Research the Dealers : There are a number of websites that allow people to post reviews of dealerships www.dealerrater.com, www.edmunds.com, and www.consumeraffairs.com, not all dealerships are listed on these sites, a good rule of thumb is to ask friends and family about dealerships they have used.
When to purchase: Dealers run on a month-to-month basis. They need to make their numbers to qualify for manufacture bonuses, this is a great time to negotiate pricing. If you’re not picky about having the latest and greatest, the end of a model year is a great time to get good deals on remaining inventory. Also dealerships sell their loaner cars used for customers that have repairs done, these cars often have very low miles and are well taken care of and well below market value. The weekdays are generally slow, especially in the morning. If you come into the dealership on a midweek morning when business is slow, the salespeople are more likely to make a good deal as well. They need sales and they want to look busy, which keeps them motivated to give you a better deal and earn your business.
Purchase on your time: Use the first visit to look at and test-drive the car you are interested in. Gather your information and then leave, let the sales person know that you are no buying that day. This will communicate to the dealer that you are not going to be bullied. Watch what you say to the salespeople—especially if they ask you how much you are prepared to pay monthly—because whatever you say will be used as a starting point from which the dealer will go up when negotiations eventually start.
Check Your Credit History: Most people who shop for cars will need a loan. How much that loan costs will depend on your credit history, and knowing your credit history will give you a better idea what to expect from lenders. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2003 (FACTA) allows every consumer to get a free copy of his or her credit report once a year from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax). Get a copy of your credit report, and check it for accuracy. Pay the extra few dollars to get your credit score as well, as it is one of the major factors that banks use to determine your creditworthiness. If there is any discrepancies on your report, take the time to file a dispute with the reporting company. Today loans and even your auto insurance factors in your credit score.
Get Your Own Financing: Auto Dealerships contract with banks to get the best rates available, however you might not actually get those rates. They might get you a car loan for 4.9 percent APR but draw up your finance contract at 5.9 percent. That one-percent markup is strictly profit for the dealer. Always check with your back or financial institute before going out to purchase a vehicle. The dealership will ask for proof of the rate your financial institute offered and they will try and compete with that rate.
Know you prices: Once you decide on the car you want, look up the invoice price for that car in our Buyer’s Guide. Invoice price is what the dealer pays the manufacturer for the car; the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP, or “sticker price”) includes hundreds—usually thousands—of dollars of profit for the dealer. With the exception of all-new or very popular models, you should be able to get a new car for closer to invoice than MSRP. Knowing the invoice price of your car will tell the dealer that you mean business and expect a good deal. Don’t walk into the dealership without this information.
Get Internet Quotes from Several Dealers: Websites like CARandDRIVER.com, Carsoup.com and Carfax.com offer free online pricing quotes from local dealers. Get quotes from multiple dealers before you ever visit any of them. If dealers know they are being shopped against other stores, it will be easier for you to get their best offer, and walking into a dealership with a first offer already in hand gives you the upper hand.