The Sales Process
In actual practice, a typical dealer sales process varies widely, not only between dealerships but also within a given dealership. Some salespeople adhere to a prescribed selling process while others are more flexible and vary the procedure according to each specific customer. In this area we attempt to help you more clearly understand the dealer sales process by breaking it down into separate, easily understood concepts.
Selecting your new car
Ideally, you should decide which car you want long before you step onto any dealer's lot looking to make an actual purchase. Selecting the car you want is best done in the pre-purchase phase we describe as doing your homework.
You should, for example, know all of the dealers in your area who sell the car you want, and which one's have the specific make, model color and equipment you are looking to specifically buy. If you do not yet know these things you are not really prepared to purchase a car. You should stop looking to make a purchase and determine this criteria before proceeding to make your purchase.
Don't let the dealer pick out your car...
If you choose not to pre-plan your automotive purchase then you are essentially leaving everything up to the dealer, who only cares about their bottom line. The dealer will determine the 'best' car for you based on what you can pay, what you will pay and what they have on the lot. None of these factors translate into any savings or satisfy your actual vehicle requirements.
Negotiating a price
Don't let the dealer set the terms of the sale...
At the end of the day this will be your car and you will have to pay for it. Don't let the dealer determine how much you will pay, what equipment you will buy or how you will finance your chosen vehicle. You must take charge if you want to get the car you want at a decent price that you can live with. You must be prepared to assert yourself.
Pricing your trade-in
Don't take their word for anything's value...
Dealers are in the business of buying and selling vehicles. Most people who buy cars are not in the same business as the dealer, so they are at an extreme disadvantage. It is never in your best interest to accept any dealer's valuation of your trade-in, because their offer is what works best for them, not what is best for you. We provide valuation information to help evaluate a fair market price for your trade-in.
Use dealer financing at your own risk...
In almost every vehicle purchase, using dealer financing is probably one of the worst mistakes that can be made, a mistake that can literally cost you thousands of additional dollars. We attempt to provide enough information to show why this is a mistake, as well as to show you ways to avoid what is typically the most dangerous portion of the typical dealer arsenal.