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Haggling over a new car price

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Vic99, Sep 16, 2013.

  1. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    Wife and I are thinking about getting a Chevy volt this year. I was going to wait until next year but it seems the 2014 has 0% financing. If I could get a 2013 with 0% I would. No 0% would mean I'd have to wait until next year though.

    No trade in.

    I've haggled for cars in the past and I think my best strategy has been to do some research, then go to a dealer and practice. Then go to another and aim a bit lower and only say, " I want to buy that car for this price which includes taxes, and ALL fees. Go ask your boss. If you can do it, lets wrap this up in a half hour, if you try to screw me I walk with no second chance." Bought my wife car that way and we felt we got a fair dealer. Not the absolute best as consumer reports might say, but pretty good. And no BS.

    With the Volt, not sure it's like everything else or because its a different kind of car with new tech that has a cult following, maybe there is less room to move.

    Any advice is appreciated. Looking to do the real thing last weekend this month and not take delivery untIl oct 1 so I only have to pay high excise tax for one quarter this year, cuz I'm cheap like that.

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The dealer with the largest inventory in your area will probably be the easiest to bargain with. Ignore the cults, drive the car. Not perfect, but they got a whole lot right. It's a lot of fun to drive.
  3. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

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    Check out truecar.com to help you get a feel for how much you may be able to talk them down.

    When we bought our Santa Fe a couple years ago, I used them and was able to get a great deal pretty painlessly. If nothing else, it will let you know the range you should shoot for!
    -SF
    Bster13 and jeromehdmc like this.
  4. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    The key as you said is to do the research . . . find out through TrueCar, CarsDirect, Edmunds, etc. what the invoice price is (just put the MSRP out of your mind) as well as the prices of what others are paying.

    As for the demand for a vehicle or cult status . . . my own take is that if you start buying into the emotional aspect about buying a car whether you simply like a certain car or think there is high demand or low stock then the dealers can use this against you by playing on the whole idea that you better get the car you want now before it is too late. Truth be told . . . except in some very few cases . . . they are always making new cars and I would wager that at almost any time you can get just about any car you want at a decent price . . . although you may have to wait a bit.

    We're getting ready to buy a car as well . . . actually I started researching things about a month, maybe two months ago. This Friday we may finally get to the showroom to just test drive some cars and narrow down the choices. In the meantime I've been watching prices and continuing to explore options.

    As you probably know the price of the car is just one aspect you have to consider -- financing and trade in values (unless you do a private sale) are also points you need to research.

    In the recent past I have had pretty good luck at seeing what the invoice and selling prices are for a vehicle and then e=mailing just about every dealer and basically asking them to bid on the make/model with the features I want with an out the door price. When I did this the prices came back and I was pretty happy with them for the most part. If I wanted to try to get a slightly better deal I could have perhaps leveraged one dealer's price against the lowest, but at the time full size, V-8 Nissan pick ups being sold at the end of December were not overly expensive and there were a lot of them on the dealer's lots.

    This time around I am honestly debating on going this route or since we are buying a Subaru using a special buying program through my wife's affiliation with the ASPCA. I might try my way . . . then see what the price would be with the VIP Buying program which is the invoice price minus 2%.

    Personally, I don't mind a dealership making a profit . . . I mean they're in business . . . and they have bills to pay just like anyone else. Just like most folks though, I don't want to pay more than my fair share and end up paying that dealership's mortgage payment for their winter home in the Bahamas . . . or their cigarette boat . . . or their . . . well you get the idea.
  5. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I research beforehand.
    I tell the salesperson when I walk in that I won't be buying that day no matter what and that I have no trade in (even if I have one).
    Drive the car(s).
    Give the sales person my email.
    Research some more.
    Negotiate by email by offering a fair "out the door" price.
    Buy the car if they accept.

    Some dealers can't handle this. I let them be.
    Others seem to love it and I've bought two new cars this way.
    firefighterjake likes this.
  6. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    My wife and I have both test driven the car and like it.

    I've been watching prices for a few months now. The 2014 volt was just released and they dropped the price msrp $5k from the 2013. Some dealers have had Internet sales here and there.

    What is "out the door" pricing? Is that code for your best offer or I walk? Or perhaps via e-mail haggling since you are not on site?
  7. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Its how much you pay with all the fees, taxes, registration, etc. included.
    Vic99 likes this.
  8. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    That means only one extra space in your driveway. Have to get there before Joe, or I will have to smash up one of your cars.
    Vic99 likes this.
  9. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    BTW, don't let "factory invoice" prices cloud the matter. They don't really mean much.
    Yes, that is the price a dealer pays the factory but....
    Yearly sales incentives, rebates, etc. paid by the factory to the dealers obfuscate the real price paid.
    Vic99 likes this.
  10. mepellet

    mepellet Minister of Fire

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    One strategy that worked out well for us was to go back and forth between a few dealers via email and let them fight it out to see who will go lowest.
    mithesaint and Vic99 like this.
  11. mithesaint

