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I’m in the market to buy a new car. What are the best strategies to negotiate a deal I feel comfortable with?

I’m in the market to buy a new car. What are the best strategies to negotiate a deal I feel comfortable with?

Knowledge is your biggest ally in the negotiation process, so start by using the Internet to carefully research the vehicle that best suits your needs before ever setting foot on a showroom floor. Go to manufactures’ sites to see what colors, styles and configurations work for you, and look at sites like Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds and TrueCar to get an idea of availability and pricing. When you feel you’re ready to purchase, use one of these large aggregator sites to request a no-obligation quote.

To Trade or Not to Trade?
You will probably make a little more money if you manage to sell your old car privately. But private sales can be time-consuming and problematic, especially when it comes to the financing and paperwork. Trading in your old car is generally quick and easy, and you reduce the total price of the new vehicle as well as receiving a sales tax credit.

Waiting for the Best Time to Buy

Holding out until the end of the month, or the end of a model year, may mean you’ll have to compromise on your choice of configuration, style and/or color. The average gross profit on a car deal is not nearly as much as people think, so if you go into a showroom as an educated consumer, you’ll likely get a good deal whether it’s the first or the last day of the month.

Closing the Deal

The purchasing process will take about four to five hours, so make sure you’re not pressured and have plenty of time available when you walk into the showroom. There is about a 6 to 10 percent profit margin in a new car sale, and if you’ve done your research thoroughly, you should have a pretty good idea of what the dealer paid for the vehicle. Throughout the negotiation process focus on the total price you’ll be paying, including all taxes and fees, and the variables which make up that price: the trade-in value of you old car, the finance rate, the term of the loan or lease, etc. Don’t be distracted by what your monthly payment will be; variables can be manipulated to make a payment affordable, but you may end up paying more for your car in the long run.

Once you’ve calculated the entire amount the car is going to cost you, and you’re happy with the terms being offered, then you can close the deal. If you feel uncomfortable at any time, or that you can’t afford the car, walk away. You can always come back another day.

About the Expert

Joe Webb is the founder of DealerKnows Consulting. He is an auto e-commerce expert and trains car dealership sales teams throughout the country.

Tags: cars , Shopping