of the wires had been taped with electrical tape.  If there is a problem, get another car, don't take the dealer's word that they will make it all right.  I'm still waiting for a Chicago dealer to fix a problem they agreed to take care of 12 years ago!
  7. Make a Firm Offer - Don't feel too sorry for the dealer if you are only going to give him $500 over his true cost, he is making $3,000 off the other guy.  Know their true cost for all of your options and give him a few bucks to make him do the deal.  Make them believe that you are the most inflexible SOB on the planet, "No Charlie as I told you this is the price I am willing to pay which gives you enough profit.  Let me know if you can't accept that and I will work with someone that can."
  8. Put a Time Limit on It - Tell them that's what you are going to pay and tell them you are leaving at exactly XX:XX time and you are going to YYYY dealer.  Fear of loss at a specific time is a great motivating factor.  Want to really unnerve them, take your watch off and put it on their desk.
  9. Review Every Fee - Some fees are total junk, have them eliminate them. "I'd hate to have you lose this deal over a fee that you can't explain to me".  Destination charge, registration, and license fees are legitimate add on charges but almost everything else is junk.
  10. Buy Nothing Else - When the finance person takes over, don't buy anything else, nothing.  You don't even want their financing.

Follow these 10 tips and you'll do fine with the auto dealer.  If you have to walk, walk and go to the next dealer.  Some people feel that walking is rude.  Nonsense, if the price you are willing to pay is profitable, you'll find a dealer who will take it.  There is some absurd notion that car dealers have to make a profit on every car that they sell.  But that's not even real. If they don't sell it, they are losing money every month.  And, if you haven't noticed, they haven't been selling a lot of cars lately.


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