    mithesaint Feeling the Heat

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    I did the same thing as mepellet. I found two cars, either of which would have been fine. I went to the dealer with the less desirable color first, haggled him down a bit, and then walked away. Got a phone call a few minutes later sweetening the deal. Told him I'd think about it. Went to the second dealer with the more desirable car, and told him what price he had to beat. Worked because it was a common model, and dealers were relatively close. Not sure if that would work on a new car. Good luck.
    Vic99 likes this.
  12. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    If you know exactly what you want work with the online sales guys exclusively. I did that with three dealerships - got the best price from each, took the lowest and went back to the other two, repeated until it did not go any lower. Then bought from lowest price dealership. Another tactic I employed was to negotiate the lowest price and then went back on Superbowl sunday 1 hr before the dealership closed and said I wanted to buy - no "talk to the manager" nonsense - everybody wanted to get home to watch the game. Worked great.
    Vic99 and mithesaint like this.
  13. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    Trying the phone/online price war. Just started. Any more advice in that direction?
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    After you get the best price see if they will throw in a sweetener to cinch the deal. I'm thinking a set of all weather mats including the cargo area mat. If yes, get them to send you the final quote via an email from the sales manager.

    Are you trading in a vehicle?
  15. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    Good idea. No trade in
  16. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Not sure if it would help or not . . . but one possible way to sweeten the deal or seal the deal might be to let them know if they will go to $____ you will be sure to give the dealership an exceptional rating if and when a survey is sent out . . . apparently for some dealerships these surveys are a big deal and may even result in gained or loss money.
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Unless you are dealing with the sales or lease mgr that probably won't have a lot of bearing. In my experience their only concern is bottom line.
  18. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    IMHO, if you start haggling, you generally loose. The average person buys a new car about once every 5 years. The average car salesman may sell 5 cars a week. Who is going to be more practiced and honed at haggling in that scenario? Try Edmunds.com or some of the other online dealers - they generally have 'how to' tutorials. It also never hurts to work up a fair price before you go in and if you can't get it, be prepared to leave. As they generally say, you don't get your best deal unless you are on your way out the door and the salesman calls you back.

    Good luck!
  19. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

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    i hate hagling on car prices... but have a coworker who loves it. After he does the bidding war, he gets his car loan check at whatever price he decided upon, sometimes lower than the bidding war resulted in. Then he showes up with the check. The dealership sees the money, in hand. Apparantly it has worked very well in his favor, thats playing real hardball though. Franly going afterthat last 2% probably isnt worth the effort, but he will nickle and dime them down for months on end... Iguess everyone needs their hobbies.

    The positive to showing up certainly is that they would be less likely to have other "costs" they "forgot to mention".
  20. Retired Guy

    Retired Guy Feeling the Heat

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    I've never used it, but the credit union that I belong to has a car buying service. If you finance through them fees are waived.
  21. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    Update:
    Per advice of some here and a seconding the motion from my wife, I decided to haggle online and over the phone. Worked out pretty well. I got 5 area dealers involved.

    One was fluffy and didn't know what she as talking about as the "best" she could do was $500 under the MSRP.
    Two others gave it a shot and dropped the price around $1,000.
    Two others came down significantly more and bidded back and forth once or twice. They were within ~$100 of each other.

    I used Truecar.com and found it useful. They use a histogram to give you the ave price paid and how many people paid worst than that, ave, and then deals they consider: good, great, and unusually low. The price I paid was on the line between great and unusually low, so I was satisfied I did an effective job without having to sit in the hot seat and stare someone down. Eeked out a couple more bucks with a final offer. This is because I'm a cheapskate and so that I can have no regrets about making that final offer "just to see". It worked because I wasn't unreasonable.

    If I had to do it again I'd probably try to get him to through in the cosemetic damage warrenty from tree sap and interior tears, because I didn't think of that until I went in to sign the paper work. Didn't end up buying it and couldn't twist his arm more since I scrounged for those last couple of bucks off.

    No hidden fees or anything because I asked them all up front what their administration fee was. It was small and was not sales-taxable. Everyone had a comparable fee.

    Bought a 2014 base model with heated seats. Only $250 down and 0% financing for 48 months. I thought I'd have to give him a substainal down payment. Unbelievable. He even thew in a full tank of gas.

    I'll pick the car up next week.

    Thanks for all the input.
  22. mepellet

    mepellet Minister of Fire

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    Congrats. Your experience was almost exactly what ours was. Glad it worked out for you!
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  23. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    "He even threw in a free tank of gas. . . ."

    There was a time when it was pretty much expected that if you bought a brand new car (heck, even a used car) off a dealer's lot it would be filled with gas. Guess times have changed.

    Good deal on the wheeling and dealing. It's much more enjoyable when you don't have to do much haggling while in the sales office and know exactly what is and is not a good deal . . . I suspect there are still some folks out there who still go in though and pay pretty close to the sticker (i.e. my parents.)
  24. Retired Guy

    Retired Guy Feeling the Heat

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    Bought a Honda Pilot in February, got the full tank of gas and turned down the $5,700 paint and fabric protection. Traded in a 13 year old jeep with 96,000 miles and got $6,200 for it. Didn't feel too bad about the deal. Always buy our cars from a local dealer so don't shop much.
  25. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    I agree about the gas. I think I bought 5 vehicles in my life at a dealer. Only two got a full tank and they were both saturns. Obviously didn't get the best financial deal there, although I was still able to haggle a little. I paid for no pressure back then for what I considered a solid car at that stage of my life.

    At times, email and over the phone buying was really enjoyable. It was frustrating that some dealers didn't move much, but I'm still amazed at what I got accomplished in 4 days without ever setting foot in a dealership. Helps that I didn't need a car right away.

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