Photo: LOOK STUDIO/SHUTTERSTOCK
1. Start with emails and phone calls
“Email several dealers to ask for their best price for new and used cars. If they say you need to come in, tell them you will—only if they give you a great price in writing. Even if you think you’ve found ‘the one,’ you can save money by comparing the price for similar vehicles offered by other dealers. If a dealership doesn’t respond, take your business elsewhere.”—Sonia Steinway, President, Outside Financial
2. Keep your trade-in to yourself
“Dealers like to move money around to confuse car buyers about how much they are really getting in the deal. If you mention you want to trade in a car up front, you are opening the door to a shell game. The salesperson will focus on what you want to get for your trade and may artificially inflate the ‘trade allowance’ to get you to say yes. This leaves no room to negotiate on the price of the new car. Furthermore, the salesperson may ask to appraise your trade, taking your keys and literally holding your car hostage until you agree to a deal.”—LeeAnn Shattuck, The Car Chick
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3. Don’t try to haggle
“Salespeople spend their days selling. Chances are you won’t be as good at getting them to give you a great deal as they are at getting you to buy. So focus on what you can do: Force dealers to compete against each other by sending you their best offers.” —Sonia Steinway, President, Outside Financial