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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 18, 2011
    Posts
    219

    Default How do you get the best deal on a car?

    I mean for regular people, not those who have friends or family members in the car business!

    I need a new car, but my current one is paid for! I LOVE not having a car payment! But it has 160,000 miles on it -- though those have been 100% trouble-free miles -- so I know the end is in sight.

    Any tips or advice on getting a good deal?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 24, 2000
    Location
    Lake Norman, NC USA
    Posts
    648

    Default

    Buy used and do lots of research online about pricing AND be willing to walk away if you don't get the price that you want/need. There are always more cars out there!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 9, 2005
    Location
    Unionville, PA
    Posts
    3,816

    Default

    I just bought a new Hyundai Tucson, which I love. I went through MVCP, which is a service in the MidAtlantic region that prenegotiates prices with dealers. I think I got it for $200 over invoice, which was pretty good for that model (sometimes you can get cars for below invoice if the manufacturer is offering dealer incentives).

    Knowledge is power! Use the Edmunds website to find out local pricing, and take that price to the dealer. Also, internet quotes tend to be lower than what you would get going straight to the lot. So that gives you a lower starting point for negotiations.

    Also, once you decide what you want, shop around the different dealers in your area to get the best price.

    Good luck!
    Delaware Park Canter Volunteer
    http://www.canterusa.org/



  4. #4

    Default

    Read www.carbuyingtips.com. Lots of great advice.

    I agree with buying used! Much better bang for your buck.

    Look up the value of the vehicle you want -- WITH all the options you want -- and KNOW EXACTLY how much it's worth and how much you're willing to pay. Set your limit and stick to it.

    Check into how much that vehicle with the same options/mileage range *actually* sold for (via ebay *completed* auctions, Edmunds.com, carmax trade-in value, etc.) and NOT what the dealers are asking for it. Dealers (including Carmax) advertise a vehicle for *thousands* of dollars over it's worth, so even though they come down, they're still making a ton.

    If possible, get your loan through a credit union, NOT through the car dealer.

    Don't let the dealer discuss *monthly payments* AT ALL. You will get financing, not go through the dealer. Just get them to agree to a FINAL *out the door* or *on the road* price. Make sure you get them to agree to the price WITH that stipulation and phrasing, or they can and will add all sorts of processing fees to the total, plus add on the taxes and tags, and you're very easily several hundred dollars over the price you *thought* you were getting.

    Good luck.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 13, 2008
    Posts
    3,027

    Default

    I've heard that because of the crap economy, people are hanging onto their cars longer and dealerships are having a hard time getting a good inventory of trade-ins for their used car side. I got a card in the mail a month ago from the dealership where I bought my car, asking if I wanted to trade in. So this might be a good time to buy if you have the money/security.

    I've always bought used - certified pre-owned, which means you skip the new car depreciation but retain some lifespan. Current car was a lease car for 6 months before I bought it. My sister prefers brand new, but has a history of paying top price, so last year she asked me to research the best way to NOT do that yet again. I found something very interesting - that dealerships now often have an Internet department. Apart from the obvious appeal of not having to do a face-to-face at the dealership (she negotiated her deal from her desk at work), the Internet salesmen have a slightly different style than the floor guys, as Edmunds.com explains:


    The key is to understand the advantages and limitations of the price-quote system. Bottom line, the system connects the shopper with the Internet department at a dealership, not with a traditional sales team. A car dealership's Internet department almost always offers lower pricing than that available through the sales team. The traditional salesman tries to keep the car's price as high as possible to increase his commission while the Internet sales manager sells more cars at lower prices and makes money on bonuses for volume.

