If you’re in the market for a new car, landing a bargain for a new set of wheels shouldn’t be out of reach. With these tips, your chance of getting the best price on a new car is as good as any other time, especially with dealers keen to do business.
Do your homework
If there’s one thing that will leave you on the back foot, it is not doing your homework. It’s fine to know what type of car you’re looking to buy, but if you haven’t researched new car prices before arriving at the dealership, you’ll be a sitting duck. Find out what the going prices are for the shortlist of vehicles you’re interested in. Once that’s out of the way, set yourself a budget. Not a guideline. A firm price where you put your foot down and leave it at that.
The sacrificial lamb
Do not, fall for this one! This dealer practice used to be rife but thankfully not so much these days …. Pressure from consumer affairs and manufacturers have meant most dealers have pulled their heads in. But here’s how it works:
- Advertise a car at a dirt-cheap price. Markedly cheaper than all the competing models on the net
- Allow the enquiries to come rolling in, take your time in responding, build up a big list of prospects
- A week or so later, return all the enquiries and encourage them to come in to view the car as soon as they can
- Sell the car for asking price to the first person to commit but just let all the other enquiries come in anyway, apologise profusely that they have missed put and try to sell them something else.
If it sounds to good to be true, it usually is.
Bring along a mate or partner
As they say, there is strength in numbers. Don’t hesitate to bring along a mate or partner to the dealership. They can pull you up if they think you’re overstepping the mark, plus they are just as likely to understand your behaviour as you are – helpful for the impulse buyers out there!
It’s also easier to negotiate as a duo when the two of you are putting pressure on the dealer. What’s more, if it’s a husband and wife team, you’re far less likely to be viewed as tyre kickers.
Keep your cards close to your chest
Negotiating the best price on a new car is all about keeping your resolve. The right level of small talk accompanied by probing questions designed to get you to show your hand. Don’t!
If you want to keep the upper hand, never make it clear how desperate you are to land a particular car. Otherwise, you’re at the mercy of the dealer. Keep a composed demeanour – be assertive but not rude… dealers are only human with an incredibly hard job so keep it classy. If the deal isn’t good enough, be prepared to walk away. Let the dealer know this too.
Keep your eye on the prize
There’s nothing like a good yarn from a dealer to test you out. They might tell you the car you have your eyes on is the last one. That “big” discount? It ends today, apparently. You might hear the dealer mention they need their manager’s approval. Righto, mate!
Watch out for the ol’ bait and switch. The dealer dangles a ‘big’ discount in front of your eyes but unfortunately, that car is ‘unavailable’ with a 6-month from order wait time, although there is a higher-price alternative for immediate delivery.
Play the game on your terms. Work to the schedule you need and stick with the car you want. Watch out for any unnecessary accessories or options being spruiked and make sure the final price includes all on-road costs. The devil is in the detail, so check the contract.
Don’t get pushed into acting sooner than you want to. Deals that can only last until 5pm are purely engineered to get to you commit. There’s no reason at all why the price should jump up tomorrow. If you’re not ready to go, just walk. And remember as well that, in theory, any other dealer can match any other dealer’s price. They all buy them for the same price, right?
The exception is if there’s some sort of change such as a manufacturer bonus about to supply or if the car has specifics to assist with the price such as an old build plate or registered as a demo.
The only one in the country
You’ve rung around 5 different dealers and no-one can supply until the next ship comes in from Europe – about 6 months away. Gutted – you know it’s the car you want, you’ve got the finance but now you have to wait! But then, miraculously a dealer calls you up – they can get a car for delivery in 2 months! Not ideal but much better so you put a deposit down. Guess what happens 7 weeks down the track…. terribly sorry there’s been a delay but you are on the list and you’ll get the first one that rolls off the docks in 4 months’ time. The same shipment all the other dealers told you about. You’re p***ed with the dealer but you can’t cancel because if you do you’ll lose your spot in the queue and be back to square one.
Clinching the deal
Shopping around is part of the process to get the best price on a new car. However, if you’re thinking of taking one dealer’s price to the next (and the next) to pit them against one another, they’ll see right through it. Similarly, don’t drop a lowball offer. You’re just wasting everyone’s time and the dealer won’t take you seriously.
Where possible, deal with the one salesperson and avoid the dreaded ‘handover’, where you’re passed from one rep to the next. Finally, there’s no point being overly assertive. It is one thing to be firm, but keep it professional and don’t be rude. Staying in a dealer’s good books can go a long way! Follow these tips and you’re on your way towards landing the best price on a new car.