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The Slickdeals Approach to Negotiating the Price of a New Car (Updated July 22, 2010)

thelnel52 2,440 March 26, 2010 at 01:29 PM
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By: Alex Craig (SD User: thelnel52)

Preface: There have been numerous threads in the past (on this site and on others) that have dealt with the topic of buying a new car. The approach that follows is the author's (who worked as a car salesman for all of a summer) suggestion, based on personal experience, advice from elsewhere on the web, and basic econ theory. We plan to update this article periodically if users have suggestions for improvement. Although it is a work in progress, it has been verified to work and is more effective than what the majority of new car shoppers end up doing. Also, stay tuned, as more "Slickdeals Approach to..." posts are coming, covering other auto topics (selling/buying a used car, financing a car) as well as other general financial topics...

March 26, 2010
Updated July 22, 2010

NOTE: The article originally featured carsdirect.com as the first source for information. A user pointed out that truecar.com actually does a better job- I gave the site a try and found that (1) the prices seem to be lower for a number of different cars and (2) there is much more information, including holdbacks, average prices paid, etc. That's why, in the update, I changed the links. Also, I reached out to TrueCar.com and a representative of the company will be here, in this thread, starting Friday the 23rd of July to answer any questions that you guys might have about TrueCar specifically or car buying in general.

Some people know offhand how many lb-ft. of torque a Mustang GT has and how long the Prius' battery is under warranty. Without even thinking, they know the tissue on a 3-series, what a money factor of .00015 translates to in terms of APR, and when the Hyundai Genesis is due for a redesign. They know how to find if a dealer is close to a volume bonus or if he's struggling to pay his lease, and they know how to figure out how many days a particular car has been on the lot. Armed with this information (and tons more), these people can walk into a dealership, stare into the dealer's soul, and get the absolute best price. If you're one of these people, skip to the end of this post, because it will bore you, but please stay around to answer some questions below.

For the rest of us, the Slickdeals approach to negotiating the price of a car, although not as effective as the soul-reading approach, is beautiful in its simplicity. I worked as a car salesman, and about 95% of the people who bought from me could have done better if they had followed the approach outlined below. The overriding goal is to get the dealers competing with one another for your business; there are only three steps.

1. Find a Starting Point
Once you know the model and the options you desire, go to www.truecar.com, build the car, and SAVE THE PRINTOUT (this will be handy for the rest of the negotiation)

2. Get Them Bidding
Send a message to every dealer of that make within a 100-mile radius (this can be done by going to the brand's website and searching, most of the time there is a "contact us" button) that includes:

a salutation (better if you can find a specific name, but "Fleet Sales Manager" is ok)
the specific model and options you desire,
the date you will purchase the car,
an indication that you are soliciting "bids" for two days
an indication that bids should not include taxes or dmv fees, but should include everything from the dealership (including destination charges, etc.)
the TrueCar price,
your phone number and email address,
your name
(use the letter below as a guide):

Dear Fleet Sales Manager,

I am planning on purchasing a new '10 Ford Edsel EX, with the comfort package. I am indifferent to the color. For the next two days, I am taking bids- please contact me with your price for this car, with these options, inclusive of the all fees except for tax and dmv fees. If you have the lowest bid, I will come in on Monday morning at 11:00 to take delivery. As a starting point, I have a bid from TrueCar of $21,324 on a car with an MSRP of $24,333, including destination charges.

I can be reached at 909.234.5678 or by responding to this email.

Sincerely,

Mr. Slickdeals

3. Declare a Winner
Wait two days- Save emails, and if a dealer calls, be polite, but as direct as possible. Ask "what is your bid and what is the MSRP of that particular car?" and write the numbers down. Next, ask "what is your name and do you have a direct number?"- write that information down, too. Also note the time and date that the call took place.

Once all of the bids are in, hopefully there's one clear winner. If no one could beat TrueCar, then just go with TrueCar dealer. If you end up going with a dealer, email the fleet manager and say "Your offer of x for y with z options was the lowest. Please let me know the VIN and I would like to come in Monday to take delivery". When you come in, make sure to have a copy of this email and his response (or your notes from the phone conversation), just in case there's a "misunderstanding".

Note 1: The 100 mile radius suggestion is applicable if you life in an area that isn't particularly densely populated, such as the central valley of California. If you live in an area with car dealers every five miles, then you can probably reduce that number. If you live in North Dakota, then you might expand it to 250 miles.