    Clearly, it's a big advantage to connect directly to the Internet manager, who will offer a lower price and also communicate with you by e-mail, text, telephone or even fax, if you like. The traditional salesman wants you there in person before beginning negotiations.


    http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/ho...for-a-car.html



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar. 19, 2011
    Posts
    22

    Default

    If you're buying new ( I recommend a year or so old, you'll save a bundle) but if new find out dealer cost, not invoice.... Two totally different things!! Call lots of dealers and put one against another if you're not too picky on color, options.... You'll be able to get a deal!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2000
    Location
    Out of the loop
    Posts
    2,925

    Default

    We just bought Mr. CH a new car and got exactly what he wanted, a 2012 model, for well below invoice. The secret is to do your research, have all the info at hand about the car in which you are interested AND its main competitors, incentives/rebates/etc. available from competing dealerships, etc. And be ready to say "thanks for your time" and walk away at any moment.
    Equinox Equine Massage

    In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
    -Albert Camus



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 29, 2004
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    2,080

    Default

    Next time I buy, I'd consider AAA. They are a "dealer", tell them what you are looking for and they'll shop the dealers in the area and get you the best deal.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep. 5, 1999
    Location
    Central FL
    Posts
    4,540

    Default

    "shop out" the vehicle you want to at least 5 dealerships in your state. Print out their offers, and take them to your local dealer. Be ready to walk out if necessary, and stand your ground.

    If you walk out you'll be getting a phone call before you get to the road. BTDT.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 18, 2007
    Posts
    4,482

    Default

    I knew somebody once who, like me, detested the whole "dickering" bit. He flat-out refused to bargain on things anymore. Here was his strategy, used for everything from cars to flea markets, etc., anywhere else applicable.

    "I'm interested in Car X, but we will NOT have a debate on price. You have ONE chance and only one forever to quote me a price on Car X. I will then go to your competitors, find a comparable car, and they will have only one chance to quote me a price. At the end of the day, the best price gets my business. So, what is your one answer to the price on this car?"



    He got some great bargains, in far less time, and salespeople very quickly dropped the haggling front and got down to brass tacks.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
    Location
    Deep South
    Posts
    15,187

    Default

    Check this out and get a membership if necessary. http://www.samsclubauto.com/
    ... _. ._ .._. .._



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 2010
    Location
    On The Farm In New England
    Posts
    871

    Default

    We never buy NEW. We find the car or two that we like and look for USED. About a year old and they usually have between 12-15k miles. Bonus if it has been purchased &/or serviced by the same dealer so you know it's been properly cared for. Let someone else eat the ridiculous depreciation that takes place that first 10k miles.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 15, 2010
    Posts
    205

    Default

    When I was in the market for a new car, a coworker gave me the BEST advice, it saved me tons. It works best if you are either paying cash, or are prefinanced from a credit union, bank etc so from the dealers perspective you are ready to write them a check. And you have to be really ready to buy (i.e. have already test driven, decided on make, model etc). So here it is:

    Step 1: figure out which car you want, what features etc, and then start searching local dealers online inventories. Compare similar cars. Make sure you look at several different dealers, and print out which ones you like. Do your research on edmunds, consumer reports or whichever source you have so you've got a lot of back up. Starting on the internet is best because as somebody else pointed out, the prices are almost always lower.

    Step 2: pick a dealer with a car you like and CALL them (don't go in, call). Ask about that car, and ask what the lowest price they could go is. Use your research from edmunds and their competitors to get a lower quote out of them. If they try to get you to "come in and talk about it" tell 'em you are super busy at the moment and press them again on the price. Once you get it, thank them, tell them you'll be in touch.

    Step 3: Call a competitor and ask about one of their similar models. Tell 'em you've looked at another dealer and tell them the price you got from calling the first dealer. Ask the second dealer if they can beat that price on one of their similar cars. If yes, get the lowest price they'll offer. If not, eliminate that dealership.

    Step 4: Keep this up, calling your list of dealerships and asking if they can beat each other's prices till you start hearing several dealerships say "no we can't beat that price". That tells you you've really reached the lowest price you can get. At that point, pick the lowest price, go into the dealership and buy your car.

