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(Updated Jan 20th, 2017)


Tell me the BEST way to get a great deal on a new car!!


There are countless articles, services, forums, and opinions all over the internet on how to get the best price for a car.  Do you not have the time to read it all and figure it out??  You have come to the right place!  We will tell you THE BEST way to buy a car and get THE BEST deal.  Car buying is a game invented by dealers.  How much time and effort you want to invest in the game in most cases determines if you get a good deal vs a great deal.  Email us your thoughts and comments, we like to hear from our uses.  


Pick the car you want to buy

The first thing you need to do is obviously pick which car you want to buy.  You MUST separate the process of picking a car from the process of buying a car.  Pick the exact model you want, the color, the options, the engine choice, etc.  RESALE VALUE should be a big consideration in what you choose, not just the purchase price.  A Hyundai may cost less than a Toyota, but it actually costs more over time since the resale value is so much lower.

You should go to a dealership to test drive different cars, and consider your options.  Just always remember, you are there to look, NOT TO BUY.


Depending on where you live, there are auto shows that can serve as a great way to shop for a car.  Nowhere else can you sit in virtually every make of a car in such a short amount of time.



Once you have picked a car, the next big decision is whether to lease or buy the car.  Buying is almost always a cheaper option over the long-term, but leasing has some attractive benefits.  Having a hard time choosing?


Click here to see our page on buying vs. leasing


Now that you are set on the exact make and model of your car, it is now time to BUY THE CAR.


The car buying game

If you are not in a rush to buy the car, always aim to buy it as close to the last day of the month as possible.  These are when you will find the best deals.  Most dealers have sales targets they want to hit each month.  If they are close to a target and it is the end of the month, they will be much more willing to sell a car at cost in order to hit their target.


Step 1) If you are buying one of the popular Honda models, you can use our price guide directly, found on the main menu.  Toyota models will be coming soon.  Otherwise, to determine what a “good” price for the car would be by using THE BEST online resources available


Resource #1-Go to carsdirect.com and get an actual price from them on the specific car you want.  This website is a great starting point and can give you a clue as to current incentives and savings out there.  You can always do better than this price, but it is a start.  You get a price instantly without putting any of your information in.


Resource #2-Go to truecars.com  Find out additional information on specific invoice pricing, dealer incentives, and what others are paying for your car.  You also get this information instantly without providing personal information.


Resource #3-If you want to invest a little time to find out deals that others are getting on your car, you can go to Edmunds.com.  In the forums, there are some discussions on prices that other people pay in different areas.  This can take a bit of time and it is not available for all cars, but it may be worth a shot.  


A GENERAL guideline is that on high volume cars, you should at a minimum be able to buy the car at invoice less any manufacturer incentives that exist.  Invoice is not the true cost to a dealer as there is generally a 2-3% profit off of MSRP(called Holdback) that is built into the invoice number.  Not all dealers will give up some of this profit but again with some work you should be able to find the dealers who will.  Dealers will tell you invoice is their cost and even selling at invoice means they make no profit.  DO NOT fall for that, it is all part of the game.


Step 2) Now that you have an idea of what the car will cost, it is time to contact some dealers.  The BEST ADVICE here is to do it ALL over the Internet.  Never go into a dealership to negotiate until the last step.

You should go to the manufacturer’s website, such as Honda.com, where you can search for dealers in your general area.  Most will have an option to build a car and a section to fill out to get prices.  You should avoid picking the closest dealers to where you live, instead leave those for the end.  Most likely the dealers that are close to you are where you will buy the car.  The goal is to get a great price on the car from a dealer a little further away, THEN you contact the dealership where you want to buy the car and have them meet or beat the price.


When you contact dealers online, add the following comments:

1) You are ready to buy now

2) You are shopping this car around and will buy it for the best offer you receive.  You do not have time to go back and forth so you are requesting their best price now.

3) You want the OUT THE DOOR price that includes everything: taxes, fees, etc.  The exact amount that will be on the bottom of the invoice.


These online forms will require you to give them a phone number.  While you can give your current number, realize that the dealerships may call you many times over and it can be annoying.  A better option is to get yourself a free temporary number for them to call through Google Voice.  Click here for a nice tutorial on how to use Google Voice.  That way you never have to be bothered by the calls.  Dealers are able to leave a voice message that you can listen to.  Remember you should only negotiate by email and phone, not at the dealership.  Also you may want to get yourself a new email account just for this process as they may hound you with emails as well.  It is free to get a new account with any of the major providers.


Some dealers will email you prices, others will tell you that you need to come in and meet them first, or call them.   As the emails come in, you tell anyone who says you must come in that you are shopping by price only and are already set on the exact car you want.  Let them know that other dealers are emailing you prices.  Tell them you are ready to buy it for the best deal but are busy during the day in meetings and it is best to get a price by the Internet.  Let them know again that you do not plan to go back and forth, you will buy for the best deal you receive from the local dealerships.

Through this process of emails, you can negotiate with the dealers.  The one who gives you the best price you shouldn’t respond to. immediately  The other emails, you can tell them that you got a better price and can ask if that is their best.  If they ask for proof, you don’t need to give it, simply ignore it and say thank you for their time, you will just go purchase from the other dealer.  If they have a better offer they can feel free to email you.  At that point you can also tell them the offer you received, even if it is just one you saw online from the forums, or for anywhere.  At worst, they say they can’t do that price.

