That’s right when I was in college I sold cars for a few years and learned a few things that I want to pass on. Here are 5 helpful tips on how to buy a new car from an old car guy:
- Do your homework! Research is key to a successful new car purchase and there are many great websites that help you shop for a new car. Edmunds.com, TrueCar.com and Kelly Blue Book are just a few that I find really helpful. There are even specialty websites for particular vehicles. Doing research in advance of your purchase will help you get a good deal. The Edmunds True Market Value Pricing tool and TrueCar show you how much others are paying for the same vehicle. I cannot stress this enough. But don’t research just the price of the vehicle- also research factory to dealer incentives, low interest rates and special lease or extended warranty offers. Check with your bank or credit union in advance as well to get an idea of what kind of interest rate you can expect to pay. Car dealers can often meet or beat deals from another dealers on the price of a new car- AND- they can often meet or beat most financing deals from a bank or credit union.
- Be prepared to walk away. Car dealers employ several tactics when selling cars. Sometimes they can be high pressure. Some dealers will appraise your car for a trade in and even hang on to your car keys. If you don’t feel comfortable get up and walk. Often dealers will give you the best possible deal if they know you are on your way out the door. Plus, if you change your mind you can always come back and they will give you the same great deal … or better!
- Buy Local! I know this may sound old fashioned or corny. But buying local is a great strategy. With advanced mechanical technology it is likely at some point in your vehicle’s life you will need to bring it to the dealer for service. A friend of mine moved to a new town and when she picked up her car from the new car dealer in her new town for service she saw a note in pencil on the repair order that said NOC. We both think it stands for Not Our Car. Local dealers treat their customers who bought from them better. Dealers will offer good faith repairs beyond the factory warranty or discounts on service to customers who bought from them to promote customer loyalty. In year 5 of owning your vehicle you will not remember that you paid 180 less buying from a dealer 40 miles away.
- Last Day of Month-Buying late in the month is always a great strategy. Car dealers receive performance bonuses based upon quantity of vehicles sold from the manufacturer. These bonuses are called Factory to Dealer Incentives and are usually paid on a per car basis. What this means is that the dealer can sell you a car below invoice (their cost) and still make money that the manufacturer pays them on that particular car. Car sales personnel also receive bonuses from the manufacturer. So sometimes you will have BOTH the sales person and the dealership eager to get that one more sale to qualify for a bonus on all the other cars they have sold that month.
- Don’t forget your insurance guy! if you are financing you will need to get evidence of insurance protection sent to the dealer or bank. Also most auto insurance companies offer GAP insurance at a cost much lower than the car dealer can offer. If your car is totaled, gap insurance pays the difference between the balance of a lease or loan due on a vehicle and the book value of your car. Your insurance agent will be able to make some recommendations on what coverage you will need for a new vehicle. We often recommend lower deductibles, and 100% glass coverage. Our preferred insurers like SafeCo and Plymouth Rock offer nice features like new car replacement and vanishing deductibles.
My wife and I just bought a new Sienna (great family vehicle!) from Toyota of Nashua. It was a really wonderful experience. Our 2005 Sienna had 185,000 miles and required some costly repairs to get it through inspection.
We were helped by Mark Preston, Sales Manager, and Mikhail Berlin salesperson at the Toyota of Nashua Truck Center. Mark and Mikhail gave us a great deal on our new Sienna XLE. Business Manager Jason Stefanski helped us get 0% financing and gave us a great deal on an extended warranty of 125,000 miles.
Steve Donohue is an independent insurance agent in Nashua NH.
See pictures of old and new Donohue Sienna’s.