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View Full Version : How to get the best price for a car?



tommac
2008-Dec-01, 04:13 PM
Hi all,

I am looking to purchase a car ( Honda Civic ) here in the US ( NJ to be specific).

I am looking for a low milage lease.

I hate buying cars as it seems that all dealerships are crooks and I need to engage in stressful negotiations or get totally ripped off.

I know that the economy is in the ... well is not good and I think the car industry is hit really hard so I would think that car dealerships would be desperate to sell cars.

What can I do to make sure that I get the best price for a leased car?
Can you recommend any tricks here?

Does it matter when you buy a car? End of Month, End of Year etc ...
Is there a place where I can look up what other people are buying?
Are there certain cars/packages that dealerships are trying to get rid of?

Any advice would be appreciated.

samkent
2008-Dec-01, 05:26 PM
Try going to one of those websites where several dealerships will offer to sell you the same car/package. Take the best price into the store front and see if you could squeeze a few hundred more off that price. But remember after a sale is consummated, dealerships get a kickback from the manufacturer. So the cry “We’re not making any profit at this price.” is bunk. Your claim that all dealers are trying to rip you off is also bunk. Have you seen their monthly overhead costs?
You will find that there is a point where several places are down to within a few hundred of each other. At that point you know you have reached the end of the money rope.

Personal Opinion 1 here:
Leases are another way to screw yourself.
No matter how many miles you put on a car: Repairs are cheaper than monthly payments.
With 100K PT warranties, mileage should not be a factor anymore.

Personal Opinion 2 here:
I have purchased 3 new Hyundai’s since 99’ and am about to get my 4th. I pass (sell) them to my kids as they turn 16. All are still in the family and going strong 36K to 85K miles.

Click Ticker
2008-Dec-01, 06:29 PM
Always be willing to walk away.

Never discuss up front what you can afford or are willing to pay.

As far as leases go - I wouldn't know where to begin assessing what a fair cost is from the dealer perspective. They have to calculate a residual value, which is pretty much guess work. Many car makers have been hammered recently by the residuals on their leased SUV's. Values fell far faster then anticipated so they were forced to write off the difference.

www.cars.com has pretty reliable invoice information and message boards where people discuss what they were able to negotiate. Other information you may want to find out is if any factory to dealer cash is being offered. This isn't publicly advertised, but sometimes manufacturers will offer $500 plus to a dealership to push certain inventory. That's what the dealer sells, "I'm selling it for invoice, that's as low as I can go!" In reality - the manufacturer paid them $500 to move the car.

mugaliens
2008-Dec-01, 06:38 PM
What can I do to make sure that I get the best price for a leased car?

Avoid leasing a car.


Can you recommend any tricks here?

Yes - buy directly from another owner.


Does it matter when you buy a car? End of Month, End of Year etc ...

In the days before credit was widespread, towards the end of the month was better. These days, it matters little.

Your time/attention would be better spent on looking at the car for signs of corrosion, researching market values, etc.


Is there a place where I can look up what other people are buying?

Many. Google it.

[quote]Are there certain cars/packages that dealerships are trying to get rid of?[quote]

Yes - the ones they have.

And that's not a bad approach at all. Go to your dealerships and count makes and models of cars. Then go online and find out how many of each were made, and weight the numbers accordingly. When you find makes/models which are on the dealer's lots in disproportionately higher numbers than the proportions that were made, consider staying away from that make/model, as there's something not quite right about it.

redshifter
2008-Dec-01, 06:52 PM
If you're buying from a dealer, email the internet sales folks at as many dealers as possible with what you're looking for, let them compete with each other for the best price. I've bought my last two cars this way, both times getting a price far less than 'invoice' price.

Also, NEVER negotiate price based on monthly payments. Many dealers will try to get you to tell them how much per month you can pay. Negotiate the price of the vehicle itself, not the monthly payment.

LotusExcelle
2008-Dec-01, 06:54 PM
Tommac - are you talking about leasing a car or buying an off-lease car?

novaderrik
2008-Dec-01, 07:20 PM
the first way to avoid spending too much for a car is to not buy from a stealership- let someone else take the devaluation hit. take out a loan from a small private bank or credit union and buy a used 1 or 2 year old car from a private party. they will generally be in pretty good shape yet and still have some of the factory warranty remaining which is not so important after about a year or so, since anything that might have been wrong with the car when it was built will have shown itself by then and already been fixed.
when it comes time to get regular maintenance done on the car, take it to a small locally owned shop and get the same work done for half the price and are less likely to happen to find other stuff wrong with your car while they've got it up on the lift. the stealerships hire the same people from the same pool of applicants as the smaller shops do, so it's not like the stealerships have the best of the best working for them- they just charge a premium for the honor of having you car worked on by "factory authorized" workers. and stealerships also charge more for parts and service because they use those departments to pump up their profits to help cover the overhead costs of the sales department.

stutefish
2008-Dec-01, 08:43 PM
After owning several used cars and dealt with several unsatisfactory independent auto mechanics, I finally bought a new car from a dealership, and always take it to the dealership for its regularly-scheduled maintenance.

