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Negotiating a car deal.....
Old 04-14-2010, 01:04 PM   #1
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Negotiating a car deal.....

I tried the search function and did not come up with anything like this...so if it is "out there" please let me know

My DW will be changing job$ in a couple of weeks and will be giving up her company car.....she will be getting a travel allowance but the vehicle is her choice and responsibilty....she's had a company vehicle for so long I have not had the need to negotiate a car deal for over 20 years!

My last several vehicles were Toyotas that I purchased directly thru a client who was (is) the General Manager of the dealership....no haggle, just a great price and stroked 'em a check....now on to my DW...

She is of the LBYM mentality but for her the "B" stands for "beyond"...so we are looking at the upper end Toyota product - Lexus - and of course, that puts my guy out of the picture....

(finally the point of this post) So I will be negotiating an auto deal for the 1st time in 20 years or so....and I was hoping for some input from those that have traveled the "car buying road"....advice, negotiating skills....heck ANYTHING that you think might help!

I am a member of Costco and have done some online research and see that a price from their car buying service would be something akin to what I have been use to in the past....BUT....am I leaving $$$ on the table??

Thanks in advance for your imput!!
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Old 04-14-2010, 01:48 PM   #2
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Last time I did that. Lots of online research to find out the real prices. Did my test drives completly separate from any intention of buying & told them right up front that is what I'm doing. I got 5-6 on line bids. Then called my local dealer, specified exactly what I wanted. He called back with a bid. I demurred with "I can do better than that". About 4 calls later inside of 2 hours I got a better price than anyone else for exactly the car I wanted. No face to face dickering or tricks. Ill never buy a car any other way.
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Old 04-14-2010, 03:01 PM   #3
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Tesaje has it correct.
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Old 04-14-2010, 03:10 PM   #4
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That's exactly how I have bought my cars. Online is the only way to go once you have decided which car you want. Although around here here, MN., there are more dealers with the "no haggle" philosophy. You can check the various websites to see what the invoice price and any hold backs that the dealer gets. You should be able to determine approximately what kind of deal you can get from the websites-- edmonds.com, cars.com, etc.
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Old 04-14-2010, 03:30 PM   #5
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Just one note of caution here about one little dealer trick:

Some of the dealers will "lowball" you just to get you down to the dealership. Tell them on the phone that if you show up and the car that you are bidding on somehow gets changed to the stripped model that you are going to leave. No -sale. Make sure they clearly understand that. if they change the deal in any fashion - then leave and don't do business with people like that.

Keep your financing and your trade in (if any) separate. It's best to arrange financing separate with your bank. Ditto for the trade in - sell it yourself. regarding the financing - The only time to use dealership financing is when they have subordinated the rates (eg - 0% etc.) as a promotion. If that's the case then your bank won't be able to match what they are offering.

- Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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Old 04-14-2010, 04:34 PM   #6
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heck ANYTHING that you think might help!
Craigslist.

Haven't bought a new car in nearly 30 years.
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Old 04-14-2010, 06:17 PM   #7
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Here's a way to sharpen up your negotiating skills, if you prefer to buy the car in person.

After my divorce I found myself in the position of being a woman over 50 in the South, and never having negotiated for a new car. So, I was feeling a little unsure.

I had been interested in a Dodge Intrepid, but decided I would really rather have a Japanese car. Anyway, one day I went into the Dodge dealer and took an Intrepid for a test ride (knowing that I would not buy it). I was perfectly honest with the salesman and kept telling him that I really didn't want a Dodge. He thought I was being a hard-bitten negotiator! I tried to leave but he just wouldn't let me. He kept coming down further and further. After spending almost all afternoon there, he had come down to $200 below what Edmunds.com said was his cost for the car. I smiled and left.

That gave me the negotiating experience and confidence that I needed for my real negotiations, at the Toyota dealer.
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Old 04-14-2010, 06:38 PM   #8
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Great story W2R! It illustrates that having no emotional attachment to the car is key to standing your ground.

I'm with Tesaje. At least, it worked in 1995, when I last bought a car.....
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Old 04-14-2010, 07:18 PM   #9
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He thought I was being a hard-bitten negotiator! I tried to leave but he just wouldn't let me. He kept coming down further and further. After spending almost all afternoon there, he had come down to $200 below what Edmunds.com said was his cost for the car. I smiled and left.
CFB said once that when you drive away in your new car, the car dealer is supposed to be glaring at you as if you poisoned his dog but he can't prove it.

I think the process is so broken that even with Craigslist we still do it as seldom as possible.
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Old 04-14-2010, 07:44 PM   #10
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After spending almost all afternoon there, he had come down to $200 below what Edmunds.com said was his cost for the car. I smiled and left.
At that point you should say - Hey thanks that was fun. I just wanted to see how low you would go.
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Old 04-14-2010, 08:36 PM   #11
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Last car I bought, I used a free online service that provided me the best quote from 200 miles around, and took it to my local dealer, who said he would match my lowest online offer. Dealer, of course, did not have the exact car with options I wanted and did not want to pay for. I did not wanted to be suckered into buying a car with options I did not want, so ordered the exact one I want. Also, purposely did not trade in older car, because that introduces another moving part in the negotiation. Sold my old car on Craig's List, for mor than I think I would have gotten from the dealer.
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Old 04-15-2010, 01:51 AM   #12
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One pointer: if you have kids, leave them at home. They tend to complicate the process, sometimes resulting in a higher price and/or a higher spend.

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Old 04-15-2010, 05:16 AM   #13
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I did the online method when I bought my F150 last year. First I went to the F150 forum and got amounts that others paid - about 20-25% off sticker. Then I called dealers for quotes over the phone, and online for online quotes. I found a dealer that gave me 21% off sticker and I went there. I had a trade-in, but couldn't get what Edmunds said I should.

