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  1. #1

    How to talk a used car dealership's price down on a car?

    I posted a topic a few days ago regarding buying a car, but I thought it would be appropriate to go to a different subject.

    How do you talk a salesman at a used car dealership into lowering the price? I've read and heard several tactics, but I want to make sure they're correct.

    Take your time, they're going to try to convince you to buy the car right now cause "it might be gone by the time you come back." but even if that's true you still shouldn't accept it because it's an attempt to force you to buy the car immediately.

    Don't talk about how you're going to pay or anything like that until you've officially decided you're buying the car. If they ask "Are you paying cash or financing?" just say something like "We'll get to that if I decide to buy the car."

    Get the cost of every single thing in writing so you know what you're paying for.

    If possible I'd like more examples to try to get them to lower their price, even if it's just by a couple hundred bucks.

  2. #2
    The Unstoppable Force Rukentuts's Avatar
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    Point out any damage you can spot: scratches, dents, anything.
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    I wouldn't expect someone who thinks science provides proof to know that.

  3. #3
    offer 10%-15% than the listed price because usually there is like a 20% mark up, so then they are still making money and you are getting a cheaper car, and if they don't want it you can just start to leave, they are desperate for sales.

  4. #4
    Cash is king, if you offer cash and show them the cash they will have a hard time telling you no.

  5. #5
    Find out the bluebook value of the used car in question.

    First see if the dealer price matches the sticker. If it doesn't, let them know.

    From the bluebook value look at the car's trade in value. Chances are they paid less than or equal to that amount.

    #1 rule of negotiating: First person to name a price loses. If you're forced to name a price first, go as low as 5% over the trade-in value (They have to make a profit after all). Your goal is halfway between trade-in and bluebook. That's my rule anyway.

  6. #6
    The Insane Reeve's Avatar
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    Just know how much you're willing to pay before you arrive and be ready to walk out. There's plenty of used cars for sale. You don't have to have that particular one if the dealer is trying to cheat you.
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  7. #7
    Rukentuts: There are scratches that I saw even on the website, so, definite plus. I honestly don't care, but they don't need to know that, lol.

    Gamdwelf: Good to know, thank you.

    Mekks: Unfortunately I won't be able to pay them fully in cash, I wish I could =P.

    Laize: Just checked and the KBB value is approx. $2000. The place is selling the car for $1000 under the sticker price they have on it, I even called and asked why on their site it shows that the cars are $1000 less and they said "We're running a special." lol. And I'll be sure to try not to name any prices until they offer me a price, thanks.

    Reeve: I already know how much I'm willing to pay, but it's actually cheaper than I'm willing to pay, that's part of the reason why I'd rather try and save a couple hundred bucks if possible, may as well try, why not?

    Edit: Additional info, car I'm looking at is over 100K miles. I intend on asking for a carfax and maintenance paperwork and all that, but I also intend on asking (If the tires don't look good) for new tires and maybe a timing belt if that doesn't seem too needy. Good idea or no?
    Last edited by SageKalzi; 2012-11-29 at 09:16 PM.

  8. #8
    Knowledge is power my friend! Before you go to the dealership, do extensive research on the car and find out what the typical trade in value is and what the typical retail value would be. What you want to pay will be somewhere in the middle. If you have a good idea what the dealer paid for the car, then you can come up with a price that you feel is fair to you and still fair to them to allow them to make some money. Stick to your guns, offer them a price you think is fair and if they refuse to come down at all, walk out the door. If they start to budge, dont jump at their first offer, make a counter offer that is higher than your original but not by much. Remember, they want your money more than you want *THAT* car. So you are in the driver's seat (bad pun intended) in this transaction. Dont let them forget that.

    at the end of the day, remember this. used cars are like people you meet at the bar. You dont have to fall in love with and commit to the first one you ride! If you cant come up with a satisfactory deal on this car, move along and look for a better deal.