If you are satisfied with the price you have, then you are done.  If you want to try for a better price, keep reading!


To get a very good price


Now is when you can call up your local dealer, ask to speak to a sales manager, tell them the price you have, that you will come in now to buy it if they can beat this price.  You can give them specifics about the price but make sure you give them the total out the door price with all fees that you have.  They may say that you need to come in and discuss.  Tell them that you have very little time and are shopping online and by phone only for the best price.  At any point feel free to end the call by being polite and thanking for them for their time.  You can try multiple dealers this way.  The more time you want to invest the better price you may get.


Talking on the phone is an important step because the salesperson can much more easily relate you to a potential sale.  They receive many email requests that do not go anywhere.  But having you on the phone  adds a real person to the equation.  You must tell them you are ready to buy now and that you will close the sale within the next 24-48 hours.  And usually to get a great price you will need to end the call and leave them with your phone number.  This gives them the chance to reconsider their price position and allows them a way to contact you directly.  


To get THE BEST price

On a piece of paper jot down all of your price details: Car price, tax, motor vehicle fees, dealer fees, etc, for a total out the door price.  You can jot this down yourself, it doesn’t have to be an official email from a dealer.  Take your paper with all of the info and head over to your local dealer.  You may want to bring another person with you as well.  At the dealership showroom start casually looking at the car.  Eventually they will come over to you.


Salesperson:  Some sort of introduction, “Hello, how are you today, my name is Bob”.  You should be friendly and tell them your name.  They may ask what you are looking at, or if you have questions, or some type of opening conversation starter.


Your response: “Honestly I am just here to look at the car one more time before buying it, I am going to buy it from a different dealer”  If you are with another person:  “I just want to show Mary the car I am going to buy.  I am ready to buy it from another dealer but this is the closest dealer to my house to show her the car.  I would prefer to buy here but this dealership did not have the lowest price and you are shopping based on cost”


They will ask you where you are buying from.  You can give them just general information about a dealership, but again you don’t need to be specific.  If they get pushy just say thank you and that you are only here to look at the car one more time.  Tell them again how you would have liked to buy here but price is your primary focus.  And your time was limited so you did all of your shopping online.  Always keep everything positive.


They may say that if you have written proof of a price, they will match it.  Tell them you have the specifics (take out your paper) and you can show it to them.  If they say they need proof from the other dealer, or the name of a salesperson, just again be polite and say thank you but you will just buy from the other dealer.

They may now ask you to come to their desk and sit down to review it.  The key here is that you don’t really want them to meet the price, you want them to beat it.  If they come back and say they can match the price, you should politely say “I have spent a good amount of time with the other dealership, it wouldn’t be right to then walk away from them, they have been great and have invested time with me”


At this point you will most likely need to walk out of the dealership.  They might tell you why it is better to deal with them, or other advantages, etc.  But say you are shopping on price, and say how they wouldn’t be happy if a customer they spent time with went to another dealer for the same price.  It would have to be a better deal in order for you to do that.  You really are just here to take one more look at the car.  

They might say they can’t do any better, be polite and say thank you very much, and then go back to looking at the car.  This will give them time to reconsider.  Or you can give them your number and say you are buying it from the other dealer tomorrow.  If anything changes, they can give you a call.  And then walk out.  Usually unless you walk out of a dealership, you are not going to get offered their rock bottom price.


The key to remember is that whatever deal they told you, even if it is “only good today”, in most cases, it will be good tomorrow.  Nothing is to stop you from calling them tomorrow and saying that you will buy the car for that price.


Most likely what will happen is they will call you after you have walked out, with a better deal.  Or while in the dealership, they will ask you how much they need to beat that deal in order for you to buy it right now.


That is up to you, but you should pick something more then you really would settle for.  If $500 is the target, tell them $750.  If they come back and say they can’t do that, perhaps you can get them to throw something else in.  A free first service, or an accessory on the car.  You should also have that in mind before you go in.


Here is where you stick to your plan.  If they don’t come down to your price, be polite and say thank you very much, and then just walk out.  Without walking out, in most cases you will not be able to get your price.


Over the next 24 hours, they most likely will call you back with a best and final offer.  If you have had enough negotiating, and are happy with the price, then you have bought yourself a new car!  Throughout this process, the most important concept to remember is that you are in no rush (even if you are), you probably need to walkout at least once, and you will not feel any pressure.  Never walk into a dealership to discuss price until you have done all of your work online through email and phone calls.  The example above is just one way to approach a dealer.  Other similar types of discussions can work as well.  

The game is not over!

Now that you are are settled on your price and are ready to buy, you probably think you are done.  But that is not true.  You must survive one of the biggest challenges: meeting the Finance person to sign the papers.  Believe it or not, this is where you can quickly go from getting a great deal to getting a bad deal.  We have a  whole section dedicated to this!  Click here to read our page all about it.


Some more good reading:

Click here to see our page on how to maximize your value and how long to keep a car


Good luck, feel free to email us any questions, comments, or results that you get.  We have done this a few times with great results!

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