To Get the Best Possible Price On a New Car…
How to Buy a New Car
It is critical to understand that you should never negotiate for a new car in person. Once you set foot in the dealership, you will be going head-to-head with a trained car salesman. More importantly, you will limit yourself to a car price from a single dealership with no reason for the salesman to give you a competitive offer. Instead, get prices from several car dealers and follow these steps to make dealers compete with each other to win your business.
Step 1 – Get Internet Price Quotes
The best time to start contacting dealers is at the end of the month when salesmen are trying to hit their monthly quotas. Sometimes if a salesman (or the entire dealership) is close to hitting a quota tied to a bonus package, they may be willing to move cars off their lot for big discounts or even at a loss, especially if the dollar amount of the bonus is large enough. The negotiating process can take up to a week to work through, so it's usually best to plan to start at least 3-4 days from the last day of the month.
Want to test drive a few cars before you buy? Don’t waste time searching for each brand of car separately. Search for several brands of local car dealerships all at once! They are shown on a map to make easy to plan out a day of test driving at different dealerships. I even tell you how long to expect at each dealership so you can plan your itinerary. For example, say you want to test drive a Honda CR-V, a Toyota RAV4, and a Ford Escape. Instead of googling “Honda dealership”, “Toyota dealership”, and “Ford dealership” separately and trying to remember their locations, use the Test Drive Planner to search all at once! It will tell you where each dealership is located and map the most efficient route between them.
The websites below are free of charge and will deliver your request for pricing information to up to five car dealers at once. Just enter the make and model car that interests you and your zip code. Each website has a different network of dealers and you will likely get better results by trying more than one service. I recommend a goal of at least 5-7 quotes from different dealers, but no more than 8-10 to keep the process manageable.
I prefer to start with either Edmunds where they allow you to contact up to 5 dealers at once or TrueCar where you can see your target car price instantly and anonymously. Most other services will only connect you with 3 or 4 car dealers.
Regardless of which service(s) you use, you may need to enter multiple requests using surrounding zip codes to get all the quotes that you need. Try to keep your requests within 50-75 miles, but if you are comfortable driving over an hour to save several hundred dollars, then feel free to expand your range a little further. If you do submit more than one request or use more than one website, make sure you do not send multiple requests to the same dealership. All of these websites will allow you to “uncheck” dealers if you do not want to send a second request to them.