    Doing this saved me about $5,000 on the last car I purchased, plus it made the process so. much. easier. Doing it over the phone was much quicker than trying to drive from dealership to dealership, plus it takes off a lot of the pressure you get if you are trying to negotiate in person.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    10,038

    Default

    I believe (at least they used to) Sam's Club has a car buying service also. ANd many credit unions, and some banks have certain dealerships they have contracts with, so ask first before negotiating with the dealer. Also, get your financing first before going to the dealer. Many deals with 0% are only for people with certain FICO scores, spotless credit, and on very high purchase amounts, or very long loans. Most financial planners advise that you get 36 months or less financing terms, because otherwise you might have to get a new car before the loan is paid off.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2008
    Posts
    2,247

    Default

    I'm probably a weirdo, but I LOVE the car-buying process; I absolutely adore the research, the haggling, the pitting one dealer against the other, etc., etc. I also buy new; I prefer manual transmission rather than automatic, and unfortunately manual is something I wouldn't trust buying used, for the amount of miles I put on a car. But anyway, here's my general outline:

    1. Know the general kind of car you want, and the general price range. Get thee to a credit union and get pre-approved for financing. (To echo a previous poster, you do NOT, never ever EVER, want to talk financing with a dealer, unless your credit is pristine and the dealer is offering 0% financing. Even then, the financing is the LAST part of the conversation with the dealer, AFTER the final price is set in stone.)

    2. If you have a used car to sell, you'll make more $$ selling it on your own than you will ever get as a trade-in. Selling your car on your own via private sale is a PITA, but if you can stomach it, do it. If you can't, price your old car out on a few online sites to see what it's worth (edmunds.com, kbb.com, etc.). A dealer is going to offer you the auction value of the car, not the sale value or even the trade-in value, particularly if it's not a lucrative re-sell for them (i.e., newer car with low miles)... If you bring in a 10+ year old econo-car with 100K+ miles, you're probably better off selling it privately (in most cases). But this is an area where the dealer has lots and lots of wiggle room; I've had trade offers start at $500 and go up to $3K, from the same dealer.

    3. Go and test-drive some cars to see what you like. You don't have to give the dealers any more information than you want to. I started shopping for my last car 6 months early and told the salespeople up-front, "I just want to test-drive, that's it. I am most definitely not buying today, thank you, but give me your card and if I decide I'm interested, I'll be in touch." All were very accomodating.

    4. When you decide on what you want, research the bejeezus out of it. Search dealer inventories (carfinder.com, autotrader.com, edmunds.com, etc.) so you know exactly where you can find the exact car you want. I very nearly bought a Toyota Yaris last time out, wanted a 4-door hatch manual transmission, and it turned out that car was only available on a limited basis, but there were a couple in New England. I had 2 local Toyota dealers tell me that the car didn't exist in the U.S.; I quite enjoyed proving them wrong.

    5. Know the basic incentives available at that moment for your chosen vehicle. The national manufacturer might be offering a rebate; that doesn't mean the dealer needs to tell you about it. They like to conveniently "forget" these things sometimes. It's your job, as buyer, to know all this stuff in advance; sites like edmunds.com are good places to find these incentives.

    6. Popular manufacturers and popular cars are hard to get good deals-- they have a mindset that their cars somehow "sell themselves" and they are much less likely to wheel and deal. I wanted a hatchback and was deciding between the Honda Fit, the Toyota Yaris, and the Suzuki SX4; Honda and Toyota didn't want to play, but Suzuki bent over backwards for me-- and I ended up getting a fully-loaded SX4, AWD, with lots of dealer-added extras (which was the most expensive sticker price, by a few thousand $$) for less than I would have paid for the bare-bones Yaris (which was the cheapest sticker price). Incidentally, the Toyota people suddenly DID want to play when I told them I was on my way to the Suzuki dealership to sign the paperwork, and then they started throwing out some agreeable numbers, but by then I'd already put up with enough of their crap and had already made up my mind.

    Just remember, at the end of the day, it's a buyer's market... Have fun and enjoy that new-car smell when it's all said and done!!
    *friend of bar.ka

    "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan. 18, 2011
    Posts
    219

    Default

    Thank you all for the great advice!!

    I had never thought about arranging financing PRIOR to walking into a car dealership. Now there is an interesting idea. I wonder what kind of credit you need for that? I have medium credit (everything paid RIGHT on time currently), but DH had an accident a few years ago, and we had a lot of medical bills not paid by insurance -- and then no income for a while while he was recuperating. It made a not very pretty credit score for a while, but I've carefully been working on getting back into a better range. It's still in the mid 600's though. Which is about 200 points higher than it was after the turmoil died down.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan. 19, 2000
    Location
    Ellijay, GA
    Posts
    6,057

    Default

    knowledge is power, like everyone else has said.