Note 2: You can also include more than one make/model with your note. In fact, it's preferable that you do. Just think- if you're buying a 52" LCD tv, you don't just go out looking only at Samsungs. You probably find prices for a Samsung, a Sony, a Panasonic, an LG, and a Vizio. It's tough to tell what the best deal is until you know what the prices are relative to one another.

If you have a better method, or suggestions to make this method better, please post below.

Thank you Andy Newson for the image above

Image: Andy Newson / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

470 Comments

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#46
Quote from grneal View Post :
I always buy off of the car newspaper ads that come out. They are the loss leaders. I always call first and make sure they have the exact model still in stock and make sure they don't have dealer add ons. I just recently bought a Ford Focus for $11,900 that had a MSRP of $17,800. I bought an F-150 for $19,900 a few years back off of an ad with an MSRP of $32,400. I sold it after driving it for 3.5 years and 38,000 miles for $17,900. All of these cars are new.
This is good strategy as long as the dealer is willing to sell that stock#. 90% of the time, they either won't sell you that car for some reason or the other ( like its sold already, etc ) or simply the stock # in the ad would be under equipped.

But it is good if you are able to pin the dealer down to the ad price by giving him a credit card #, a nominal deposit and then go to pick up the car.
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#47
Or, you can do some research, know the invoice, know the car, know know know....and then haggle...for days...weeks....until they meet your lowball price.... it works....

I know several dealships in my area that wont even play the email and call price game....you want a price you need to go talk to them..... and carsdirect is NOT the lowest price you can get for a car....
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#48
Is there any thread on how to get the best home loan interest rate ?
And what is better if you are going to hold on the property for 5 yrs, 10 yrs or 20 yrs or more. A FHA or Conventional (provided you have the $$ to do a usual 10-20% down payment for a conventional loan)

I like the way OP started "Some people know offhand how many........." I am among those with less knowledge about most of these financial, loan related terms and the contributions are really great on this thread. I am new to all this terms, a potential first time home buyer and I am sure there are many here on SD who don't have this knowledge...
So just want to know if there is/was a thread with wealth of information about home loans.
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L7: Teacher
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#49
Quote from Deptacon View Post :
Or, you can do some research, know the invoice, know the car, know know know....and then haggle...for days...weeks....until they meet your lowball price.... it works....

I know several dealships in my area that wont even play the email and call price game....you want a price you need to go talk to them..... and carsdirect is NOT the lowest price you can get for a car....
Deptacon,

You're right, carsdirect isn't the lowest price you can get for a car. It does, at the very least, give you an idea of the market for a car. If you can get $5k off of sticker just by going through them, you know that model isn't in demand.

You mention know know know... what exactly do you do to prepare to buy the car? The point of this thread is developing a better way to buy cars (like how slickdeals is a better way to buy plasma TVs than just stumbling into best buy). If you have some ideas, please share them.
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L7: Teacher
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#50
Quote from Arien View Post :
Is there any thread on how to get the best home loan interest rate ?
And what is better if you are going to hold on the property for 5 yrs, 10 yrs or 20 yrs or more. A FHA or Conventional (provided you have the $$ to do a usual 10-20% down payment for a conventional loan)

I like the way OP started "Some people know offhand how many........." I am among those with less knowledge about most of these financial, loan related terms and the contributions are really great on this thread. I am new to all this terms, a potential first time home buyer and I am sure there are many here on SD who don't have this knowledge...
So just want to know if there is/was a thread with wealth of information about home loans.
Arien,
There is a thread floating around regarding home loans, we're also working on putting something more comprehensive together (by we, I mean someone who isn't me but from whom I will steal all of the credit).
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#51
Quote from vyahoo View Post :
Thanks. Your article was very good. But, can you share some inside stories of the dealerships ? What does a dealership feel when you use smartbuying techniques like these ? Is the salesman getting squeezed out ? Also, if you guys have noticed, the invoice prices and MSRPs are getting close to each other for many cars. Earlier, they used to be a good 2K apart. Nowadays, it is just around 1k. That is obviously some design there.

Invoice price is no holy grail.. it is just the dealer's list price. One would never know what the true cost of the car for the dealer was. Is there any trick to know that ? As a salesman, what were the numbers you were exposed to ?

The Dealerships/sales force - they got to eat too. Somtimes, I do feel sorry for them. But for too long, they have held the aces, pretty much mistreating the customers.

