Many people list car buying right under “dentist visits” on their list of things they would “rather not” do. But buying a car isn’t the same experience as it was 20, or even 10, years ago. We’re here to share the best tips for getting a great deal on your next vehicle purchase.
What Kind of Deal?
The most common types of deals you’ll see for holiday sales are “loyalty cash” and “conquest cash” types of deals. “Loyalty” cash refers to the discount you’ll receive if you already own a vehicle of the same maker as the dealership you’re shopping at. These are fantastic if you’re happy with your vehicle and are looking to upgrade.
“Conquest cash” is the opposite: when a dealership offers this type of deal, it’s offering extra trade-in value for someone who trades in a vehicle of a different brand. Typically, the idea there is that, once you’re in their kind of car, you’re unlikely to want to switch brands in the future. As such, it’s a conquest.
Find the Best Deal
Make sure to do your research on specialty membership and career discounts. For instance, military veterans or personnel often get a discount at car dealerships, and that discount may be even greater around the holidays.
Similarly, there could be increased discounts for teachers. Dealerships know that teachers don’t make the most money, so any extra discount you can squeeze out of them can go a long way! Another potential discount you should ask about is one for recent college grads. Often, dealerships will want to get recent grads into their ecosystem sooner rather than later, to get them used to the dealership experience.
Make sure to check the website for the automobile manufacturer you’re looking to make a purchase or lease from. The websites will often list specific discounts they are offering on their vehicles. Measure those benefits against the deals your local dealership is offering. When you take a special dealership promotion, the fine print often notes that by taking their deal you’re forfeiting any and all manufacturer promotions.
Coming in Armed with Knowledge
Make sure you know your credit score and get a few quotes on financing before you come in. If you go to credit unions and ask them about what type of financing deals you could get, you’ll have a lot more cards to play when negotiating. Once you know what kind of financing you have on option, it’s much easier to get the dealership to work with you on price.
The most important thing is putting the ball in the dealership’s court. When you know what the going rate of the car is, what kind of financing you can get and how much discount you can get. It’s on the dealership to offer you a better deal.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to walk away if the salesperson isn’t working with you. Don’t settle for a deal you don’t like. Take your money elsewhere!
Buy or Lease?
Lastly, you need to really consider whether or not you want to buy or lease your vehicle. There are a few reasons why you might go with either. Buying a vehicle ensures that you’ll have an actual piece of property when you’re done paying for it, meaning you can resell it later to recoup some of the value. Remember, however, that cars aren’t investments, and they only ever lose value over time. Not opting for a bevy of luxury interior options is one easy way to lower the sticker price of your vehicle purchase.
If you’re just wanting to drive a new car and don’t want very high monthly payments, you can opt for a car lease. A lease allows you to pay less than a new car payment, on average, and still drive around a brand-new vehicle. However, you have to deal with mileage caps (and fees if you go over) and you won’t own the car at the end of the lease.