The OP should have an easier experience without a trade-in
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Old 04-15-2010, 07:28 AM   #14
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I've negotiated many large purchases throughout my life not only for me but friends. Yes several new cars for friends and it worked out good for them since my first rule is:

Take the emotion out of the negotiations.

Be willing to walk away if the your price is not met. but have a back up.
Know your competition.
Educate yourself about the item, so the seller can't sell you.
I've usually led the negotiations not the other way around, yet be a good listener, this may catch them off guard.
In person, be confident and make it seem like you've done this before, non verbal is important.
Let them know it's not a game and you're willing to make the deal on the spot. I've even told sellers, "I don't want to waste each others time".


For me, I've found that I can gave much need info online but whether it be online, over the phone or in person, there are advantages to each.

Good luck
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Old 04-15-2010, 08:56 AM   #15
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I did the online method when I bought my F150 last year. First I went to the F150 forum and got amounts that others paid - about 20-25% off sticker. Then I called dealers for quotes over the phone, and online for online quotes. I found a dealer that gave me 21% off sticker and I went there. I had a trade-in, but couldn't get what Edmunds said I should.
There is an obvious reason that happened..........
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Old 04-15-2010, 09:51 AM   #16
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Haven't bought a new car for almost 25 years---they depreciate several 1000 bucks just by driving them out of the dealer's lot. I have a local very highly reliable used car dealer who scouts the big auto auctions, and selects cars that his shop can easily bring up to their high specs. Even though I am moving 600 miles away in retirement, I will come back to the used car dealer to buy my next car. He will find pretty much anything I ask.

Since Maine has a huge registration excise tax for new cars, there is an enormous market for used ones. The tax is based on depreciation of up to 6 years, and from the original cost. So if you can find a Jeep Wrangler that was originally $9K and very low milage, you can get a good deal. Otherwise you pay again and again and again in Maine for buying a new car.
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Old 04-15-2010, 10:18 AM   #17
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Some of the dealers will "lowball" you just to get you down to the dealership. Tell them on the phone that if you show up and the car that you are bidding on somehow gets changed to the stripped model that you are going to leave. No -sale. Make sure they clearly understand that. if they change the deal in any fashion - then leave and don't do business with people like that.

Keep your financing and your trade in (if any) separate. It's best to arrange financing separate with your bank. Ditto for the trade in - sell it yourself. regarding the financing - The only time to use dealership financing is when they have subordinated the rates (eg - 0% etc.) as a promotion. If that's the case then your bank won't be able to match what they are offering.
From an X new car dealer, this is all good advice.

The lowball is used quite often by shady/aggressive dealers who just want to get you in the store. Once you are in they will beat you up for a few hours and sell you something else at a higher cost, or sell you the vehicle you got lowballed on at the lowball price but make it up by stealing your trade or by selling you lots of "back end" products like marking up the rate, life insurance, and service contracts. If you find out you have been lowballed I would walk away immediately and not go through the BS. I know most of you will say there is no way I would fall for that crap, but it happens every day to people who should know better but just get caught up in it. BTW, these types of dealerships employ the most aggressive sales people because they can make lots of money selling this way, so be very careful with them. They are very good at what they are trained to do (get as much of your money as possible).

Keeping your trade out of the deal is smart. It just simplifies the transaction and makes it harder for the sales manager to move the numbers around and try to confuse you. Same for financing. Do that yourself if possible. The hardest deal to make money on is the simple outright new vehicle purchase with no trade and no financing. Dealers do not get too excited about these, but they will do it anyway just to make their sales number.

I would definitely get some online quotes (3 or so) and get the invoice amount on what you are looking at before you venture out to a dealership. Be prepared.
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Old 04-15-2010, 01:21 PM   #18
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All good advice; also, consider buying at the end of the month or quarter when the salespeople are trying to meet their quotas.

And, you might check out this website for more useful insight: Beat The Car Salesman - How to buy a car
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Old 04-15-2010, 01:59 PM   #19
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I bought my car last year and it was so much fun!

I did as others said to check around for what people were really paying, then went to edmunds.com and used the "ask for a quote" tool. There you can pick the local dealers you want to receive the request.

Then they email you your quotes - I have LOT of dealers in my area so this is way easier than calling them.

You can tell a lot by their emails - some are personalized and followed your inquiry, most do not pay that much attention and send you prices for things you didn't ask for.

From the ones that were near my price range and didn't feel sleezy - I emailed them back and restated what I was looking for (which was particularly hard to find). Narrowed it down to about 3 dealers. Within an hour or so I had them emailing me real quotes. Eventually talked to 2 or 3 on the phone. Was about to close the deal on one car, then got an email from another dealer that was way below the other offers. I confirmed it was real by calling. Then all the other dealers were flabbergasted and couldn't believe the offer I got.

I went in to the dealer the next day (via appointment)...with printout of the deal. The salesperson was really laid back as I believe the online sales guys are often under different pressure than the floor sales guys (and are often teamed with the fleet sales).

Anyhow, the finance director tried to give me lots of crap to buy but I declined and the deal was done. Final deal was about $780 below invoice.

Good luck!
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Old 04-15-2010, 05:57 PM   #20
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It is fairly easy to get an idea of what people are paying for a car in your area. New Cars, Used Cars, Car Reviews and Pricing - Edmunds.com

There are other sites.

Once you understand what others are paying, any rebates, etc... you have some idea of what might be realistic.

I would always start with a low (but reasonable) offer... but I usually know the max I am willing to pay. If the dealer is not willing to negotiate... I go to another dealer.
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