Strategy for Negotiating for a New Car

Get on the road without paying a high price.

Get on the road without paying a high price.

The process of buying a new car has come a long way since the days of kicking the tires and forking over the cash. According to the guide, "Negotiating 101," employing top-notch haggling techniques can drive down the price of your new car by $1,500 or more. If you feel uncomfortable with negotiating the price, role-play the process with a friend beforehand so you can get out of the car lot while keeping your cool, and your cash.

Do Your Research

Get online or hit the back issues of Consumer Reports magazine so you can procure high quality information regarding potential new cars. Most reputable reviews include the manufacturers' suggested retail price. This price may or may not be the same as your car dealer's sticker price, but neither of these prices need be the price you pay. What you want to know is the car's invoice price, essentially the price the manufacturer charged the dealer for the car. Start your new car negotiation from the invoice price and work your way up, rather than trying to bargain downward from the sticker price.

Behavioral Strategies

Timing and strategizing are important when haggling over a new car. Visit many dealerships and talking with several dealers. Go to the car lot during a less busy time. Finance your new car separately and before you buy so your dealer cannot play around with numbers and fees as part of financing. As in any negotiation, be ready to walk if you don't like the deal.

Pick a Reasonable Price

The Consumer website estimates that a reasonable price for most vehicles is around 1 to 5 percent more than the dealer's invoice price. However, special considerations can make that price lower, for example, if the model has been stagnating on the market or on the car lot. If you must buy the latest trendy model, wait until interest cools off before taking the plunge.

Get it in Writing

In the hot and heady process of haggling, some buyers overlook the add-ons that increase the price. Before you settle on a final purchase price, get full disclosure, in writing, of all fees pertaining to the car sale, such as destination, title, documentation, licensing and registration.


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

  • luxury car - model toy car image by alma_sacra from