Social Question

jca's avatar

Do you have any tips or strategies for buying a new car from a car dealership?

Asked by jca (36046points) March 6th, 2010

today, one of my friends asked me to accompany him to a car dealer because he was buying a new car. he had shopped around and this dealer gave him the best price. One thing i know to specify is “no dealer stickers” on the car. I told the salesman we did not want to pay the “conveyance fee” of $299, which i think is sometimes called the destination fee. that price was pre-printed on the invoice, and the salesman said he could not waive it. they were trying to charge $170 for registration fee, but my friend got that down to $100.

i am curious how much leeway there is on bargaining the fees down.

what tips or strategies do you have when buying a new car from a dealer?

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15 Answers

njnyjobs's avatar

When you have determined the car you want, don’t act/sound to eager to get into a deal. Ask a lot of questions, questions that you should research before going out to the lot. Read up on reviews from online sources such as,, Consumers Report, etc. Check-out internet pricing and priunt them up to take with you on your trip to the dealer. Don’t be embarassed or afraid to show the info to the salesperson. That would tell them that you’re not a pushover that will fall for the first deal that’s offered to you.

Be prepared to walk away from a deal if you feel you’re not getting any consensus. Remember, car dealers typically employ hardsell tactics, with tag-team salespeople that will wear you out with frivolous offers. Don’t get pressured into taking what is shoved to you. There are other dealers out there that may be more accommodating than the one you are dealing with at the moment.

bobloblaw's avatar

Just to add to njnyjobs’ answer, also look up the price at multiple websites. Get multiple quotes. Try to game the dealers against each other.

Remember, the sales guys are on comission. Use that knowledge to your advantage. Also remember that they have a price that they won’t simply back down from. They gotta eat, y’know? Also decide on a reasonable maximum price.

Just keep in mind: it’s a game.

Supacase's avatar

I can tell you what has worked for people I know, but keep in mind that the kind of car determines your bargaining power a good deal. For example, they cannot keep Subaru Outbacks on the lot around here so they have no reason to bother negotiating. They know someone else will walk in and pay sticker if you won’t. Otherwise:

1) Go at the end of the month. They need to meet their sales goals and there isn’t much time left.

2) If you’re okay with a new car that is last year’s model, make an offer on it. They want them off the lot once the new cars have been out for a while.

3) Do your research, know what a reasonable price for both sides is, walk in and ask for it. They will do it or they won’t. If they won’t, walk. There are dealer and partner incentives, ridiculous markups… they are going to make money if they take any offer that isn’t outlandishly low. (This got my husband his truck at a great price . New truck, previous year’s model, end of the month, fastest and easiest buying experience ever.)

Personally, I go sit in the lobby during the negotiating phase. It totally stresses me out.

thriftymaid's avatar

This has always worked for me. I decide what I want and test drive it and leave with no discussion. I call five or six dealerships and tell them exactly what I want and ask them to call me by a certain time—around 24 hours later. I tell them I don’t want to talk about it and to call me with a write-the-check price. I make sure they understand that I have asked for this from multiple dealerships. When I did this for the last new car I bought I had offers (for the same exact car) from 16,777 to 22,881. You can guess which dealership I bought from. The phone is a wonderful thing.

jaytkay's avatar

All great advice up there. You can also get a price from, and it shows you exactly what models and options are available.

jca's avatar

how bout the fees? are the fees negotiable? (fees i mentioned in my question)

dpworkin's avatar

Consumer Reports ( offers detailed instructions on negotiating the purchase of a new car, including reports with the actual invoice price, holdbacks, expected profit margin, etc. on the make and model you are seeking. I think the reports cost $12.00 – quite a wise investment.

CMaz's avatar

Do not let them push you around. When they come over and ash if they can help. I laway say no I am just looking. And look. Nothing wrong with going home to think.

Buy at the end of the month. And there is at least a $3,000 mark up.

Sometimes you have to walk away from a “great deal” in order to get a great deal.

Fred931's avatar

Just a handy tip, also from CR: Negotiate from a cheap price up, not from the higher price down.

Supacase's avatar

Fees are negotiable. Even if they can’t remove the fee on paper, they can compensate by lowering the cost of the vehicle by that amount. Pretty much everything is negotiable.

anartist's avatar

Bendrewim, we need an erase dumb response button

Fred931's avatar

@anartist Bendrewman is a thousand times better. Use that instead.

PullMyFinger's avatar

A lot of good advice above, especially the ‘end-of-the-month’ thing (end of the YEAR thing works even better), and negotiating up from the bottom, not down from the top..

Before leaving your house, try to determine (as accurately as you can) what the ‘Dealer Invoice’ price was (even that can be deceptive, but it’s something to “negotiate up” from). Your good friend Mr. Internet will help you there.

I’ve never bothered with battling over each of these added fees and such. I just (respectfully) tell the salesperson (and their mysterious “boss”) that the out-the-door, bottom-line price which will make things much easier for everybody is….XX,XXX, including sales taxes. Then let them play their little monkey-games regarding how they get there. If they “can’t”, I just politely head for the door (and well over half the time, I never reach it….)

Two things: ALWAYS be ready and willing to walk away, and never, never, never let them put decals or screwed-on plates which advertise their dealership on your shiny-new, very expensive car…..

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