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I literally have a phobia when it comes to purchasing a new vehicle. What’s the best way to negotiate with the dealer? If the car has an MSRP of $ 27,000, what’s a good starting point to negotiate at? Do I have to buy it at that price? The salesperson always seems to focus on the monthly payment amount, and when I try to negotiate a lower overall vehicle price it doesn’t happen. When I do purchase a car I always leave the dealership feeling like I was cheated – and I have always gotten bad deals in the past. I have read articles online but still don’t understand how the whole process should go. They always come out with that piece of paper divided into four sections and they start from a 20% down payment, although I tell them I can’t afford 20% down. They will go from $ 10,000 down to $ 8,000 and so on and they eventually write down the amount I told them in the beginning. Who actually gets the down payment – the dealership or the finance company? The amount I put down has never seemed to matter in relation to the monthly payment. How can I be certain I’m not being cheated before I sign the paperwork? I know it’s not a good idea to buy extended warranties and I have never done that, but I always leave with an outrageous car payment and lengthy term.

For example, I pay $ 573 for the SUV I currently have. I put $ 1,000 down and the term is for 84 months. I still have two years left to pay for the vehicle and it’s worth about half of what I owe. I did trade in a vehicle when I got this one and there was still a balance owed on that one, and I’m sure I didn’t get what that vehicle was worth because I didn’t negotiate anything. So I am obviously upside down in this vehicle as well. Is there ANY WAY (other than putting down the amount of the negative equity) to get out of this situation and get a new vehicle at the same time? Someone told me I could lease a car and that would eat up the negative equity. Once the lease term was up I could walk away from the car and start from scratch. Is that true? I refuse to make the same mistakes I’ve made in the past. I hate the entire car buying process of having to speak to the salesman’s boss (I guess he’s the Finance Manager).

My credit is improving but it’s still not up to par. Back when I got this car it was in the mid to upper 500’s. Now it’s in the low 600’s. I pay all my open and active accounts on time (credit cards, mortgage, vehicle) but I think I have too much credit now which is hurting me. The interest on my current vehicle is 17% – I know, I was crazy to get tied up with this deal but I really didn’t have a choice at the time. Is it even possible to negotiate a car deal when you have bad credit? They always make me feel like they are doing me a favor when I get a car. My husband is a co-signer on this loan as he has slightly better credit than I do, but there was really no point in him co-signing in my opinion. I am not in a position to secure a loan before going to the dealership (for obvious reasons), so I am always stuck at the dealership while they try to send my loan through umpteen banks for approval. The last time we tried to get a new car was in 2008, and they literally sent us through 15-20 banks. One approved us but wouldn’t allow us to carry the negative balance onto the new loan, so the salesman suggested we just let that car “go back” to get the new one.

Any suggestions? Rude comments will be ignored.

5 Thoughts on Are any of you good at negotiating when buying a car?
  1. Reply
    May 1, 2011 at 3:43 am

    Don’t get focused on the monthly payment,just start at a number that you find acceptable.
    I would definitely look online for comparable prices,then make a list of dealers & bring it with you.That in itself may make the dealer more willing to negotiate with you.Just to get your business.Good luck!

  2. Reply
    May 1, 2011 at 3:55 am

    Purchasing a car should be treated like a big game. IMO. Remember that they want to get the most that they can and you want to pay the least. Monthly payments, down payments and trade in values are not relevant when negotiating the price of a new car. You don’t go to a grocery store and by milk at 10 bucks a gallon and think that its a good deal because the manager will let you pay over 2 months. All you want to know is the OUT THE DOOR PRICE – PERIOD. The trade in and the new purchase should be 2 separate transaction in your mind. Don’t get screwed on either. Walk out if you have to. I always now my credit score before hand. Make sure you go in with alternate financing arraigned. If you don’t you are at the mercy of the dealer. Try using the internet to get a price quote from multiple places. I use, enter your zip. And search on dealer inventory. Cut and paste the VIN and send an e-mail to the dealer asking for an out the door price. See how many they have and who else in the area is selling the same thing. That’ll give you an idea on how much they want to move them. Be prepared to walk away.

    Just out of curiosity, what wrong with your current ride. It might be better to refinance your vehicle that you have until it’s paid off. With a credit score of 600, you might be in a bind to get a good rate and carry over the amount owing on the old vehicle. A lot of dealers are offering 0% financing, that leaves you with 2 loans then.

    Good luck

  3. Reply
    May 1, 2011 at 4:21 am

    First of all, every time you trade in a vehicle with negative equity, meaning you owe more than the car is worth, you are digging yourself further into a hole. Keep your current vehicle and pay it off, or at least pay it down to the point where you have equity to use as a down payment.

    Banks like to see the customer have something invested in the deal. It is a lot easier to borrow $ 10,000 on a $ 20,000 car than it is to borrow $ 25000 on the same car; With a good down payment (or a positive trade in) you can get a better loan. You currently have a 7 year loan and want to replace the car after 5 years. This tells me that you should be looking at no more than a 60 month term on your next car.

    The salesman who said to let the car “go back” was not acting in your best interest. If you had done so, you would have a repo on your credit, and you would have been sued for the deficiency anyway.

    When you get to a point where you have equity in your vehicle, you can either sell or trade it. When you are negotiating the price, do not talk about payments. If the salesman will not talk price of the vehicle, and trade value only, leave. You can check with your bank or credit union and have a loan arranged before you even go to the dealership, that way you know what you can afford.

    If you are eligible for membership in a credit union, join it. Credit unions are more willing to make loans than banks, especially to people with marginal, but improving credit.

    You can check to see the dealer cost of the vehicles that you are considering, and that will give you a basis to set your prices.

  4. Reply
    May 1, 2011 at 4:46 am

    just go in focused on one set price for one set car and dont go over that price that is in ur head and tell the sales man what ur looking for and say but. i only want to spend 27000 or how much ever u want and dont go up at all unless its reasonable….and say out the door price…i did it in 08 for my 08 maxima only paid 25,000 out the door..jus stay firm

  5. Reply
    Fred F
    May 1, 2011 at 4:52 am

    The old four sectioned paper is obsolete–most people have figured this scam out.

    First get a book at the library about car buying and read it.
    Find some place that will approve your loan.
    Find out prices (Consumer Report magazine has a car buying guide)
    Offer a lower than “Sticker” asking price.
    Sign nothing, hold on to your keys,and put no money down.
    Lower monthly payments equal MORE monthly payments.

    Remember, you are the boss–it is your money.
    Do not be pressured or worse yet bullied ( One time I felt like “decking” the nice sales manager.)

    Leave the dealership if you feel pressured in any way.

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