Everything They Told You About Buying Cars Is Wrong

Remember how we used to buy a car, before the pandemic?

In addition to the test drive, you would try to find out how much the car actually cost the dealer and then make an offer below the sticker price.

But those days are long gone, according to a report on the car enthusiast site Jalopnik.

The good old days of car buying, he says, ended sometime in the last two years.

Jalopnik’s Tom McParland said “this outdated car-buying advice could hurt you in today’s crazy market,” when dealers have very few unsold cars on their lot.

Buying tips that no longer work

Among the deprecated tips:

  • “Focus on the invoice price” or what the dealer pays. That doesn’t make sense now, because few cars sell below sticker price.
  • “Give the dealer your final price and walk away.” That doesn’t work anymore, because often they’ll just sell it to the next person.
  • “Say no to extra fees” like paint protection or reconditioning. Again, if you don’t want to pay that extra fee, someone else will.

So, according to the “Doesn’t That Suck?” file, buyers are no longer in the driver’s seat when it comes to negotiating a new car.

If you don’t like the price, there’s another buyer or two who will pay for it.

However, it currently has one strength to trade: the rising value of trades.

Jalopnik said don’t wait until the end to mention your operation. That’s really the only leverage you still have, so bring it up early.

Know the value of your car, from a calculator in Kelley’s Blue Book or Edmunds, and demand the best price.

Some analysts said we may never return to the days of full dealer lots and deep discounts on new cars.

You can read the full Jalopnik article HERE.

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