Buying a Car – What You Should Pay


Buying a new car can be a frustratingly long and confusing process.  You know that you have the power to negotiate, but it can be intimidating.  The biggest challenge is often that consumers don’t have a goal.  They don’t know what constitutes a “good deal.”


Target Price

Establish a target price prior to stepping into a dealership.  A target price is a great way to know what you’d like to pay, what you can afford, and what that cost means for your monthly payments over the term of your loan.


Your pricing depends on what other people will pay for the same car.  Using our online Member Showroom tool, you can see what others in your area actually paid for the actual car you want.  Armed with that knowledge, you can negotiate at or below that price to make sure you’re getting a great deal.


At the Dealership

Be sure you’re negotiating on the car you want.  Don’t be manipulated to a different model or trim package for which you don’t have a target price.  If you choose to change cars or models, re-establish your target price prior to moving forward.


You don’t have to be demanding or difficult, but if you don’t feel like you’re close enough to your target price, ask for a better deal.  Car salespeople are savvy at negotiation.  They deal with a lot of people and they won’t be shocked or offended if you simply ask for a better deal.  They may be able to lower the price or they may opt to throw in higher-level trim packages, service deals or warranties.  If you don’t want those things, you can tell them you’d prefer better pricing.

Most importantly, if you’re not getting the deal or treatment you want, walk away.  You can try again at a different dealership, at a different time of month or year, or with a different salesperson.  In general, deals aren’t good for today only, your salesperson doesn’t need to make multiple trips to the sales manager, and the end of the month often is a good time to buy as sales quotas need to be met.


With a little preparation, you can be a savvy car buyer and get a steal for your wheels.  Good luck!


If you’re interested in more car buying and financing articles, select the Auto category at left.


by Bob, Vice President, Lending

1 comment on this post.
  1. Mike:

    Nice to see some people still blog for more than just making money, thanks for this!

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