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How To Negotiate With A Car Dealer

In Canada, negotiation is a common part of the car-buying process. If you do it right, you'll often find there’s a little wiggle room on the sticker price, even if it's just a couple hundred dollars. If you're about to visit a local dealership, there's a few simple things to know if you want to hold your own at the negotiating table...

When you're looking for a deal, successful negotiations with your car dealer can lower the overall price of a vehicle, reduce your monthly payment, and even help you score add-ons and extras.

Here are a few tips on how to prepare yourself and negotiate the best new or used car deal. Negotiating the best possible deal is a process that doesn't start with haggling, it starts with research....

How to negotiate a car deal

1. Do your research

The first step starts with researching everything you can about the make and model of the vehicle you're interested in, including the wholesale and retail value. Once you have found a vehicle that you want, take some time to check reviews and compare prices online.

If the model is popular, there might not be a lot of room for negotiation, but if it's slow-selling, there's an opportunity to make a deal!

If you're shopping for a gently used vehicle, Canadian Black Book is a great tool to keep bookmarked during your car search. It lets you know the estimated value of pre-owned vehicles.

2. Connect with the sales manager

After researching the vehicle, call several dealerships and ask to speak with the sales manager. Tell them you are looking to buy a vehicle and want to make sure you get the best deal possible. Building a relationship with the sales manager will prove that you are serious about visiting the dealership to negotiate your targeted price range.

The sales manager will also be able to tell you if the vehicle you want is in stock. Only buy a vehicle from a dealership that has what you want. Regardless of what the dealership says, bringing a vehicle in from another dealership will show up in the invoice price. 

3. Leverage the vehicle history report

If you're looking at a pre-owned vehicle, it should have a vehicle history report. Ask your dealer about it, or visit CARFAX Canada to download your report and find out if the car you have your eye on has a history of recalls due to defects. Knowing the details of the car's history can help you decide if it's worth your money and is a great bargaining chip to bring to the table.

Another tip for negotiating the price of a used car is to pay a mechanic to do a professional inspection. If the mechanic finds any issues, you can factor their findings into the negotiations. 

4. Play it cool

As soon as you think you’ve found the car you want to buy, start negotiations. A good poker face isn’t just for the poker table. It's easy to detect excitement or eagerness in a person's tone and body language. Even if your heart is set on the vehicle in question, be cool, calm, and indifferent with the salesmen that you are dealing with. Show them how emotionally uninvested you are in the car (that you secretly love.)

5. Be prepared to walk

As long as you are prepared to walk away, you will be in the best position possible to negotiate your new car deal. Let your dealer know that you will only sign the paperwork if your target figure is met. Decline any offers that do not meet your target and politely walk away.

6. Pick your moment

If you and your dealer cannot agree on a price, follow up with the dealership on the last day of the month. The sales team at a car dealership usually feels the most pressure to make goals at the end of the month. Calling them to remind them of your offer at this time might entice them to accept your deal, especially if they are struggling to hit their monthly targets.

If you get the timing right, there are plenty of opportunities to get a great deal on a car.

For more information, check out: When is the Best Time to Buy a New Car?

Shop for cars without the stress

The journey to a new car can take weeks of research, inquiries, test drives, and negotiation. Fortunately, Canada Drives streamlines the journey, saving you time and helping you avoid the stress of traditional car shopping. 

With Canada Drives you can get pre-approved for a car loan online, allowing you to shop with confidence knowing exactly what you can afford. You will even get connected with a local dealership in your area who will show you vehicles you already qualify for, so you can just pick the one you want and drive away!

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