  9. #9
    ktalinus: Trust me, I've done pretty much non-stop research of this car since my friend owned one several years ago, this car is also pretty much my dream car even though it's not some super expensive awesome car, I just like it. I'd say more than likely the car dealer paid less than KBB for it ($1500 if it had scratches already, which I assume it did. $2000 otherwise.) and so I'm thinking if I HAVE to name a price it would be $3500. Again, I'm fine with going above that considering I expected to pay more in the first place. Also, thanks again for the info.

    Edit: Also, ktalinus, I agree on the "They want my money more than I want that car." Especially considering I have looked around and found at least 4 others just about identical to the one I'm going to be looking at. Would it be a good idea to let them know that I have been looking around and saw several of the same car for about the same price and that they need to give me a real deal or I can just go to them?
    Last edited by SageKalzi; 2012-11-29 at 09:28 PM.

  10. #10
    Brewmaster Wiyld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SageKalzi View Post
    Rukentuts: There are scratches that I saw even on the website, so, definite plus. I honestly don't care, but they don't need to know that, lol.

    Gamdwelf: Good to know, thank you.

    Mekks: Unfortunately I won't be able to pay them fully in cash, I wish I could =P.

    Laize: Just checked and the KBB value is approx. $2000. The place is selling the car for $1000 under the sticker price they have on it, I even called and asked why on their site it shows that the cars are $1000 less and they said "We're running a special." lol. And I'll be sure to try not to name any prices until they offer me a price, thanks.

    Reeve: I already know how much I'm willing to pay, but it's actually cheaper than I'm willing to pay, that's part of the reason why I'd rather try and save a couple hundred bucks if possible, may as well try, why not?

    Edit: Additional info, car I'm looking at is over 100K miles. I intend on asking for a carfax and maintenance paperwork and all that, but I also intend on asking (If the tires don't look good) for new tires and maybe a timing belt if that doesn't seem too needy. Good idea or no?


    If I understand you correctly, you are buying a car for just a couple thousand dollars, valued at 2000, so prolly 3000-4000 im guessing?

    Yeah, the stuff people are suggesting here really only applies in any big way to more expensive cars.

    Now I'm hoping this is just a case of the car is that one super cheap one the nice dealership got in on trade, not a situation where you are buying a car from the Used lot that specializes in cars under 5000. There is a massive difference in the quality and safety of a used vehicle you buy from a reputable dealership rather then one from Billy Bobs Used Stuff. I found myself in a hole one time and spent $3000 on an old sedan in decent shape from a Billy Bob place, it was junk and had to be replaced again in less then a year, the much more expensive used car I replaced it with from the big dealership is still going strong 5 years later. I wish I woulda saved myself the 3000 and been able to get that equity into a better car.

    So I'll assume this is a car at a decent place thats been checked and repaired and cleaned up to actual accountable standards. Even then, it might be worth it for you to have the car looked at by a professional mechanic first, at that mileage. You can do this a few ways, I've had more then 1 dealer who really wanted to sell me a car, hand me the keys and tell me to bring it back in a day or two. They have to know you really want the car but aren't sure about the value. So, then just take it to a mechanic and have them take a look, prolly costs you $40-$60, and they will prolly deduct that cost from any work you have done to the car. So lets say they find it needs a new muffler, go back to the dealer and make him reduce the cost by the price of a muffler repair, and then have the mechanic repair it minus the cost of your check. Free $40-$60.

    Most likely, a car that cheap falls under one of 2 situations.

    The dealer doesn't expect to make any money on it, the thing is just an eye sore on their lot and they want it gone. It has probably been to the auto auction ( thats where most crummy trade ins go, so the lower tier dealers can buy them and try to rip you off with them ), and didn't sell for whatever reason. The dealer prolly didn't invest much in working on it or cleaning it because there isn't any profit to be had off it. They also will not likely give you tires or anything for the same reason. They will most likely be willing to drop the price a little in order to get rid of it.