If you are trying to buy a car in Florida - there is a ridiculous fee of around $800 per car - DEALER ADMIN FEE!!!!.. And it applies for used cars too... That is the most absurd thing I have ever heard...

I was the "Internet Sales Rep" for a local Subaru dealership in the Seattle area for one year. Technically, I was the "Internet Manager," because I handled all Internet inquiries, but I wasn't paid like a manager. I was a salesperson with a different title, lol. Working in car sales was...an interesting experience. I definitely learned a lot about people in general, some good, some not-so-good. I could certainly tell you-all some stories. :-)

Dealerships (and any other sales/commission-based businesses) generally hate Internet/savvy/informed buyers. The biggest reason, in my opinion, is that it drives down their gross profit per sale, and profit = money in pocket. Volume is nothing to them unless it contributes to a higher profit.

However, as some of us know, volume sales at a lower price per unit can sometimes equal a higher gross profit in the end. This is why some dealerships tout being the "#1 Volume Seller in region/state/nation." But, each dealer is different. Some embrace volume sales to make up for the lack of profit from each sale. Others attempt to squeeze the max profit per customer. Sure, they sell less units, but they make a lot of money on each transaction.

At the particular dealership I worked for, their focus was almost always profit. And the philosophy of squeezing each customer for those few more dollars was the message driven into us from the top down. We'd have what I like to call our "Friday Morning Mass/Sermon" in the tiny back room. The owner would stand in front of us all and literally pump his fist and preach about sales techniques and tactics. His general manager, the second in command, would stand at his right side, literally. I was fascinated each Friday because the way he talked was almost exactly like a bible-thumping priest/pastor would at church on Sunday. They would say that if you qualified the customer properly, asked the right questions, and went through the holy "seven steps to a sale," you would be rewarded with riches.

As far as how the "dealership" feels about smart-buying techniques...eh, I think the dealership could care less. The dealership as a whole entity only cares about making the sale. Granted, they want profit, but if all they get instead is another tick-mark on the sales board, they'll take it.

But... smart-buying techniques can also be good for a dealership that specializes in volume sales. And personally, I think volume dealers are in a position to do much better than profit-based ones. With all the web sites and car-buying services, it's just soooo fast utilizing those services. Why spend five hours at the car lot negotiating and dealing with multiple closers, when a flick of the costco card can get you a great deal and out enjoying your car under an hour? For salespeople, time is money. The less time you spend closing a customer, no matter how much money you make, is a better thing. Because every second you spend closing one deal is a second you could be spending closing another deal.

When I had really good days, I would have customers lined up waiting for me, and I'd churn out a deal every 15 minutes. These people did everything online, and it just made everything so easy. They knew exactly what options, what colors, accessories, they were pre-approved, and it was bam-bam-bam, in-and-out. I loved it because I was a volume seller, and I was set up to close more people at a lower profit. The normal salespeople hated it because although they got a quick sale, there was little money in it unless it bumped their volume to a point where bonuses kicked in.

Somewhere in this thread, a former salesperson mentioned the received $200 as a minimum commission. Considering an average of 7-10 sales/month, a salesperson receiving all $200 minis can expect around $1400-2000/month, or somewhere around $9-$12/hour. If you're in new cars sales, plug in any bonuses (anywhere from $50-$200+ per car sold, as a supreme generalization, it totally varies), and you could be doing well enough to eke out an existence.

But what you have to remember is that each dealership has different minimums. My dealership's minimum commission? $50. Yep, you heard right. Personally, I think the minimum commission can give you an indication of whether a dealership is volume-oriented or profit-oriented, but that's hard to tell without knowing somebody who works there. With a $200 mini, you'd have to sell higher over the invoice to raise your commission past $200, which might not give you an incentive to try as hard to maximize your profit. A salesperson could sell nothing but minimum-profit deals, and still do alright. With my $50 minimum, if I sold nothing but minimum-profit deals, I'd be screwed when payday came around.

Luckily though, Washington State stipulates that if a salesperson's total commission for a pay period falls below minimum wage, we get paid the minimum wage, not our commission total. So if I only made $800 in commissions, but minimum wage was $9/hour x 180 hours, I'd get paid $1620 instead of $800. In that sense, our minimum wasn't actually $50, it was more like $160 (based on ten deals). But you can imagine the negative psychological effect. Plus, at my dealership, if you sold nothing but minis for a whole month, AND you were only hitting 7-10 cars, you'd better start looking for another job. Basically, you were ok if you did high-volume/low-profit, or low-volume/high-profit. And then there was always the guy who did both, hitting 25+ deals/month plus having the highest average profit...

