New car or used car purchase, dealerships have an otherworldly presence, don’t they? Sitting on the outskirts of town, these glass houses flanked by rows of gleaming cars can seem intimidating. Car dealerships used to be the first port of call when buying a car, with an average 5.7 visits before a purchase was made. Now we only visit about 1.4 dealerships before we buy. 

The reason is clear, of course; the internet! Now we know so much more, we can hit the dealership more savvy than some of the kids trying to sell us the cars. So here’s how to make that happen.

1. Come prepared.

Do your homework. Have a look at the vehicle you are interested in on the manufacturers website, car dealership websites and any written or video reviews on Youtube. Also, check the insurance prices on a comparison site so you know the car you’ve selected is within your monthly budgeting. 

If you want to part exchange (part-ex) your old car, check a valuation tool, which will give you a guide so you can evaluate if any deal offered is fair.

2. Always say no the first time.

It’s in the salesperson’s training to make you feel like a deal has an expiration date. Sometimes it has, more often, it’s just a strategy to hit their numbers.

One Golden Rule is not to jump in and agree on the sale at your first visit. Strengthen your bargaining position by comparing offers and incentives from dealer to dealer. That said, claiming to have seen a deal or been offered a deal that is better elsewhere won’t wash as car salesman know what they can offer and all the dealerships will work from the same part-ex and value tables.

Don’t get
carried away.

3. Pick your moment.

Insiders say that there are definitely times when it is better to buy than others.  

• Quieter periods

Dealers have to keep selling cars through the year so even in the cold winter months, business must go on.  This is definitely a time when you might be able to cut yourself a good deal.

• The last fortnight of a quarter

Car manufacturers work to targets for quarter year figures.  Therefore those last few sales they can squeeze in before the new quarter starts can be crucial for them, good news for you and it can mean incentives are unlocked for the salesman too. Adopting this strategy might mean compromising on things like colour or brand but if you can be flexible then there will be deals to be had. 

• When a new model is launched

When new models hit the showrooms the older ones might be ones that you can pick up cheaper especially as the dealership will want to shift them to leave room for the new model.

• The end of the month

Buying at the end of the month works in the same way as buying at the end of the quarter, it’s all about those sales targets.

Make the Salesman
your new BFF.

4. Make the salesman your new BFF.

You catch more flies with honey, so the saying goes.  Car dealerships mightn’t always get it right when selling to women, but remember, charm works both ways. Try to strike up a rapport with the salesperson and you may find they have a few little extra treats up their sleeve to sweeten the deal.

5. Beware of hidden traps.

If you have gone for extras, like interior fabric or paint protection, make sure that you check these have actually been applied. Sometimes they can be missed.  Paid for fabric protection? A good way to test it has been applied is by spilling a bit of water onto it. If it beads off, the protection is on there. Don’t be afraid to test it!

Knowing a few secrets when you walk into a car dealership can make the whole car buying process easier. Have fun purchasing your next car from a dealers forecourt!

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