Buying a new car is full of tricks, techniques and strategies that are all designed to do one thing – get you to pay more. Whether it’s more on the drive-away price or the bobble head to go on your dashboard, you can be sure that a car dealer will have all the tricks in a book at their disposal to ensure you pay more than you should have to. Below are some of the tricks car dealers will use to make you pay a premium price and tackle them.
Beware the bait and switch or ‘phantom’ cars.
You’re online, doing your research, and you come across the perfect fit at a dealership nearby. When you arrive at the dealership, the car has miraculously been sold just hours before. “You should’ve been quicker,” they say. “Just missed it,” they say.
Advertising a ‘phantom’ car that dealers can ‘bait’ buyers before ‘switching’ to a vehicle they have in stock (and need to move) is a great way to get people into the dealerships and look around the showroom. Once you’re there, you’re in the lion’s den. It’s much easier to get someone to crack if they are sitting in front of your smiling face, so you better believe that this is the dealer’s first goal with that in mind.
You don’t have to go to the dealership to get a price.
Once you’ve done your internet search, give the dealer a call. Don’t just go straight on in as it isn’t necessary. You’re still in the research stage. Once you’re on the phone, the dealer will try to get you off the phone and into the dealership. “Come in and we’ll have a chat”, “I can’t give you the price over the phone…” – all that jazz. It’s not true. They don’t want to because it gives you the chance to do more research and prepare your figures. They want the element of surprise, and the phone call robs them of that. If they don’t want to talk business over the phone, say goodbye for now.
The low-ball, run-around
You’ve got your price, and so you start doing some research at other dealers. You find the original price is cheaper no matter how many dealers you visit. After getting exhausted with the whole process, you go back to your original dealer – your shining light who you should’ve gone with from the start.
They know full well that they gave you that price a few hours ago and that you’ve spent the last few hours getting tired and grumpy. You’re putty in their hand. So now, that price doesn’t exist. It was a one-off offer, and now their manager is back, so they can’t give it to you. Instead, they can offer you the same price every other dealer offers you. In exhaustion and frustration, you cave. The low-ball run-around is complete.
How to avoid all this? Refer to the above and do your research over the phone. Phone calls are much less exhausting.
For best prices, buy at the end of the month or run the 60-day rule.
A common tactic for buying anything is to purchase at the end of the month when you know the salesman needs to hit targets. The trouble is that the salesman’s end of the month may not always be the end of the calendar month. Or they may have already met their monthly quota, and your sale is just a bonus.
To combat this, try and combine the end of the month with a car you know has been in the lot for a couple of months. This will take patience and maybe a few missed cars, but remember we are operating with our heads, not our hearts. Any car that has been in the lot for 60 odd days will soon be getting passed onto the car auctions for a loss. Take advantage.
The dealer has already paid for any car in the lot.
Another important point. Cars in a lot have already been purchased from the car manufacturer using credit. That means every day in the lot costs interest. They’ll be cool about it. You can be sure they won’t panic. But keep in mind that the longer you make them hold on, the more desperate they are getting (thus the 60-day rule).
The most popular will also cost you the most.
It’s a new model that you are dying to have. You and every other motoring enthusiast in Australia. Because of this increased demand, prices are sky-high, and waiting lists are long. Then they won’t have your color, only this off-brown one. It’ll also cost you a bit more because the off-brown one has a spoiler. If you put your name down on a waiting list, they know you are super keen. It may be hard, but you don’t have to have the car as soon as it comes out. If you love it that much, you’ll still love it in a couple of months when the hype has died down.