Negotiating car price is one of those tasks you either love or hate. If you are the sort of person who loves getting a deal and is not afraid of a little give and take, then you probably love the process. If you dislike confrontation and would rather keep your head down, then you probably hate it. Either way, it’s worth knowing what tactics to pursue and how to get the lowest possible price on your future car.
Negotiating a lower car price
Step 1: Do your research beforehand. Before you head to the dealer to haggle over the price of a car, the most important thing is to do as much research on your future car as possible.
If you have set make and model in mind, for example, check around at local dealers to see what their prices are and how these vary according to different features. Take the car on a test drive to make sure you like it. You can use all this information to your advantage when dealing with the salesperson. Even knowing the other dealer’s names alone should be enough to help you out.
Step 2: Speak to the salesperson. Where the rubber meets the road in the car buying process is when you begin interacting with the salesperson at the dealership.
Unless you are a seasoned car-buying veteran, the professionals at the dealer probably have a bit more experience than you, so don’t expect them to let you steamroll them.
First of all, stick to your plan. If you say something, mean it. If you have thought about it for a long time and come to a clear decision, for instance, about the trim level you want, don’t let the salesperson convince you otherwise now.
Secondly, as soon as there is a perception that you are waffling, you lose the advantage because the seller will know that any subsequent tough-talk is not sincere.
Relatedly, have an exact price point in mind. If the listed price on a car is $30,000, for example, decide beforehand that you want to get it down to, say, $26,000. You can always negotiate the price lower, but having a goal in mind will help you envision a clear standard of success.
Finally, don’t be afraid to walk away. If the negotiations are not going as smoothly as you had hoped, then it may serve you well simply to leave. You can always return to the dealer later, and chances are that absence will make the prices grow fonder - that is, the real prospect of losing you as a buyer may change the seller’s mind about how low to drop the price for you.
Step 3: Negotiate with other dealers. Don’t settle on the first dealer you go to unless you are certain the price they give you cannot be beat.
As said above, walk away and be sure to let the first dealer know you are visiting other locations. You can play the different dealers against one another to get the best possible price by asking them to match or beat the other seller. Maybe you could ask for free maintenance packages or a better warranty, or inquire about other add-ons that could swing you in their direction.
Step 4: Pay for the car in full. A surefire way to put yourself in the driver’s seat of the negotiations is by paying for the car in full upfront.
Not everyone can do this, but if you have saved up enough money, this is a reliable way to get a good price on your car. Since the dealer would get all their money instantly without the hassle of dealing with banks or their own financing office, the seller really does benefit when this happens.
Plus, you won’t have to pay interest on a loan, so you are getting more bang for your buck. You should follow the above pointers all the same, of course, to get the price down as low as you can.