When It Comes To Your Next Car, Be The Shepherd, Not The Sheep

Mon, 19 Dec 2011

I spend at least 2 hours each day in my car; it is a Honda Element with some nice accoutrements that I bought used from a dealer in Rhode Island. It safely gets me from home to work, and to whatever shuttling my kids require. It does what I need it to do. In hindsight, I could benefit from better gas mileage, but I’ll take safety and utility for an extra $15/week at the pump. So how do you plan to buy your next car? Will you join the herd and scan the Internet for your local dealer’s website? Perhaps even look at the “Invoice” price from http://edmunds.comThis is a third party link. Please review the third party content guidelines for more details.? When you finally decide to take the plunge, keep these thoughts in mind so you don’t get sheared; a cold winter is coming.  

Needs vs. Wants

Know what you need, and then what you want: seems simple, but really think about what you’ll be doing with a convertible for the next 5 months, never mind years; it’s not a marriage, but you and your new/used car will be living together for the foreseeable future.  


Is the End-of-the-Month Theory Correct?

The whole end-of-the-month buy theory is somewhat flawed. Quarterly is more likely and Wintertime is always a good bet, but you never know when there is an internal contest or what the quota number is for your Dealer friends to make their bonuses. Hint – If you are introduced to the Sales Manager on your first visit, chances are your salesperson is under the gun to close you that day to earn some kind of $$ from the Manufacturer.  


Walk Out

Unless you get your “deal” number, walk out of the sales negotiation. Make up an excuse like, “I have to take my kids to soccer.” Get out of their cross hairs and make them think you’ll shop somewhere else. Be careful, they will try to keep you there and wear you down. But be friendly – they WILL call you incessantly if you leave without buying.  


Check Online

If you can, find “your” car online and share that price. I used CarMax.com in my negotiation. When you finally call back, ask for the Sales Manager and give him/her your final offer along the lines of, “(insert Salesperson name) told me to call back if I was interested. I definitely am, but this is what I’m approved for, can you accept that?” I called my friendly Sales Manager, offered him my price which was $2,800 below sticker. He called my cell phone and told me to pick up the car the next day. He didn’t seem happy, but I’m sure he’ll get the next guy.  


Remember, Know yourself, Know what you can afford, Know the Car Dealer is not a kind shepherd, but out to maximize his profit, and Know Patience, and you will be rewarded with a car you can share special moments with. What have you done in car negotiations that have or haven’t worked?