How to buy a new car in any economy

Now is not the time to run out and buy a new car if yours works perfectly well. But if you are in the market, you can look forward to some great deals, as cars are piling up in storage lots and dealers are anxious to move inventory.

Whether the economy is bad or good, there is one sure way to get the best deal on a car.

  1. Pick out the model you want, with the options you want. You can do this at a dealer, but do not buy the car. Go home.
  2. Pick up the phone, call dealer #1, and ask for their best price on the car you want. Get a stock number so you know you are talking about a car they actually have. Make sure you get the salesperson’s name.
  3. Call dealer #2 and see if they have the car you want. If they do, ask them whether they can beat the price dealer #1 gave you.
  4. Once you have called all the dealers you are willing to travel to, start over with dealer #1 and see if they can  beat the lowest price. Keep going until nobody will budge on their best price.
  5. Buy the best-priced car, confident you got the best deal possible.

Some dealers may claim they will not compete with other dealers on price. Leave your number and ask the salesperson to call back if they change their mind. They probably will.

It is a good idea to arrange your own financing before you go to pick up the car. Call your bank or credit union and get approved for your loan. You can always talk to the dealer’s financing department to see if they can give you a better deal, but you can also skip their high-pressure financing shysters altogether.

Finally, some dealers will say anything just to get you in the door. If you show up and the price changes, go to the dealer with the next-best price. Or, if your state allows it, you may want to record your phone calls so you can play back the salesperson’s offer for their supervisor.

Enjoy that new-car smell!

(photo: Wikimedia Commons)