Is the salesman getting squeezed out when smart-buying tactics are used? Yes and no. Yes because it brings his/her personal commission down, which is bad in a dealership that uses a low minimum-commission. But no if the deal is completed quickly due to the customer having all their stuff in order, because it frees the salesperson up faster to complete other deals. And if the salesperson makes a decent mini, like $200/$300 per deal, it could be even better. It just depends.

As far as invoice price goes, it's become a number just like MSRP. It used to be, from what I heard from the old-timers, that invoice was invoice, and it was kept hidden because it was the dealer's true cost. Nowadays, because anybody can find invoice price, manufacturers have built "protection" into the invoice cost. There are things like holdbacks and allowances, as well as quarterly bonuses. But those, I've heard, tend to differ depending on a lot of factors, and almost all those things are kept hidden from the consumer. That's why you can sometimes buy cars for less than invoice (before rebates). Say a manufacturer offers 3% of MSRP as holdback. On a $20,000 car, that's $600 of profit built right into the price of the car. Add in any manufacturer allowances for insurance/flooring, and that number goes higher. Allowances are eaten up as the car sits on the lot, which is why dealers tend to try and sell cars that have been sitting, because they are eating more profit faster than cars just off the truck.

My dealership RARELY dipped below listed invoice...like, three times in the whole year. If somebody started demading discounts into our holdback/allowance/etc, we were told to stop all negotiations and show them the door. The managers just wouldn't go there.

Holdbacks and allowances are generally tricky areas to navigate because of how secretive dealers can be about it. Maybe there are some who are willing to go there, but from my experience, many do not. Some manufacturers don't even offer holdback to dealers, and I'm sure that allowances differ heavily.

When it comes to cars that have a very small differential between invoice/MSRP, it's usually the case for small cars. The Honda Fit we just bought had maybe $800 between the two. It was about the same for the Subaru Impreza when I was working back then. But, for the Subaru B9 Tribeca SUV in 2006, it was almost $4000. SUVs always had a bigger margin, whereas small cars have smaller margins. It's just the way it is.

I agree that salespeople have to eat, and it's hard even for me sometimes when I go to a commission-based store and negotiate the price of something down to nothing. As a salesperson, I hate consumers like that, but as a savvy consumer, I love it. For average consumers, it's a nightmare. They don't like knowing that somebody else might have gotten a better deal.

Really, though, I do feel bad for salespeople because they get screwed the worst. Actual sales managers at dealerships get a cut of each deal, so they automatically make more money than salespeople. And if the salespeople do well, the managers make even more money. The profit simply flows to the top. So if there's anybody to get angry at, it's the managers and owners. Some salespeople are really bad, but most, like me, were just guys trying to get by. I didn't like screwing people over, but I did what I had to in order to keep my job and keep food on my table.

But you know, the screwing goes both ways. Some customers at car dealerships are actually worse than the salespeople. But I'll save that for another post. Here's a hint though. "Customer satisfaction survey..."

Oh, and don't even get me started on used car sales...whole different can 'o worms there, lol.

If there's any questions that anybody has that I might be able to answer, feel free to post them or PM me.
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#52
When it comes to pricing by email, almost every dealership's web site has a link for a "quick quote" or something similar. When I see that link, I'll bring that point up when they start playing games about pricing by email. If they say something like "please call me," I would simply remind them that their "quick quote" form on the web site seemed to imply that you would be receiving a quote, not a reply saying to call them. You could also say that by not offering you a price through email, they are simply throwing a sale opportunity away. And if they still refuse, just don't deal with them. Unless you live in an area where dealerships are very few and far between, there's plenty of competition for your business. In any case, always walk away from a dealer that refuses to work with you on something reasonable like that.

But, make sure that if you are emailing and asking for a price, you need to know the basics on what kind of car you want. You need to know the model, trim level, and factory options/packages at the very least. The most frustrating emails I ever got were from people who asked for a price or worse, a price range on a vauge model. Say they asked for a price on a 2006 Impreza. "Well, hmm, there are three different kinds of 2006 Impreza, ranging in price from $18,000 to $36,000, why not come in and let's find out which one matches your needs? Let's narrow it down, have you test drive the vehicle, and then when we find a car that fits what you're looking for, we can find our best price on that specific car, because really, the price is slightly different for each car in our showroom." At this point, I'm in a better position to turn them into profit-based customers without ever having actually had to give them a real price.

