Everyone has their own car buying tips and tricks but they’re not all credible. A former car salesman of 12 years shares his top tips for buying your next car based on his experience and expertise.
1. If you’re in no rush to buy a car, the end of a model year is a great time to get a deal. Determining when this is for a particular car can be difficult, but if a dealer has two years of a new vehicle on its lot (say, 2014s and 2015s), chances are the older ones are going to be priced to move. The last week of the year is another good time to buy. You’ll find lots of specials and manufacturer incentives at both times of year.
2. If you’re looking to get information on a car or talk about a deal, but you aren’t quite ready to buy, a weekday afternoon is a great time to go visit a dealership. You’ll get more personal attention than you would on a busy weekend.
3. Don’t be afraid to listen to dealership suggestions. I’m not talking about bait and switch, but salespeople offering really good alternatives. When I sold cars, it was common for people to come looking for a particular model because of its low sticker price, but then drive out with a nicer car at the same or a lower price, thanks to the special programs and incentives that they didn’t know existed.
4. If you’ve already picked out a car from a dealership’s online inventory and worked out a price, do as much of the deal paperwork you can get over the phone. In many cases, you can be in and out of a dealership in less than an hour if you started the deal-making process online and over the phone. Why sit around in a showroom if you can avoid it?
5. Test-drives are still an important part of car buying. Bring along the people who will regularly ride in the car with you, if possible. Have them try all the seats. It’s better to learn that your teenage son doesn’t fit in the backseat before you buy the car, not after.
6. When you’re trying to negotiate a lower sales price, give the dealership a reason to discount the price. If you’ll use the service department, say so. If you’ll refer friends, be sure to say that, too. If you’re likely to give a perfect survey or buy a future car from them, share that with the dealership, too.
When it comes to buying a car, what women and men want varies only slightly.
Exterior styling and overall value are the most important things to new car buyers of both sexes, according to TrueCar.com, an auto buying site that regularly surveys buyers. Past experience with the brand and driving performance are next on the list.
But while men usually give an edge to styling and driving performance, women tend to rank safety and fuel economy more highly than men do, TrueCar says.
Those small differences are important as women become a larger force in the marketplace. Forty per cent of new vehicle registrants were female in the first four months of this year, up from 37 per cent in 2009, according to Edmunds.com. And that’s only expected to grow. Among younger buyers, women are already outpacing men.
“Women represent the biggest marketing opportunity in the world,” says Chantel Lenard, Ford’s U.S. marketing director.
Even when preferences converge, it may be for different reasons. For example, “reliability” is important to women because they don’t want to get stranded on the road, Lenard says. Men want reliable cars because they don’t want to spend a lot of time in the shop, she says.
Horsepower is important to men, which helps explain why Lamborghini has the highest proportion of male buyers of any brand, at nearly 95 per cent, according to the car shopping site Edmunds.com. But it’s also important to women, who want to know that they can accelerate quickly away from a problem, Lenard says.
Debbie Parsons sprang for one high-tech luxury — remote start — on her 2014 Chevrolet Spark after spending a frigid winter watching her neighbours use it to heat their cars. But mostly, she bought the subcompact for its cute styling and lemon-yellow paint.