Buying a new car can be a stressful experience. How can you be absolutely sure that you’re getting the best deal and not being ripped off by the dealership? Sure, mobile apps and websites like TrueCar, Edmunds and KBB have taken some of the pricing mystery out of the car buying experience, but it’s still difficult to know for sure if you got the best deal possible in your local area.
Today I’d like to introduce the complete “jackass” way to purchase a new car to ensure you get the best deal. I’ve created a fun infographic below to give a simple overview of how the process works and include specific step-by-step instructions further down on this page. I hope you find this car buying technique helpful. And don’t worry, if you do decide to use this process it doesn’t mean that you’re really a jackass; it just means you’re a savvy car shopper.
The Jackass Car Buying Technique:
Step 1: The first step in our jackass car buying technique is to pick out the exact make and model of car you want to buy. Make sure you identify the exact options you want as well (different option configurations can adjust a car’s price thousands of dollars). The last thing you want to do when buying a car like a jackass is to pay for options you don’t need. Most dealerships will allow you to test drive a vehicle without any real hassle. Just be upfront and tell them you’re in the early stages of buying a new car and wanted to get a feel for different makes and models.
Step 2: Once you’ve decided on the exact car you want to buy, scour the websites of dealerships within a 50 mile (or so) radius of your area (the more the better). Each dealership should have their current new car inventory listed so you should be able to find the exact car you’re looking for (Note: Be open to more than one color option). Send an email to the internet sales department and ask them for the absolute lowest “out the door” price possible for that particular car. Make sure they include all taxes, destination, documentation and processing fees in the price. This will make it easy to compare offers from different dealers.
Step 3: Review the offers you’ve received and double check that they’re quotes for the exact model you requested. Sometimes dealers will be sneaky and quote you a price on a car that mysteriously “dissapears” when you show up at the lot and then try to upsell you on a different model.
Step 4: Once you’ve received offers back from the various dealers, pick the lowest of the bunch and present that offer to the next closest dealer. Ask them if they’d like a chance to beat the lowest offer you’ve received. Reaffirm to the internet sales manager that you will be conducting the entire negotiation over email and will not be coming in to the dealership unless it is to pick up the car at an agreed price. If they refuse to counteroffer, take your current lowest offer to the next dealer on your list. If the dealership does beat the offer, take that offer to the next dealer on your list. Keep repeating this process until dealers stop answering your emails or back out and say the offer they gave you is the lowest they can go.
Step 5: You’ll know you’ve gotten the best offer when no dealerships are willing to improve upon their offer by another $100 to $200 to secure the deal.
Step 6: Make arrangements to pick up your new car at the “winning” dealership.
Things to Consider with the Jackass Car Buying Technique:
Car dealership won’t particularly care for your approach and may not act very cordial when you show up to buy your new car. But do you really care?
Car Salesman are highly trained at building a personal relationship with you and then exploiting this relationship at the negotiation table when they try to make you feel bad for “all the work” they did trying to get you a deal on your car. When you deal exclusively through email, you eliminate the advantage dealerships (and salesmen) have over you.
Car dealerships will do whatever they can to get you into the showroom (on their turf) before they’ll give you their best deal. If they refuse to negotiate over email (and they will) just tell them you’re simply trying to get the best deal for you and your family. If they don’t want to negotiate with you through email then they’ll lose their opportunity to win your business.
Another concern people may have against the jackass car buying strategy is buying from a distant dealership and burning a bridge at your local dealership if you need service done on your vehicle. This is ridiculous! The local dealership will gladly help resolve any issues with your new vehicle. These are warranty claims the local dealer will have no problem billing the manufacturer for. The local dealership will also be able to “groom” you to be a loyal customer the next time you’re in the market for a new car.
Never discuss a trade-in vehicle when negotiating with the jackass car buying technique. You’ll get a much better deal selling your car yourself. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of selling the car yourself, wait until you’ve already agreed on a price with the dealership before discussing your trade. If they refuse to give you a reasonable trade value for your current vehicle, tell them “thank you” and that you’ll see if the next dealer can do any better.
If you’re financing the vehicle, make sure you get approved with a local bank or credit union prior to showing up at the dealership. Unless the dealership has a special financing incentive through the vehicle’s manufacturer, you’ll usually always get a better interest rate from a local bank than you will through a dealer.
Extended warranties are a rip-off. Never buy an extended warranty through a dealership or anywhere else as far as that goes. The only exception might be for an actual manufacturer’s extended warranty protection plan that’s part of a certified pre-owned program. I’ve actually had very good luck with certified pre-owned cars and highly recommend them to friends and family.
Dealerships are more likely to negotiate on some makes and models more than others. Be realistic on the amount off MSRP that you expect to get. Be courteous but “matter of fact” in your emails, keep them professional. The more personal you get with a particular dealership, the more advantage they have over you.
Did I miss anything? Do you have an effective car buying strategy that works better than this? Feel free to share your stories in the comments section below.