New car buying advice

Thank you to all that answered my previous question about whether to keep my car or buy a new one. I’m still on the fence about that, but have some car buying questions.

I’ve never bought new, any car I’ve ever spent any real money on has been a year or two old low mileage vehicle. I know how much used car are marked up, so I’ve always done my research and gotten a very good buy.

Everyone says now the deals are better than ever, but how low can I really go? I’m looking a base model 09 Ford Fusions. The 2010’s are out now, so the 09 version has a $3,500 rebate.

Looking at various websites, the target price is around $15,000 after the rebate. How much lower can I go than that? Obviously there is not as much wiggle room on a new car v. used.

Should I just be happy if I can get the car for the target price websites show?

I suggest that you peruse the Ford dealer web sites in your area. They list internet prices, and there might be some good ones. You can find the dealers from the Ford web site. You might also see the real dealer web site if Ford doesn’t take you to it, but instead just shows you a standard site with new car inventory. Also look at the car sites, like and cars. Edmunds shows an average of recent sales on your Fusion, and the others probably do, too. You can also use these sites (edmunds,, etc.) to request quotes from local dealers on a hypothetical car that you like. They will respond with a similar car. See if you like their prices. I know people who bought their cars on the internet and sealed the deal after looking at it.

Visit several Ford dealer websites and check out the inventory they are have on hand in the Fusion. Most will be heavily equipped but perhaps you can find several cars at a couple of dealers that have the equipment you want.

Print out the specs on these cars and go shopping. When one dealer see’s you are going to shop other similar cars at other dealers they should be motivated to give you a good price. Get a quote on a specific car, and thank them and leave. They will do something to get you to buy now. After a couple of dealers, someone is going to want to move the car and make a good deal. The end of the month is best to the rock bottom price. Start shopping seriously about the 25th of the month and you should get a deal you feel is the best you can before the month closes out.

Always go at least $1,500 more. If the rebates aren’t from the dealer and are from the factory or from Ford, the dealer can do that easily. If they say they won’t, don’t run out. Get up slowly and mention the dealer in the next town. Don’t even try going to the dealer in your town. Out of town dealers know that you’re not coming back if they refuse you. They are more motivated to sell to you. Bring your check book with enough money to write them a check for the whole amount. When they ask how you are going to pay for it and you tell them that you will just write a check for it, they know you will be able to get a car somewhere else. Fear is motivation. After all, where can’t you find a Fusion? Should you be happy if you can get one for the target price on the internet? Maybe, but don’t just throw money away if you can do better.

If you do a google search for new car buying advice, you’ll end up with years worth of reading material and advice. This forum alone has numerous threads on this topic.

My one piece of advice is to go buy the book: “Don’t Get Taken Everytime” by Remar Sutton. Remar, now in his 70s, used to own several dealersips. His book reveals all the secrets of the industry. It’s written in a way that is so interesting to read, once you start reading it, you won’t be able to put it down.

How much lower you can go depends on how desperate the dealer is to move another car off his lot.

You will only find the bottom price when you are ready to buy RIGHT THERE, on the spot. When that time comes you can, and should, hammer them down until they just won’t budge any more. Then say, “Sorry, that’s not enough,” and start walking toward the door.

If they let you leave you were already at the bottom. If they stop you before you get off the lot there’s still negotiating room.

I’ve found the best approach is to decide what you are willing to pay before you set foot in the showroom. Stick to your price no matter what. If you’ve done your research and stand firm you will likely get the car for your price.

I say this as a former car salesperson who’s seen it from both sides. Be prepared and you can win.