    If you want new, its best to wait until Oct to Dec and dont get next years model. Dealers want to clear their lots of the "old" stuff so they dont have to pay taxes on it at the first of the year.

    Also...while calling is a great idea, a LOT of dealers will.not quote you a price over the phone, or not a good one anyway. They want to get you to the dealer, get you behind the wheel and let you fall in love before they screw you. I have one sales lady and one sales lady only at one dealer I have bought 3 vehicles from.
    She knows me and knows I mean business and I am generally able to have all of my numbers prior to even going to the dealer...but that relationship didnt happen over night and I know there is no other dealer or sales person that would do that for me...they want you IN the show room.

    Bottom line, know what you want, what you will and will not compromise on and be willing to walk away. Its not personal...if they want your business your phone will be ringing shortley after you leave, if not, they didnt really want you as a customer.
    Busy Bee Farm, Ellijay, GA
    Never Ride Faster Than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly
    Way Back Texas~04/20/90-09/17/08
    Green Alligator "Captain"



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct. 22, 2003
    Posts
    1,903

    Default

    Mid 600s is not so good credit these days. That's going to put you in the "C" tier, I believe.

    Anyway, I don't bother with the car process anymore. I go through an agency (down here I use Autoflex) They shop all the financing, coordinate all the test drives, the paperwork and the price. I've done it twice now.

    It's heavenly. I call my agent (same guy both times) and say I want to look at certain cars, I want to pay a certain price per month, blah blah blah. He has the dealer bring all the cars to the agency's office so I can drive them all in one trip. When I pick one he brings all the paperwork (and my new car) to my office, everything gets signed there and he drives away my old car. Done! And because the agency is a volume customer with the local dealerships the price is better.

    Last time I made one short trip to drop off my old car, picked up car to test drive, said I'd keep it and he brought the paperwork to my office. How freaking civil is that?!
    "The nice thing about memories is the good ones are stronger and linger longer than the bad and we sure have some incredibly good memories." - EverythingButWings



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan. 18, 2011
    Posts
    219

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by littleum View Post
    Mid 600s is not so good credit these days. That's going to put you in the "C" tier, I believe.
    Yeah.... that's what I was afraid of.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2008
    Posts
    2,247

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by IneedanOTdayAlter View Post
    I had never thought about arranging financing PRIOR to walking into a car dealership. Now there is an interesting idea. I wonder what kind of credit you need for that? I have medium credit (everything paid RIGHT on time currently), but DH had an accident a few years ago, and we had a lot of medical bills not paid by insurance -- and then no income for a while while he was recuperating. It made a not very pretty credit score for a while, but I've carefully been working on getting back into a better range. It's still in the mid 600's though. Which is about 200 points higher than it was after the turmoil died down.
    If you have a bank account and are in good standing (no overdrafts, etc.), start with your bank and see if they will pre-approve you for a loan. If your credit is sketchy, you will almost certainly do better (interest-rate wise) on your own than the dealer will do for you. Also, I've heard some scammy dealerships will "shotgun" your credit score by sending out a gazillion loan requests, and since multiple loan requests puts a temporary ding on your credit records, they can then offer you an even WORSE interest rate, which is more $$ for them.

    The dealership will play you thusly: "Sure we can get financing for you, what kind of monthly payment are you looking for?" A few minutes later they'll come out with a big smile on their face and say they were able to get you a $xxx/month payment, that's awesome!! Little do you know, that's $xxx/month at 19% interest for 84 months, or even 120 months-- yikes!!

    This is why you never ever EVER let the salesperson talk to you about the price of the car in terms of monthly payments; you will end up getting raped with an interest rate or loan term length you never even thought possible.

    If your credit is so bad that you can't get a decent loan pre-approved through your own bank or a credit union, then save up enough to buy a $1000 "beater car" to get you through for a couple more years until your credit is better and you CAN get pre-approved.
    *friend of bar.ka

    "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"



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