For more than two weeks, the politically charged government shutdown that offered no escape from newscasts and headlines this month (October 2013) …seems to have had little to no impact on new car sales, according to reports released by Kelley Blue Book and JD Power. KBB is forecasting a double-digit jump of 12 percent in new-car sales, with 1.22 million units moved, including fleet sales. Toyota and Ford were the largest sales leaders, but… “The government shutdown didn’t impact consumers’ growing appetite for buying new vehicles,” said KBB senior analyst Alec Gutierrez.
Far from philanthropists, new car dealers are trying to make a few bucks just like every other business in America. Does that mean you should bend over and take whatever comes your way when you sit down at the negotiating table to discuss price? HELL No! The biggest stick you can always carry to the table is simply being able to calmly and politely walk away if you don’t like the final final counter offer you’re given. Here are some other guidelines when you’re buying a new car.
Time and Timing… are on your side. Dealers are usually hungrier at month end when they’re trying to reach their own sales goals. Closeout sales can mean appealing finance or rebate deals… End-of-calendar year timing can still net some good deals, but so can periods around the end of a month or quarter. Incentives. Whether they’re cash back, factory-to-dealer programs, rebates or whatever. Manufacturer-based incentives when buying a new car are a zero-effort way to get the best price. Be sure the dealer subtracts the rebate from the negotiated bottom-line rather than factor it in to arrive at that number.
Configure your ideal car online. If you’re not web savvy, arm yourself with a friend who is…and go to the car maker’s website to configure your desired vehicle, because it often includes a search function to find similarly-equipped vehicles at dealers around your area. You can see dollar for dollar…one by one…the real cost of optional equipment packages you may want to avoid…and save thousands of dollars.
Be willing to Drive & Shop. The one-time cost and effort to transact with a distant dealer can be worth it when there are hundreds or even thousands to save. Look also into delivery, as more outlets are offering this service. You can even coordinate and pay for transport on your own if the savings are significant enough. Even if it does mean a road trip, what better way to get acquainted with your new car?
Out with the old? Whether a model receives a facelift or complete redesign, dealers don’t want the outgoing models taking up lot space. As consumers we’re conditioned to believe newer is better. That can be true, but not always and not significantly. If you’re not hung up on having the newest look available–especially when it amounts to little more than a revised grille or color options–and don’t mind choosing from on-hand dealer inventory, the savings can add up.
Trade? Fagettaboutit! First…work on getting the best price for the new car you’re buying, period. With early knowledge of a trade, the dealer could fiddle with figures to give you a sweet deal on the new car while lowering the bid on your existing car. Reserve the right to sell the old car yourself for a higher return than trade-in value.