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Car Purchase Areas of Negotiation

If a car salesman (who I actually like) says that cruise control has to come with a power package in all their cars (power windows, etc) so that this is a separate price on the invoice. I am also told that mats came with the car and invoice as well (with a high price) and I am being told that if the car came with it, the items and prices have to be included. I am trying to locate an affordable quality car so I can more securely travel to cancer treatment appointments and to be able to put my bicycle in the back in the rare case that I may get some energy and inspiration to take my bike to the beach and ride it.

Don’t over think this stuff. Is it really important if something is listed as a separate item on an invoice or for that matter what the price on the invoice? Chances are what you end up paying is going to have little to do with what is on the invoice and why do you care.

You are interested in buying a car you want for the least amount. Keep the whole process down to just that. If the dealer is making things confusing (they try very hard to do that) just keep saying “I am confused. I am only interested in how much this car will cost me after all is said and done. If you can’t tell me than then I guess I need to go elsewhere.”

This process works best if you NEVER EVER give your keys to them. They like to use the old “check your car to determine the trade-in price.” Don’t talk about trade-in as part of the new car deal until AFTER you have come to an acceptable price on the new car. Don’t give them any “deposit” or other money. Just tell them if they don’t trust you, you can’t trust them. Give them your address and tell them if they get reasonable they can mail you.

You need to set the rules and if they don’t agree, your really don’t want to deal with them. You can buy somewhere else, but if you walk they have lost a sale they will not get back.

Again, don’t let them confuse the sale will all kinds of add-ons etc. You can buy mats etc after you have a good price on the car and you can deal on the price of the accessories if you like.

Don’t give up your control of the situation.

It’s not clear what your question is.

I assume you’re asking if the salesman is correct with configuration of specific options and packages the car comes with along with their prices. You can verify all that at various online sites. One is, another is There may be others.

Also, when you say: “If a car salesman (who I actually like)”, you’re letting your guard down. That’s makes it difficult to “trust but verify”.

Thank you for spelling out examples of what I could say. I think my biggest challenge for maintaining control of the situation is that he and the manager intermittently meet, and he continually comes back and asks “so would you say the amount I wrote down is a good price?” I end up saying yes after I am told the mats and cruise control are required (the latter if I want power windows). He spoke about his location buying the car from the other dealer (the same business, different city). It just occured to me that he might have been asking about price from me in order to come up with a price with the other location. What I find upon looking on is that they do not describe some vehicle details accurately (eg the difference between Hatchback and Sedan, which matters when I am trying to find out if the Hatchback comes in a 1.6 engine so I can test drive this as well. I know the salesman keeps referring to the 1.8 as being the one the Consumer Reports considers the high reliability rating. I will likely have my friend who has a Consumer Reports subscription look the 1.6 up as well.

Thanks for your help.

Liking the salesman is OK, but irrelevent. I can’t tell if you want cruise control, or not. Or if you want the package, or not. It seems you want the floor mats but think they are overpriced.

Tell you what, deduct the cost of the car mats in your brain. Then do the same with about 1/2 the cost of the “package”. Now if these items are $1,000 for instance offer the salesman $1,500 less than his asking price. If the nice salesman says no, then get up and leave and tell him to call you when his price and your offer are the same. When he calls in a few days go in and buy the car.

You are trying to be to reasonable about this. They have a car you want, you have money that they want. You decide how much money you are willing to spend. They decide how much money they need to complete a deal. Don’t worry about what is on the invoice. The dealer’s cost to for the car is about 20% less than the price posted on the “sticker” on the car window in the showroom. If it is a $25K car on the sticker, the costs to the dealer is about $20K. So, in this case offer $20K or $21K and don’t expect them to take the deal. Walk away and as the month goes on they will reconsider. The best deals come at the end of the month, between the 25th and last day of the month.

After you make a deal, then they will try to sell you an “extended warranty”, a special “security system”, antistain treatments for the upholstery, and yadda yadda. Just keep saying No, no, and no. You should pay the agreed upon price, the sales tax, documentation fee, and state titling and registration fees. That’s it. The dealer’s have inflated the documentation fee, so it is now a “profit center” for them. If you really want to be cheap, have the dealer sign the title and take the title to the DMV office yourself and take care of the sales tax and registering the car yourself. The dealer will try to tell you that you can’t do this, but legally you have the right to refuse the document fee of the dealer and handle the details of getting registered and a license plate yourself. A dealer documentation fee of $50 is plenty, anything more is just extra money in their pocket.

Don’t worry about whether or not the dealer makes money, that is their problem. Set your limit on how much you will spend and stick to it, throughout the whole process.

Thank you Uncle Turbo! It really helped to have formulas to work from to be more prepared on the cost and offer issues.

Some cars, like Hondas, come prepackaged with no options. Others have option packages that save the manufacturer money by installing the same thing on many cars. But none of it matters if you are buying a car that is already on the lot. The dealer speculated about what buyers would want and ordered it. You have to pay for those options or shop somewhere else. Just think in terms of overall cost.

You can see what others pay near you at kbb and edmunds. It’s broken down into base cost, options, transportation, and rebates. You should be aboe to see the sticker at the dealers web site. Copy down all the options for the model you are interested in and check out the price others pay at the afforementionded sites. If the salesman’s price is at or below the edmunds or kbb price, then it’s a good deal.

I agree with the hard line advocated by posters so far. On most economy cars options are grouped, so that power windows, cruise, and door locks are usually one package, such as on a Toyota Corolla.

Your friendly salesman appears to be just a messenger boy; you should be very firm on your price and items you want or don’t want. The standard floor mats on most economy cars are pretty poor quality; I threw mine out at the onset of winter and replaced them with the heavy duty Michelin mats.

On a Hyundai Elantra, if you want cruise, you have to buy the “deluxe” option group with many things you may not want. Koreans have not yet caught on to the fact that Americans, Australians and Canadians really love cruise and use it very often.

You should shop around and google as well to get the factory options list which most suits your needs. In our case an Elantra with the options we wanted would have cost MORE than a Corolla.

One thing not mentioned yet is to talk to your bank, and many others, before you buy as well. You’d be surprised how much money could be saved by shopping banks, as well as cars/dealerships.
I know the local National City Bank(which also has the lowest interest rate I’ve seen around as well) offers a program,up to 66 months, called a “check ready” loan(Capitol One does the same thing, but up to 72 months I believe). Essentially, they FedEx you a blank check that you can use up to a certain dollar amount. Just as good as cash, so it’ll help make negotiating a bit easier.
Also, negotiate the “out the door” cost, not just the cost of the vehicle. One tends to forget the sales tax and such when looking at the sticker price. This helps loads if you plan on doing your own financing(provided you’re taking out a loan, and not plopping down X amount of actual cash.