Everyone knows that car dealers have been having a more difficult sales environment. Americans are holding off on purchases of cars, trucks and vans for famlies in early 2009, but the current downturn will turn. When your personal economy does “turn” and you are ready to purchase a new or used vehicle, you should plan your purchase well in advance of your arrival to sign on the dotted line.
We offer a lot of money saving strategies in “The Sticky Asset: How To Survive Any Financial Crisis,” but we offer this one to you in today’s blog because sooner or later you will make this purchase. Saving thousands when you do will make your life richer.
Our first recommendation is that you do your research in advance on the type of car, truck or van you want before ever going to a dealership. Excellent resources are the Kelley Blue Book and Consumer Reports. You want to use these two resources as research because they can tell you about:
Our second peice of advice: Don’t go to any dealership.
Research how many dealers there are within 100 miles of your home. To to their websites and find the internet sales manager. Use at least six (6) dealers. After doing your research on what the actual cost is for the dealers in the exact “add ons” or features you want in your vehicle, e-mail these internet sales managers individually. Tell them the exact vehicle you are looking for with the exact features you want on the car, truck or van. Tell them that you are looking for the best price and that you are consulting with multiple dealers. Tell them this next thing is critical. You are only interested in the “out-the-door” price. That is after taxes, after everything. If you’ve done your research, you know what the dealers are being charged for each “feature” and the overall cost of the vehicle. Make sure you put a date in your e-mail such as “I will be purchasing this vehicle from a dealer in the next three weeks or on February 27, 2009.” I will only be visiting the dealer with the lowest price to purchase the vehicle on that day.
If you will take some notice here: We are moving the emotion from the consumer to the auto dealer. Get them emotional about the sale – they will make you a much better deal.
You will likely get a response from each dealer. When you do, tell them they are the actual highest bid. This will intensify the pressure. Repeat to them that you are looking to purchase the vehicle, but now change your date. Give them a date closer to today (such as “Friday, January 20, 2009) and tell them a specific time (like “between 5 p.m and 8 p.m.”)!
Frankly, some dealers will be offended. That’s okay. Don’t budge. Don’t visit a dealer. Tell them that you are close to making your purchase. Don’t buy into the bull that might come your way about their expense to get a car with the features you want. You should not care what it cost them to get the correct car to sell to you. Please. They are in the business of getting the cars to sell. You are the consumer – and you have almost all the power. You just have to eliminate emotion and keep your bottom-line attitude to get the car you want at the very best price. This can save you THOUSANDS.
Once you have identified the lowest bidder it is time to visit the dealer. Tell your sales person that you want them to write up the deal exactly the way it is described. In other words – no changes or add-ons in price. Then, go to the dealership on a pre-determined appointment. Check every feature and the final after-tax price. Be prepared to walk if it isn’t exactly what you agreed upon.
No, you will not want additional add-ons (you know about these, right?).
If you have already read “The Sticky Asset: How To Avoid Any Financial Crisis,” then you also know about the real danger at auto dealerships (hint: it’s not the sale person). If you know that, you will avoid the real trouble that happens after most people think the “deal” has been made and the “trouble” is behind them.
Do your research. Believe in yourself. Negotiate without emotion. You’ll be the winner.