Buying a new car was a new experience for me. Although I’ve owned many cars over the years, I’d never signed on the dotted line for a shiny new vehicle of my own.
I’ve been to dealerships hundreds (thousands?) of times as either a service center employee, as a customer in for service, to buy parts, as a helpful friend or brother to help in the process of buying a new car or, as an undercover consumer participating in a probe.
The new consumer
Dealerships are very familiar to me and I’m going to guess that the majority of you have stepped foot in one at some point. In 2019, the vast majority of us will complete most of our shopping online – we’ll read reviews, compare equipment and pricing and make sure we’re well informed before walking through the door.
Salespeople are well aware of the modern consumer’s approach, level of preparedness and normally are adjusted to this reality. They are also mindful that they do not hold the most enviable of reputations but they are working to make money.
Buying a payment
The clash of interests is evident from the onset. However, with the right attitude and rational thinking, everyone can get along and come away from the meeting satisfied. As I’ve said, as the consumer, you are in control, especially if you are well informed.
The greatest mistake we do, as Charles said, is concentrate on the monthly payment. After my sales-guy and I worked out what I wanted, we went over all the costs and incentives and we finally got to the monthly payment.
I opted for a 60-month finance with a down-payment and with this, figured out my final instalments for my Comfortline Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen. It was then that the salesperson tempted me with an Alltrack for the same monthly payments, but for a 12-month longer financing period. As aroused as I was by the idea, I stuck to my plan.
Being in control is sticking to your plan
This is the secret, the trick: Stick to your plan. This is the only way you will stay in control. If you stray from your strategy, you will possibly fall into a trap. Sales reps, as I’ve said, do what they do to make money for the shop, and work hard for their commission. If you’re able to remain firm, you will not succumb to easy temptation.
In the vast majority of new automotive transactions, fees, costs and other related amounts are easy to work out. They may vary by province or state but clarifications for each are available online.
By building and spec-ing out your car online before heading to the dealership, you’ll have a very good idea of what to expect. If at any moment, you have doubts or questions, you have the ability and the right to ask for explanations. As consumers, we sign for a new car every three years or so – dealer reps sell three or more cars every week…
One such scenario arose with a friend where he’d not shopped online and was quoted a monthly instalment some $120 greater than what could be found on the carmaker’s website. It turned out that an extended warranty and a winter tire package were thrown in as a favour to the consumer… This person was ill-prepared to shop for a new car.
Be prepared and enjoy the exciting experience
Purchasing a new vehicle should be as exciting as it sounds. It is up to you, the consumer, to be prepared and guide the process, not the other way around. The idea here is not to be aggressive in order to take control but to demonstrate you know what you want, and how you want it.
If you treat the salesperson with respect, play your cards right, you might even get away with a better deal than you thought.