I guess it's a little more expensive, but they have great hours and great service, a pleasant waiting lounge with free wifi, and free loaner cars. They work fast, and so far they've never "discovered" any additional problems.

tommac
2008-Dec-01, 08:51 PM
At the end of the day isnt the monthly payment ( minus the initial payment ) the real factor on how much the car is costing?

I have seen dealerships have different interest rates depending how you purchased the car. In addition there seems to be tons of fees.

For a lease ( I personally like leases as I drive a new car and am not bothered with selling it at the end ), you have a monthly payment, thats it. so 32 months at $195 + $1500 down ( for taxes etc ) gets rid of all of that other confusing stuff.


If you're buying from a dealer, email the internet sales folks at as many dealers as possible with what you're looking for, let them compete with each other for the best price. I've bought my last two cars this way, both times getting a price far less than 'invoice' price.

Also, NEVER negotiate price based on monthly payments. Many dealers will try to get you to tell them how much per month you can pay. Negotiate the price of the vehicle itself, not the monthly payment.

tommac
2008-Dec-01, 08:52 PM
leasing a new car. Specifically a honda civic.



Tommac - are you talking about leasing a car or buying an off-lease car?

tommac
2008-Dec-01, 08:55 PM
Wow ... I have not been so lucky. It seems that their authorized mechanics are really no better and in some cases worse than local mechanics if you have one that you can trust. They charge 3x as much for everything and for me they always recommend tons of extra stuff.



After owning several used cars and dealt with several unsatisfactory independent auto mechanics, I finally bought a new car from a dealership, and always take it to the dealership for its regularly-scheduled maintenance.

I guess it's a little more expensive, but they have great hours and great service, a pleasant waiting lounge with free wifi, and free loaner cars. They work fast, and so far they've never "discovered" any additional problems.

redshifter
2008-Dec-01, 10:46 PM
At the end of the day isnt the monthly payment ( minus the initial payment ) the real factor on how much the car is costing?

I have seen dealerships have different interest rates depending how you purchased the car. In addition there seems to be tons of fees.

For a lease ( I personally like leases as I drive a new car and am not bothered with selling it at the end ), you have a monthly payment, thats it. so 32 months at $195 + $1500 down ( for taxes etc ) gets rid of all of that other confusing stuff.


Hmmm....it wasn't entirely clear to me which route you intended to take, whether buying a lease return or leasing a new car. Looks like you're going with a lease?

Dealers like to negotiate monthly payments as opposed to the purchase price of a new car to jack the price up (not applicable to leasing obviously). However, it's better from a consumer point of view to negotiate the price of the car. Once that is done, then worry about financing/monthly payments. I read that somewhere, but unfortunately I cannot find the source.

Here's an interesting read, lots more new/used car buying advice here as well: http://www.edmunds.com/advice/buying/articles/42962/article.html

Cougar
2008-Dec-01, 11:55 PM
Avoid leasing a car.
I tend to agree, though I'm not sure why. I'll take mugs' word for it. Buy the damn car.


Yes - buy directly from another owner.
Yes, that would get you the best price, but at the expense of the detailing, tuning up, and registration red tape handling you'd get buying a pre-owned model from a dealer. But that is the key: Dealer or private party, get a 1-3 year-old car that comes off as being practically new.

Of course, don't let any dealer "rip your head off," as they say. :lol: You've got to do your homework. Checking the web is pretty easy and will give you a good idea of what your best price is going to be. I just picked up from a dealer a primo slightly used raven black, ebony interior Cadillac CTS for about the same as what you'd pay for a new Honda Civic (http://www.newcars.com/honda/civic/index.html).


Always be willing to walk away.
Also good advice.

1) Research the market.

2) Take your time.

3) When you get down to it, talk about price "out the door."

sarongsong
2008-Dec-02, 01:14 AM
...Any advice would be appreciated.A Tuesday afternoon was determined to be the best time of the week for a new car purchase, in an article I read years ago.

samkent
2008-Dec-02, 02:17 AM
As you see it...
32*195+1500=7740

As I see it...
32*195+1500=0 in the end.

