Car Buying: How to get the most for your money by haggling

Date posted: November 18, 2013

Haggling might not be the first thing you think of doing when buying a major purchase like a car, but negotiating for a discount is more commonplace than you may think. In 2012 we knocked an average of £939 off the cost of a car, so there’s no reason why you can’t do the same!

When you see a sticker on the front of the car, don’t assume that’s the price you have to pay. Car dealers will have set the price as high as they can, expecting customers to haggle them down to a price that we feel comfortable with and that they will still make profit from.

Know the value

The first thing to know is what’s a reasonable price for the car you’re buying. Knowing its true value will help you negotiate down to a fair price. There’s lots of resources out there, but car valuation tools such as CAP will most likely lead you in the right direction.

Psychologically too, you need to build up a rapport with the dealer. They will be happier to lower the cost of the car if they feel that you’re non-compromising. You’ll need to get over your natural instinct to please and not offend to get the best bang for your buck.

Many car salespeople will have their own targets too, so you may find that they are dying to get you to buy the car so that they can meet their monthly target.

Have all the information

Don’t be bamboozled – do a little research before going to your local dealer, to prove that the cars they are selling are overpriced and worthy of a discount. Check if cars that are claimed to be new are soon to be replaced with another model or if they are going to get a facelift. If that’s the case then you’ll certainly be able to use this as a bargaining tool.

If you’re looking for a used car then ask questions about how long the dealer has had the car on their forecourt. If they’ve had it for a while they may be quick to accept a discount just to see the back of it!

Consider other factors too – is the colour of the car desirable? Does it have all the extras that usually come with a car of its type? Any flaw can easily be used as a negotiating point.

Of course, you should always test drive the car, and this will also reveal any quirks that the car may have that you can use to haggle. Have a look at the documents too – if the car is nearing its MoT then this can be negotiated, or if the car doesn’t have its full documents this is certainly something that you can use to bargain the cost of the car down.

The most important thing to remember though, is if you can’t reach a deal that makes you happy, then walk away. The dealer may be quick to accept your negotiation, and if they don’t then there’s always another car and another dealership around the corner!

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