How to Get the Best Deal from Car Dealers

So you’ve narrowed down your list of cars you’re interested in and found a few that are right for you. In fact, you’ve found one or two that even tick all the boxes and fall within your budget. Ideally, you’d like to get your car at the best price to have some budget left over for maintenance costs, insurance etc. But where to from here? How do you go about getting the right price?

Whether you’re after a new or used car, in most cases you will end up at a car dealership (unless you choose to purchase a car privately). The art of negotiating a price with a dealer can seem daunting at first, but it’s not that hard to do, especially when you could be saving money in the process or getting any extra bells and whistles.

Do your homework

Do a comprehensive search on the make and model of the car you’re considering. Looking into features and mileage could be useful when it comes to negotiating with a car dealer. Once you know the specs of the car, you can determine its market value. Comparison sites like Canstar Blue or TradeMe (for used cars) can help you find out what people would pay today for the car you want. You can even get a free car valuation on a car you're looking to buy to make sure the price is reasonable.

Consider your finance options

It’s important to consider your car finance options before visiting car dealers. Getting a pre-approval prior to visiting dealerships means you can browse freely without worrying about how much you can afford. You should always get at least one finance quote to compare with what a dealer will offer you. You’ll also need to consider other costs like car insurance, maintenance, WOF, registration etc.

We provide a complete package for car finance that includes all your maintenance costs as well. You can get a pre-approval online or use our free car loan calculator to find out how much you could borrow.

Reach out to multiple car dealers

You want to call or message at least three car dealerships to get a quote or rough price range. Spend time researching the car dealership to make sure you are getting a car from a reputable dealer. Once you have a quote from a dealer, you can find out whether other dealerships can beat it.

Don’t forget to thoroughly inspect and test drive the car prior to purchase. If you’re considering buying a used car it’s also important to get a vehicle history report if you’re not the first New Zealand owner.

Negotiating a fair price

Going to a car dealer doesn’t have to be intimidating if you’ve done your homework beforehand. Once you have the knowledge of your car and it’s market value, you can then negotiate using the ‘if’ and ‘then’ technique. For example, “If you’ll consider X price for this car, then I could give you a deposit today”. This qualifies you as a serious buyer who is willing to pay for a good deal. You can also use your quote from previous dealerships to help you negotiate.

How do you know you got a good deal on your car? Simply ask yourself whether you could find another car in the same or better condition, for a better value.

Timing is key

Good timing can be an important factor when buying a car- including knowing when to walk away. If your offer is declined, you can:

  • Continue negotiating to reach a fair price.
  • Increase your budget (if possible) should you really want the car and the best price is just out of reach.
  • Walk away and continue with your search if you cannot reach a win-win situation. Thank the seller for their time and leave your contact details with them should they have a change of mind.

The Bottom Line

Remember negotiation should be a relatively comfortable and polite process. Be sure to maintain friendly but firm stance with your car dealer- they are more likely to consider your offer if you don’t appear aloof or standoffish. It all comes down to two parties seeking a favourable outcome.