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What to say when a car dealer asks if you're paying cash or financing?

I’ve gone into a few dealerships to look at new cars where practically the first question the salesman asks is whether I’ll be financing or paying cash. This happened before I got to even sit down, before I got to see any cars. It’s a valid question, but IMO they’re asking far too early in the process.

I know that they make more money when the customer finances through them, and I suspect that could affect the price negotiations. I plan to pay cash (and if I do decide to get a car loan, it won’t be through them). I don’t want to lie about it; I don’t even want to discuss it at that point, but I suspect that refusing to answer will only make it clear that I won’t be financing.

So what is a good response to the question?

“I’ll worry about that. You show me a great car.”

He’s trying to get you into a payments discussion.

“This car will only be $250 a month!” (not telling you that that’s 10 grand down and 250 a month for 5 years). Never talk payments. Always talk price.

So what is a good response to the question?

Respond with the word cash or the word finance. Not all car salesmen are former politicians. Do not assume they are being sneaky until they do something sneaky.

Answer that you want to select a car first then you’ll consider dealer financing as well as other financial options which might include a cash sale. This should refocus the sales rep on selling you a car and put off the financial discussion until later.

Tell him that you are inheriting some money as soon as the lawyers get done with settling an estate and that you buy lottery tickets and expect to win big soon. If the salesman expresses any negative statments, tell him you will discuss it with the finance guy if you agree to buy a car. Buy the car (certain models won’t work this way) with no less than 10% off the lower sticker price and not on the additional charge sticker. Discount the amount they charge for etching the windows but don’t tell him you are doing that.

If they come to a final price which is too high to suit you, tell him you will think about it and wait for a phone call the next day. Then say you will buy the car for X amount of dollars. Name your price and stay away until they agree to it.

If you find a good dealer with a fair salesman, you will be able to buy a car in about an hour and a half if they aren’t busy and all the stuff I told you as well as other tactics won’t be necessary.

You can tell the salesman what he has to do to get you to buy the car today.

I was pretty much in your shoes a few months ago. Wanted to pay cash, tried saying will talk about it later. Eventually got tired of them trying to tell me what great financing deals they have and giving me all the credit paperwork to fill out. Told them I pay cash, only thing that matters is a good car at a good price. Some sales people can’t help themselves. They would still ask you “So how much do you want to pay each month?” I would usually ask to see their manager. One dealership had 3 of the different ranks torture me with credit applications where I had talked the final price and chosen the car. It was X-mas eve and I walked out on them. Unfortunately it is a business that anybody can get in, so there is a very wide range of intelligence level. On a positive note, on my last visit where I bought the car, I finalized the car/color/options on the phone. Told the salesperson “I have 45 minutes to finish the deal”, I was in and out in 30 minutes, no sales tactics or additional warranty/paint protection talk.

Which answer will get you the lower price?

If I had the cash, and financing got me a better price, I would finance it and pay off the loan the following week, but only after making sure there is no penalty for paying off the loan early. Either way, you end up paying little or no interest.

Tell the truth and then get on with the real negotiating. We pay cash and so I tell the salesman that up front. Paying cash, by the way, gives you the confident feeling that you have negotiating power that no borrower can have. I am not interested in playing games with a salesperson and if I feel that he/she is toying with me too much, I am out of there ASAP. We live in an urban area where there is more than one dealer selling a particular make of cars so we can be more choosy with dealers.

If you can’t shop multiple dealers for the brand of your choosing, then at least shop competing brands to make sure that the price that you will pay is fair.

I’ve been buying cars with cash for years…

But if I needed to buy with a loan…My credit union has a great deal…

I first go to the them and apply for a car loan…BEFORE I even look at cars. They’ll tell me how much I can afford and approve me for that amount. Then they write me a check which is good for 90 days. All I have to do is endorse and fill in the amount (The amount can’t exceed what I’m approved for) and give it to the dealer…It’s just like paying cash. The check is fully certified too.

Wha, I prefer to deal with upstanding salespeople too, and if I get a creepy feeling from a salesperson, and I feel like I am being lied to, I will also walk. However, some people prefer an adversarial exchange in this kind of process, and for them, the bottom line is getting the best price. If you are that type of person who enjoys the process of haggling, why not use that to your advantage?

