How do I Negotiate a New Car Deal?

Get the best deal for your new car.

Get the best deal for your new car.

Negotiating a deal on a new car takes some backbone, but knowing common new car dealer strategies can help you foresee problems in the haggling process. Hit the new car lot armed with knowledge, an assertive attitude and the self-directive to walk away a few times before you commit to the purchase. You should visit at least a few dealerships, not just to get a feeling for the range of prices, but also so you can use one dealer's information and deals to help you in negotiating with another dealer.

Refer to magazines, such as Consumer Reports, and other reliable sources to obtain unbiased information regarding new car models' quality, performance, technical specifications, reliability and pricing.

Set a short-term goal. Walk into a dealership with the simple goal of doing a test drive and examining the new car. Resist any pressure to buy. Dealers may inform you they have a one-day special or other interested customers, but keep cool. There are always more new cars on the lot.

Secure financing for your new car. In the MSN Money website's article "5 Rules for Buying that First New Car," Des Toups reports that people with credit scores under 620 should use a bank for financing. If you have a high credit score and own your home, you may qualify for the best financing deals at new car lots, but keep out an eagle eye for any hidden fees.

Research pricing. You want to know your car's invoice price, the amount that the dealer paid the manufacturer, rather than just the manufacturer's suggested retail price or the sticker price. Do not assume, however, that your dealer paid the invoice price. Manufacturers often offer incentives and holdbacks that further reduce the car's price. You can find out this information through the Consumer website's bottom line pricing service as well as other online resources.

Bargain for your new car. Start with the invoice price and bargain upward. Keep your attitude assertive yet friendly. Repeat you offer calmly, without getting emotionally involved in the negotiations. Be patient, and wait for the dealer to make an offer.

Make sure your ultimate price includes any fees and taxes associated with the new car purchase. Get information about these fees in writing before sealing the deal.


  • If you feel too uncomfortable with face-to-face haggling, consider bargaining for your new car through the dealership's internet department, which may involve your using email, the telephone or faxes.

About the Author

Nina Makofsky has been a professional writer for more than 20 years. She specializes in art, pop culture, education, travel and theater. She currently serves as a Mexican correspondent for "Aishti Magazine," covering everything from folk art to urban trends. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images