Whether you are in the market for a brand new $120,000 sportscar or a new-to-you $2,500 commuter, all consumers want a “good deal”. Nearly every dealership will spend thousands of marketing dollars on stressing this fact to you, all before you ever step foot on the asphalt. It is up to you, the informed consumer, to utilize your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, and do the uncomfortable dance to get behind the wheel of your dream vehicle at the best possible price. Following some or all of these pieces of advice will give you the best chance to do just that.
1. There is always a “Big sale and promotion”, but the biggest are at the end of the month.
If you get nothing else out of this article, get this: Do NOT go car shopping outside of the last 5 days of the month. Manufacturers create monthly incentives to attract customers to the dealer’s lots. Normally, these incentives run through the end of the month. However, every dealer (from the dealer principle to the newest salesperson) is trying to sell the most cars possible. As a result, they will be a lot more flexible and eager to earn your business on the 27th, as opposed to the 7th.
2. There is a lot more markup on used cars than new cars.
Don’t expect for the dealer to come off the advertised price on a new vehicle by much at all! What would you guess is the average markup on a new vehicle? $3,000 or maybe ever $5,000? Let’s try negative $256.00. I’m not kidding. Out of a group of 80 franchised dealerships, they lose an average of $256.00 gross by selling this specific model. When looking at used cars, pay attention to any pricing trends. Do you see some common endings, such as $XX,995 or $XX,986? Ask the salesperson in very general terms how long some of these vehicles have been on the lot and you might be surprised what you can learn. Most dealerships shoot to “turn” or sell used vehicles within 45 or 60 days. If the vehicle is older than that, you have quite a bit more leverage.
3. Be polite, seriously!
Everyone has dealer horror stories that they love to tell when they hear that their neighbor or coworker is going to buy a new vehicle. Here is a great piece of advice: if you don’t like the way you are treated at a dealership, then get back in your car and leave! There are good dealerships in your area that have good salespeople. The best part about it: you can get the same price on a new vehicle, since there is so little markup. However, please be polite. Car salesmen are people too. They get their feelings hurt and are simply trying to make a living. If you treat them with the same amount of respect that you hope to receive, you will make the entire buying process better for everyone involved.
Buying a vehicle doesn’t have to be a scary experience. As you start this process next time, please keep in mind these key points. They are guaranteed to help you as you go through this process. Remember, an informed consumer is a powerful consumer. Use all of the tools at your disposal before going to the dealership and be polite once you are there. Most of all, enjoy the car buying process and congratulations on the purchase of your new vehicle!