If you are interested in hearing about their financing options, tell thatm that you might finance. If not, tell them cash. They only want to know if you are interested in their financing options. One of the regulars here got better financing through the dealer than through any bank in his area. If you are financing, you can ask. If the salesman tells you that the terms might change tomorrow, he is correct. But then again, they might not, and they are unlikely to change much.

The MAIN reason they ask…is because they want to play the Monthly-payment game…Which unfortunately many people fall for. I REFUSE to play it…Had one idiot think that even though I was paying cash…still wanted to play the game with me…I got up told the idiot in a very loud voice that he just lost a $30k sale and walked out…The manager followed me out trying to convince me to stay…I told him to shove it…and got in my truck and drove away. There are too many dealers in an hour drive to be dealing with idiots. I’m the one who’s spending $30k…they can deal on MY TERMS or not at all…Don’t like it…TOO BAD…

Thanks, everyone. Some very good tips here. The thing some of you said that stands out for me is that the salesman does have to be careful not to irritate the customer. And bringing up how I’ll pay before even letting me see the cars does just that, so I’ve decided to use that as my response. I’ll let my irritation show and let them know that talking payment terms before we’ve even talked cars is just out of line in my eyes.

Then they can win me over or I can ask for another salesperson. No need to walk out right away, since I took the time and gas to get there. Let 'em see their co-worker get the sale. And if that doesn’t work, there are other dealers in my area.

I usually tell them something like its negotiable, make me an offer or I’m still deciding what car I want, but that price is a major factor.

If the dealer does something that irritates you, don’t show your anger. You have an opportunity to put them on the defensive. Let them know that you are not satisfied with your treatment. Go ahead and head for the door, but if the sales manager offers to help you, go ahead and let him know why you are dissatisfied and ask for a different salesman.

Another thing is to let them know that you have alloted a specific amount of time and you will be leaving at the end of that time. They love to play the stalling game. When they start that “I’ll have to run that by the boss” routine, tell them to give you a call when they have a decent offer that has been approved. Things will move faster that way.

You often get less pressure when you tell them that you are still deciding on what you want to buy. Take a notepad and jot down notes. It makes you look businesslike. If they find that their lot is the first place you are visiting, they will probably put you with the novice salesman. Strangely, most people will not take the first vehicle they look at, even if it is the best one for them. Most people just don’t believe the first offer will be the best. That’s another good reason for the notebook.

I’m not saying not to keep looking after the first one, or the first one that really appeals to you, just don’t write it off.

Another thing I forgot that sometimes helps. If the dealer is in your home town, go somewhere else to buy a car. Out of town dealers want to sell you a car so they can beat the dealer that is nearest to your home. Be sure to mention where you’re from. It’s just another motivator. Young salesmen might not realize that, but sometimes they are smart too.

I worked in a bicycle shop and prices would go down for a new bike if the owner knew you were located near his rival.

I usually say “I haven’t decided”. First I need to find what I want.

When I buy a car, I do my homework and decide exactly what I want. I then go to the dealer and say “I am going to purchase a car within the next week. I want your best price. If you have the best price from the agencies I vist, I’ll buy the car from you”. I then give them a piece of paper with my list of the options that I want. If the dealership balks, I walk. Most dealers I have worked with have been very cooperative. I did this when I bought my 2011 Toyota Sienna. They gave me a price and were quite low keyed. The agency had the best price and when I went back to make the deal, I asked if I bought the car if I could have a discount on some new floor mats for my wife’s 2003 4Runner. They threw in the floormats for free and then said that since we were loyal Toyota owners, they threw in free oil changes for 2 years.

I am pleasant but am all business in my approach. I had the same experience 5 years earlier at a Chevrolet dealer when I bought an Uplander and 10 years earlier at a Ford dealer when I bought a Windstar. In the case of the Uplander and Sienna, I had no trade in. When I bought the Windstar, we agreed on a price. I then said that if you want to buy my Aerostar, let me know what you would pay for it. If not, I’ll sell it myself. They gave me $500 more than I would have asked for it.

Siena1383, just remember that they are trying to put food on the table. They do that by keeping the price as high as possible and trying to get you to take their loan and an extended warranty. Just politely say no, and don’t let anything they say interfere with your goal of a car at a bargain price.

pick a budget, say $20k, and tell them that’s what you’re willing to spend. You should only have to tell them 2 or 3 times before they get the hint; if not, just give them a dirty look.