So long story short, know what you want first before ever getting into price. It's just easier on everybody. :-)
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#53
Quote from Deptacon View Post :
Or, you can do some research, know the invoice, know the car, know know know....and then haggle...for days...weeks....until they meet your lowball price.... it works....

I know several dealships in my area that wont even play the email and call price game....you want a price you need to go talk to them..... and carsdirect is NOT the lowest price you can get for a car....
This is what I am running into as well. The three dealerships I contacted in the area via Edmunds.com have been very rude via email and keep telling me to come in to see the "real" price, claiming they will give me a better price once I'm in there. I'm really fed up with them all. I have a trade in otherwise I would just buy from carsdirect.com

Why do they think being rude is going to pay off??
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#54
Quote from amc2007 View Post :
This is what I am running into as well. The three dealerships I contacted in the area via Edmunds.com have been very rude via email and keep telling me to come in to see the "real" price, claiming they will give me a better price once I'm in there. I'm really fed up with them all. I have a trade in otherwise I would just buy from carsdirect.com

Why do they think being rude is going to pay off??
It's called COLLUSION [wikipedia.org],,The dealers are and have gotten together to try and stop the practice of playing the online game of being pitted in a bidding war against each other.

LQQK
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Frys FAR deals searcher
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#55
It's time to look further away at other dealerships if your local ones give you crap. I looked as far away at 1000 miles last time.
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#56
Quote from LQQK View Post :
It's called COLLUSION [wikipedia.org],,The dealers are and have gotten together to try and stop the practice of playing the online game of being pitted in a bidding war against each other.

LQQK
I don't think it's necessarily a case of all the owners getting together and secretly agreeing to not do email quotes. One probably started doing it, and the rest followed, which is different.

I know that our dealership owner knew all the other ones. But I never got the sense that there were any "secret agreements" between them.

But then again, I only sold Subarus in an area where there were at least 7 dealerships all willing to fight for the same customers, and an abundance of other manufacturers' dealers. I don't know what it's like in rural areas or places with sparse competition.


Really though, if you can manage it, the best way to get anything done when it comes to pricing issues is to just skip the salesperson altogether. If you know what you want, and know the price you want to pay, just call the dealership and, or if you're already there, ask for the sales manager. Not the internet manager, or the floor manager, but the actual sales manager. He/she is the boss, and has the authority to say yes or no to anything.

The best part is that you can ask to speak with a sales manager at any time. If you're in person, you can simply ask for one and refuse to do anything until one shows up. If you're on the phone, same thing until they transfer you. Even if you're emailing the internet people at a dealership, you should be able to ask for a sales manager to get back to you.

But...sales managers don't want to talk to people unless they really have to (after all, that's what the salespeople are for), so you have to always assure them that you're ready to deal right now, because that's all that matters to them. If you do ask for one, be prepared to not see one.

Being prepared and ready is really the bottom line in anything you try to do when buying a car at a dealership. If you're unsure about anything, you are only giving them opportunity to make more money off you.

I know it's really easy to just push the "request quote" button at Edmunds/etc, but if you're not serious about buying a car within a week or so, you really don't deserve a quote. If you don't know what car you want, you don't deserve a quote. It's no use talking to a dealer about price if you don't even know if you actually want to buy their car. Once you've narrowed it down to the two, maybe three models you are actually willing to buy, and all the options, etc, , AND you've test driven them all, then by all means go crazy with quotes and such. But by the time you reached that point, you should also be ready to buy a car within a few days, if not right away, which are the magic words dealers want to hear. That's why sites like Edmunds exist. To get all your research out the way, and therefore streamline the buying process for both buyer and dealer.

That said, timing does play a varying factor in whether a dealership will take a lower price on a car. Prices do change slightly every month due to changes in manufacturer's incentives. Sundays can be good days to buy, as well as the last couple days of the month. There is always an incentive for dealers to try and hit their next volume bonus tier. On sundays, we loved to try and squeeze out a few more cars to hit our weekend volume goal, even if it meant giving out some "stupid deals." Same thing for the end of the month.

