“We will not be beat!”
“Lowest prices guaranteed!”
If you’ve seen a car dealership commercial on TV, you’ve heard one of these phrases. While it seems that these lowest price guarantees should encourage consumers to shop around for the best deal, most buyers just take them at face value. After all, if the dealership you’re at guarantees that they have the best prices, why go through the trouble of shopping anywhere else?
Because car prices can be negotiated, low price guarantees come in especially handy for consumers buying a vehicle from a dealer. If you’re willing to do a little extra legwork, you may be able to save thousands on your next car. Follow these four steps to get dealerships to bid against each other for your business.
Use the Internet
Test driving a car is an emotional experience. It handles nicely, the seats feel good, and that new car smell is amazing. Unfortunately, many people don’t shop around like they should because they get emotionally attached to one car after test driving it. Keep your emotional involvement to a minimum by doing most of your initial research online. With all the online resources available today, you should be able to get a good idea of the used cars you want and the best local prices on those models before you even set foot into a dealership. Compare reviews from consumer groups and safety organizations to find the two or three vehicles that best fit into your lifestyle.
Narrow down your choices
Once you’ve settled on the best vehicles for you, test drive them at the nearest dealership. At this point, you don’t need to worry about negotiating with the dealer, just walk in, drive the cars you’re interested in, and walk out. By now, you should also decide on the features that matter most to you. The goal is to narrow down the exact car and features you want, so you’ll be able to compare apples to apples when you shop around.
Now, you can contact dealers both online and over the phone to narrow your choices down the two or three offering the best price. While this should be relatively simple for new cars, used car buyers may have to do a little extra work to make sure the cars they’re comparing are as similar as possible.
Go to the first dealer on your list and negotiate the best price you can on the car you want. Make sure you’ve discussed every part of the deal, including financing. Once you’ve gotten the seller’s price, go to the next dealer on your list. Show them the previous dealer’s offer and ask if they can beat it. If you find a dealer that will beat the price, return to the original seller and ask them if they’ll beat the new price. If they do, buy the vehicle on the spot. If not, return to the seller with the best offer. Be aware that many dealers try to negotiate on extras and features rather than price. Take these extras into consideration, but always give price the highest priority.