Buying a new car is an exciting experience. There’s that new car smell, and the thrill of getting it out on the highway for the first time. You feel great just seeing it parked in your drive, and really enjoy when the neighbors drop over to ask you what you think about it. However, perhaps the sweetest part of buying a new car is knowing that you got it at a great price.
The best way of doing this is to arm yourself with all the facts before you start to look for a car. Visit sites like Car and Driver to read reviews of the different models that you are considering, and make up your mind about exactly what you want before you head off to the dealer. When you get there, stick to your guns – don’t let them try to talk you into something else, even if they do offer you a great deal. The chances are that they are doing this because they have a car that isn’t selling well and they want to get rid of it – and there’s always a bad reason for this.
Another thing to do before you head to the dealer is to find out what other people have been paying for the same model in your area. Clearly, you don’t expect to pay the MRSP, but the question is whether you can get close to dealer invoice – the amount that the dealer pays the manufacturer before any further factory-to-dealer incentives. In fact, some dealers will go below invoice – they still make a profit when the additional incentives and the money they make servicing the car are taken into account. One good site to find out what other people have paid is TrueCar – you can find out more about them on the True Car Facebook page.
If you want to drive down the price of your new car even further, wait until the start of the next model year. For instance, if you have your heart set on a 2013 model, then wait until just before the 2014 model year is about to be released. At this point, dealers will want to move their existing inventory off the lot, and will be willing to drop the price because of this. Of course, this means that you can’t order a car with the exact options you want – you have to take what the dealer has – but you can usually get fairly close and the savings are worth it.
Finally, if you don’t mind having a few extra miles on your car when you buy it – typically less than 500 – then see if you can get a demonstrator. This is the vehicle that the lot gives to prospective customers for test drives. The car is essentially brand-new, but you will save thousands of dollars. Just make sure that you drive a hard bargain – if you buy a demonstrator and find out later that you could have bought a new car for the same price, you’ll be mad at yourself.