Just because a tool like "request quote" is available, doesn't mean it should be abused. I can't tell you how many times I've sent out a quote, only to never hear from them again. Internet sales are an absolute waste of time for some dealers. I would get between 5 and 15 emails per day asking for quotes, and I would say that 80% of the time I heard nothing back, while 15% bought cars with other dealership, and I closed the last 5%. I can't tell you how many times my sales manager expressed his frustration at giving out invoice quotes and still not hearing anything back. I bet that a lot them were just "seeing what they could get" before they even started their research, which honestly, is not the way to go about it.

I'm not trying to be rude or take the dealership's side per se, but this was my experience, from my side of the negotiating table. People get so mad at salespeople/dealers, and most of the time its justified, but sometimes, it's the customers who cause the problems. :-)
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#57
Quote from thelnel52 View Post :
<p style="text-align: center;"><a title="car-photo" href="/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/car-photo.jpg"><img class="attachment wp-att-1232 centered" src="/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/car-photo.thumbnail.jpg" alt="car-photo" width="500" height="332" /></a></p>
Thank you Andy Newson for the image above

<a href="http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=5">Image: Andy Newson / FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a>
Oh yes ... thank you Andy! Drool




Thumbup
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L7: Teacher
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#58
funkeycold,

You have some good points and you illustrate one of the most frustrating components of car shopping- prices are so hidden that it's tough to make a really intelligent decision. For example, if they're the same price, I'd probably prefer the newer Accord to the Camry (assuming similar trim levels, etc.). However, if a Toyota dealer is willing to sell at invoice - 500, while the Accord is invoice +750, then I'd rather have the Camry. The thing is, you don't know that until you put some effort in. Compare that to buying a TV- you get on to slickdeals and see that there's a 50" Samsung for $800, or a 42" LG for $450. The Samsung is a great deal (better than any of your friends did for sure), but the LG is just too inexpensive to pass up, so you go with that.
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#59
I got an internet quote of 2% above invoice without doing anything
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#60
Quote from thelnel52 View Post :
funkeycold,

You have some good points and you illustrate one of the most frustrating components of car shopping- prices are so hidden that it's tough to make a really intelligent decision. For example, if they're the same price, I'd probably prefer the newer Accord to the Camry (assuming similar trim levels, etc.). However, if a Toyota dealer is willing to sell at invoice - 500, while the Accord is invoice +750, then I'd rather have the Camry. The thing is, you don't know that until you put some effort in. Compare that to buying a TV- you get on to slickdeals and see that there's a 50" Samsung for $800, or a 42" LG for $450. The Samsung is a great deal (better than any of your friends did for sure), but the LG is just too inexpensive to pass up, so you go with that.
In the true slickdeals sense, I agree, the better deal is always the one to get, just as you show in your TV example.

However (and I'm going to go off-topic just a little), I believe that in reality, you have to consider at least some of the emotional aspect. In three months, are you going to regret taking the slickdeal on the smaller 42" when you could have had (and maybe really wanted) the 50", albeit it costing a little more (yet still was a good deal in it's own right)?


Some people can overlook a lot of things regarding their vehicle purchase. They are the kinds of people who say "it's just a mode of transportation, and it's only purpose is to get me from A to B." If this is the case, you honestly should just buy a cheaper used car, because those (I believe, I don't have facts in front of me) tend to be cheaper overall than buying new.

The other kind of person is emotionally attached to their vehicle. They buy it for more than that one singular purpose. Maybe it's the feeling they get from driving it. Maybe they like the materials, or the styling, or the prestige associated with a brand.

If you prefer an Accord over a Camry (equally paper-specced), you have be absolutely sure that you can live with your decision to take the better deal on the Camry. Will you miss those things that made you prefer it over the Camry? Is going with your lesser choice worth $1250 (the difference in your example)? What if the difference was only $100? $500?

Sometimes making the decision is not so black and white as just "taking the slickest deal," especially when it comes to big-ticket purchases like cars, TVs, and houses. Granted, people say you should just take emotion out of the equation, but I think you should only do that for negotiations. You still have to take it into account on deciding whether the product is a good fit for you. New Hyundais are sometimes said to be comparable to Hondas/Toyotas, yet cost thousands less. Would this entice the slick-dealer within to consider one of a Hyundai? Or will your emotions/perceptions tell you "Mehhhh...nah."?
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