New Car Prices Tips

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What is and other online services like it offer a new car quote service that will put you in a better position to negotiate the best new car deal possible. The service offered by Edmunds is free. All you have to do is enter the make and model of the new car purchase you are interested in making as well as your zip code. The site will return a list of participating dealers in your local area. allows you to select the dealers from whom you'd like to receive a price quote, furnish contact information, and specify whether you prefer to be contacted by telephone or e-mail. After all of this, you are given a handful of quotes from competing dealers from which to negotiate a fair and equitable new car deal.

How do I get the most money for my trade-in?

Negotiating Trade-in Allowance

When it comes to negotiating a new car price, leave your trade-in out of the picture. Trade-ins mean trade-offs when it comes to negotiating your best deal. The dealer may hold back on offering you the best price on the new car knowing that he has to offer you a certain amount for your trade-in. Alternately, if the dealer has given you his best price on the new car, you're likely to be given a lower trade-in allowance.

Your best defense is to negotiate the new car price first and then introduce the topic of the trade-in. You should also have your facts lined up as to what your existing car's trade-in value is by using online car pricing services or guides such as Kelley Blue Book or the National Automobile Dealer's Association's Guide to Used Car Prices.

Where can I get online car quotes?

Online Car Quotes

If you've narrowed your new car search down to a particular make and model, then you're ready to request a new car price quote. Many of today's car dealers offer online tools with which consumers can request such a quote. The tool walks you through a handful of prompts asking for information, including:

• Contact information
• The make and model
• Year of vehicle you are interested in
• Whether you wish to purchase or lease the vehicle
• Whether you will be making a trade

A salesperson will then follow-up by telephone or e-mail to provide you with a quote. You are free to request new car price quotes from a number of competing dealers, but be prepared to manage telephone or e-mail contact from multiple, persistent salespeople.

How much room does a dealer have to negotiate on price?

Haggling on Price

Haggle those hagglers! Not sure how much room there is to haggle on a price when buying a new car at the auto dealership? Keep in mind that the dealer's invoice price is the actual price that the dealer paid for the car and the sticker prices (or what the dealer is asking for the car) are generally marked up anywhere from 10-20% over the dealer's invoice price.

*Experts recommend you negotiate a final price that is no more than 5% above the dealer's invoice price.

Where can I find information on new car pricing?

Researching New Car Prices

New car pricing used to be a mystery only to be revealed in person by a car salesperson once he or she had your undivided attention face-to-face. Today, many new car dealers offer an unprecedented level of information on their Web sites (including pricing information).

Most new car dealers are savvy enough to know that the Internet has widened the consumer's reach and that easy access to information is a good way to encourage sales. Many new car dealers offer database searches of in-stock inventory where you can search by make, model, year, and price range. So-called cooperative Web sites that include listings for multiple dealers even let you search by proximity of the dealer's location to your residence.

*Some of these sites require you to create a login as a means of capturing your contact information so, be careful. However, there are plenty that don't, so don't give up if you'd rather search anonymously.

Where can I find resources for negotiating the best car deal?

Car Price Negotiations

If you haven't shopped for a new car recently, be prepared for some sticker shock. The average new car price these days is in the mid-$30,000 range (that's as much as many of today's grandparents paid for their first home). To make sure you are getting the best deal possible on your new car, consider using Consumer Reports New Car Price Service or The Fighting Chance New Car Buying Guide.

Consumer Reports New Car Price Service and The Fighting Chance New Car Buying Guide provide the new car buyer with valuable information not generally offered by the dealer (not otherwise readily available upon which to base your negotiation).

*You can learn more about Consumer Reports service on its Web site. Fighting Chance offers its guide as a downloadable PDF from its Web site.

Where can I find new car discounts?

AAA New Car Discount Program

If you're a member of the Automobile Association of America (AAA), you could save a bundle on your next new car purchase. AAA has researched the best dealers throughout the country and negotiated contracts with those dealers to provide no-hassle, up-front lowest pricing.

Other than being an active member, the program is relatively requirement-free. You just have to deal directly with a specific contact person at the participating dealership and make an appointment before coming to the showroom. You can visit the AAA's national Web site and look under the discounts section for more information.

Could a lower interest rate affect my final new car price?

Give and Take in Car Deals

Think twice before signing up for one of those no or low down payment dealer financing options when buying a new car. A low down payment means you borrow more money, which means you pay more interest over the life of the loan.

Auto dealers are in the business of making money. When you get a break on one aspect of a car deal, you almost always make it up somewhere else. For example, if a dealer offers you a low interest rate, the new car price of the car may be jacked up to compensate. Experts recommend negotiating the exact price you'll pay for the car before you even begin discussing financing.

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Patricia Walters-Fischer