    He got the car super cheap and even though it isn't what he usually deals in it could turn a profit. This guy might be willing to use his cheap labor to clean it up and repair it more then the other guy, but prolly isn't going to budge on price.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gillern View Post
    "IM LOOKING AT A THING I DONT LIKE, I HAVE THE OPTION TO GO AWAY FROM IT BUT I WILL LOOK MORE AND COMPLAIN ABOUT THE THING I DONT LIKE BECAUSE I DONT LIKE IT, NO ONE IS FORCING ME TO SEARCH FOR THIS THING OR LOOK AT THIS THING OR REMAIN LOOKING AT THIS THING BUT I AM ANYWAY, ITS OFFENDS ME! ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME!!!"
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  11. #11
    >If you are doing a Trade-In, when they ask you if you are say you aren't thinking about it at the time. If they knew preemptively that you are doing a trade in they will factor that into the price, and they will increase it.

    Once you do all the haggling necessary and you settle on a final price, then say: "Well, in light of this I guess I will do a Trade-in." It'll piss em off because you are getting a fucking stellar deal, but that's how you get the best price possible.

    EDIT: Oh, you're not buying from a Dealership? Well, my info is bullocks then. Though, keep it in mind if you do ever use a dealership.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Reeve View Post
    Just know how much you're willing to pay before you arrive and be ready to walk out. There's plenty of used cars for sale. You don't have to have that particular one if the dealer is trying to cheat you.
    this. any deal you cant walk away from is a fucking over in the making. be firm on your price and be prepared to say "thank you for your time" and walk away. keeping things polite leaves the door open for them to accommodate you, and nobody wants to give an asshole a deal, so manners matter, even if you are worlds apart on the negotiation

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Rekenna View Post
    >If you are doing a Trade-In, when they ask you if you are say you aren't thinking about it at the time. If they knew preemptively that you are doing a trade in they will factor that into the price, and they will increase it.

    Once you do all the haggling necessary and you settle on a final price, then say: "Well, in light of this I guess I will do a Trade-in." It'll piss em off because you are getting a fucking stellar deal, but that's how you get the best price possible.
    well sometimes when you do that they just say your trade in isnt worth very much so its all the same to them.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Gamdwelf View Post
    well sometimes when you do that they just say your trade in isnt worth very much so its all the same to them.

    I guess that's true in some situations, I guess it depends on the quality of the care you are trading in. Personally I always use a dealership, re-finance it with my own bank, and get an upgrade once in a while. Never fails for me, but I've never upgraded from a rolling POS. :P

  15. #15
    Pandaren Monk Maruka's Avatar
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    First off no, cash isnt king. My best friends parents own a car dealership. They make more financing vehicles because they pull a bit extra off the payments. Secondly make sure to point out damage like others have said to devalue the car. Never buy a car the first time you go to the dealership, make an offer on something and if they cant give it to you for that give them your number and leave. They will call you back for sure.

    I honestly recommend not buying from a dealership for a cheaper used car. They are assholes and greaseballs and will sell you pure shit it they can.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Wiyld View Post
    If I understand you correctly, you are buying a car for just a couple thousand dollars, valued at 2000, so prolly 3000-4000 im guessing?

    Yeah, the stuff people are suggesting here really only applies in any big way to more expensive cars.

    Now I'm hoping this is just a case of the car is that one super cheap one the nice dealership got in on trade, not a situation where you are buying a car from the Used lot that specializes in cars under 5000. There is a massive difference in the quality and safety of a used vehicle you buy from a reputable dealership rather then one from Billy Bobs Used Stuff. I found myself in a hole one time and spent $3000 on an old sedan in decent shape from a Billy Bob place, it was junk and had to be replaced again in less then a year, the much more expensive used car I replaced it with from the big dealership is still going strong 5 years later. I wish I woulda saved myself the 3000 and been able to get that equity into a better car.

    So I'll assume this is a car at a decent place thats been checked and repaired and cleaned up to actual accountable standards. Even then, it might be worth it for you to have the car looked at by a professional mechanic first, at that mileage. You can do this a few ways, I've had more then 1 dealer who really wanted to sell me a car, hand me the keys and tell me to bring it back in a day or two. They have to know you really want the car but aren't sure about the value. So, then just take it to a mechanic and have them take a look, prolly costs you $40-$60, and they will prolly deduct that cost from any work you have done to the car. So lets say they find it needs a new muffler, go back to the dealer and make him reduce the cost by the price of a muffler repair, and then have the mechanic repair it minus the cost of your check. Free $40-$60.