If some one else totals your car at 24 months, what happens? You know the insurance won't give you the replacement value. You would have to turn their check over to the dealer along with another from you. At least if the car was yours you would get enough to get started on another one.

With a lease you will always have a monthly payment and be required to keep full insurance coverage. 20 years of payments with no end in sight. Always having to think about "I can put an average 750 miles per month before I go over the limit". You have to fix the dents and cracked windshield before you turn it in.
Basicly it's not your car, you are renting a car forever.

Personally I pay cash for a car I can afford. It feels better 30 days later 60 days later 90 days......
I deside when I drop full coverage. I drive as many miles a year as I feel like.

orionjim
2008-Dec-02, 03:49 PM
Well, as someone who has paid cash, made payments and leased cars; here’s my advice in today’s world. Read the ads in the newspapers and see where the deals are for leasing a vehicle. I’m not sure where they’ll be. With gas a few months ago at $4.30/gal/us and today $1.60/gal/us and throw in the current banking situation you might be up the creek on leasing.

When leasing a vehicle the lender is making a prediction on the value of a car two years down the road. If you stop and think about it nobody has a crystal ball that can see through this mess. But the ads in the newspaper will show you if there are bargains to be had.

Another thing is your credit rating. Something that was a minor thing a few years ago is today a big thing. This may change with some of the things Congress is doing.

Today is a buyer’s market, but the buyer needs to have substance.

Good luck.

Jim

suntrack2
2008-Dec-04, 05:26 PM
clean car,low pollution,relax,full insurance,look,color,suspensions,low noise,great speed,immediate control,inner safety,outer safety,no skipping on turnings,no dash proofs on the bonnet of the car, all these factors can give the best price to a car. Otherwise I will do first survey and I will ask 10 people then I will do the statestical sampling method and through that I will give another opinion if you are not satisfied with opinion. :)

Good luck

mugaliens
2008-Dec-04, 07:07 PM
They charge 3x as much for everything and for me they always recommend tons of extra stuff.

The better to bilk you with!

tommac
2008-Dec-04, 07:08 PM
Avoid leasing a car.
.

A lease is merely the purchasing of an option to hand back the car at the end of the lease. You pay extra to have this option.

I like having the option to hand back the car after a 3 year term. I realize that there is a cost to this but I like not having to go sell it. It really is hassle free.

If there is a car that I like and I dont have an accident with it and I really take care of it then I would considering keeping it at the end of the lease.

As it so happens I have handed back all of my cars that I have leased. The hassle of not having to negotiate at this point is worth the few extra $$$ that the lease costs.

tommac
2008-Dec-04, 07:13 PM
For example based on your link:

Pricing
MSRP $15,205 to $25,090
Invoice Price $14,021 to $23,646

basically they are making $1000 off of the car right?
Should I negotiate based on a $1100 discount on the sticker?


I tend to agree, though I'm not sure why. I'll take mugs' word for it. Buy the damn car.


Yes, that would get you the best price, but at the expense of the detailing, tuning up, and registration red tape handling you'd get buying a pre-owned model from a dealer. But that is the key: Dealer or private party, get a 1-3 year-old car that comes off as being practically new.

Of course, don't let any dealer "rip your head off," as they say. :lol: You've got to do your homework. Checking the web is pretty easy and will give you a good idea of what your best price is going to be. I just picked up from a dealer a primo slightly used raven black, ebony interior Cadillac CTS for about the same as what you'd pay for a new Honda Civic (http://www.newcars.com/honda/civic/index.html).


Also good advice.

1) Research the market.

2) Take your time.

3) When you get down to it, talk about price "out the door."

mugaliens
2008-Dec-04, 09:23 PM
For example based on your link:

Pricing
MSRP $15,205 to $25,090
Invoice Price $14,021 to $23,646

basically they are making $1000 off of the car right?

You wish! The dealer's real profit is hid in various "incentive" programs, stuff that's never tied to any individual vehicle, including various bonuses, advertising paid for by the automakers, tons of service income, etc.


Should I negotiate based on a $1100 discount on the sticker?

Tommac, you should go to Kelly Blue Book (http://www.kbb.com/). They've already done all the research and have guzdozens of guides you should read, more than enough to answer any questions you might have, as well as the other 90% that few of us ever know to ask. In other words, why are you asking a bunch of space nuts like us about cars when Kelly Blue Book was built by car nuts? Check out their New Car Blue Book feature, which will tell you what others have paid for a specific make/model/features in your area, out the door.

Enjoy!