Consumer Reports: Negotiating the price of your next car

Consumer Reports

(CONSUMER REPORTS) — If you have your heart set on buying a new car this year, be prepared to pay significantly more– inflation, parts, shortages, and a recovering economy have caused prices to skyrocket. Consumer Reports has some tips so you still feel like you are getting a “good deal”.

Some vehicles are so hard to come by that consumers are paying well above sticker price. Consumer Reports has seen the Jeep Compass selling for 15-percent over MSRP. The Chevrolet Silverado 2500, 17%. And the 2021 Kia Telluride is currently selling for 18-percent over. That gives buyers like Dan Barkyoumb some pause.

“I just don’t think I’m the best car buyer. I’m not good at negotiating or anything like that,” said Barkyoumb.

CR says your best bet is to choose a model that isn’t in such high demand, and when you are ready to go head-to-head with a salesperson at the dealership, be prepared to negotiate.

“Let the salesperson know you have researched the transaction price for the car and trim level you want,” said Consumer Reports Auto Editor Jon Linkov.

This means you know approximately what the dealer paid for it and you have already calculated what you are prepared to pay. If the salesperson can meet your target price, let them know you’ll be ready to buy immediately and if not, you intend to visit other dealerships.

“The salesperson will try to keep the focus on your monthly payment,” said Linkov. “Insist on negotiating one thing at a time. Only after you’ve locked in the price of your new car, should you begin to discuss a trade-in or financing.”

Speaking of trade-ins, since the used car market is also tight, your older car will probably never be worth more than it is right now. There’s no reason a dealership shouldn’t give you at least it’s wholesale value as a trade-in allowance. But if you are offered a price that’s in your target range, you should probably accept it because supplies continue to be low, and you might not find the car, or a better deal, at another dealership.

As for Dan, he found his car. But he’ll do things a little differently next time.

“It was all in the span of about 24-hours, but I think I would have shopped around
a little bit more,” he said.

Consumer Reports says if the trade-in discussions become too burdensome, but you’re not willing to pull out of the new-car deal, you can always sell the car elsewhere, including CarMax and online retailers like Carvana and Tread.

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