    Most likely, a car that cheap falls under one of 2 situations.

    The dealer doesn't expect to make any money on it, the thing is just an eye sore on their lot and they want it gone. It has probably been to the auto auction ( thats where most crummy trade ins go, so the lower tier dealers can buy them and try to rip you off with them ), and didn't sell for whatever reason. The dealer prolly didn't invest much in working on it or cleaning it because there isn't any profit to be had off it. They also will not likely give you tires or anything for the same reason. They will most likely be willing to drop the price a little in order to get rid of it.

    He got the car super cheap and even though it isn't what he usually deals in it could turn a profit. This guy might be willing to use his cheap labor to clean it up and repair it more then the other guy, but prolly isn't going to budge on price.
    I plan on buying the car for approx. 3500-5000. The place isn't a "Only under $5000" place, but it is (as far as I saw) under $10000. I also have had a coworker and his friend who said they bought their cars from the place and they haven't had any issues. Edit: Actually, my coworker said he noticed (He was a mechanic, so, lol.) that the car he test drove had a small problem and told the guy and he agreed to take it off the price, so.

    I assumed it was for more expensive cars, but at the same time when I can get even $50 knocked off here and there that adds up, anything to reduce the price is basically free money off.

    Yes, I was thinking of going to a more expensive place but at the same time if this car (They actually have 4 of the same car with varying miles that are spaced a couple years apart, I can always test drive a different one if I think this one turns out to be not the best.) turns out to be good, why spend an extra $4000 on a car that may be the same quality? I know each car is different cause every person who drives a car is different, but as far as I know these cars don't really have any issues until over 120K miles and even then that's if someone drove this car as hard as they could.

    I'd think yes, they don't really expect to make much money off of it because again, they have 4 of the same model & brand, one of which has been there awhile considering it's "Lot car #2" and the one I'm looking at is "Lot car #100" lol.

    Edit: Rekenna, yes, it is a dealership. This isn't from a random guy or anything, so, I will follow your advice and say at the last minute "Oh, maybe I will do the trade in." like you suggested. Thanks.

    smelltheglove: Yeah, I intend on being nice and just letting them know my needs and if they can't accommodate it I'm fine with walking out the door and going to the next place that has the car I like.

    Maruka: Yeah, I know, but again if this car is running fine then I'd rather buy it for $3500-5000 compared to going to the "SUPER CORPORATE MEGA DEALERSHIP" that has the same exact car for $4000 more.
    Last edited by SageKalzi; 2012-11-29 at 09:51 PM.

  17. #17
    The Insane Reeve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wiyld View Post
    If I understand you correctly, you are buying a car for just a couple thousand dollars, valued at 2000, so prolly 3000-4000 im guessing?

    Yeah, the stuff people are suggesting here really only applies in any big way to more expensive cars.
    Yeah I gotta admit if you're talking about a $2000 car, it's not likely the dealer will move much if at all on the price.
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  18. #18
    Scarab Lord Descense's Avatar
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    Go after every detail on car and push the price down. For example:
    That engine looks a little damage--- thats 200 dolars less, that paint looks kinda weird and i dont like it - 1000 dolars and so on. Then you say too the selliner how much $$$ you will sprend too restore it (even if you wont) and you can get it pretty cheap.

  19. #19
    I Guess the biggest piece of advice I can give you then would be to keep composed, even if your Manner is flawless, your body language tends to give more away than you think it does. If you are an enjoyable person, easy to fit humor into conversation and are good at making friends, that will help with the dealers willingness to haggle with you. Like smelltheglove said, no one wants to give an asshole a deal.

    Secondly, if you have the Cash for it straight up that's fine but don't let them know that. Start low and work up, once you make a high offer you CANNOT take it back, so play it conservatively, you can usually tell from their reaction to a low bid if they will genuinely haggle to a reasonable price, or are looking to scam you.

    Good luck.

  20. #20
    There really isn't a lot of wiggle room at that price range.

    You can maybe knock off a couple hundred bucks...but honestly, I'd be more focused on not buying a lemon.

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