Best Car Deals Questions

December 27, 2009

Yesterday I shared my friend’s tips on how to get the best car deals when buying a new car. After reading through his description I sent him some follow up questions about the process, here they are.

How many dealers ended up bidding for your business?
I think there were 7.

What was the tone of the phone conversations?  Did you have to get pushy and demanding or were you just laid back and matter of fact?  Just asking since some people who don’t like to negotiate might be intimidated by the idea of having to call and barter with all of the sales managers.

I wasn’t pushy at all.  The original lowest bid was pretty good so if they could beat it great, if not who cares.  I also had a list of 7 dealers participating so if they said no I just planned on going down the list.  I was surprised every dealer was willing to beat the bid I had at the time I called them.

Did you have to make the list of dealers yourself or did you find that somewhere?
I just used Googled Honda dealerships and wrote down their numbers.  It took five minutes.

About how long did you spend talking with all of the dealers on your first call to them and then again on the follow up call?  Did you do this all on a Saturday or something?

Getting the right person on the phone may have been the hardest part.  I went to each dealership’s website and found out who the sales manager or internet manager was.  They are a little harder to get a hold of so that probably took me two or three days to talk to everyone.

Several I left messages for and they would call back or most likely have a sales person call back.  I was clear I didn’t want to talk to any floor sales people.  They are less likely to take a loss on a car just to move inventory…in fact they might not take a loss at all.

Were the sales managers open to the idea right away or did they take convincing?
I was surprised at how open to the idea they were.  Only one dealer said to call him after I had the lowest bid and he would beat it.  I just told him that he would have to do like everyone else or not at all.  He declined so I didn’t send him the email.

The funny thing was he called the day I was fielding all the bids, just after I had finished the process.  He said he really wanted to do business with me.  I told him I had already closed the deal.  I told him the price he said he could have beat it.  I don’t know if he could or not but I stuck with the lowest bidding Honda dealer anyway.

How much money did you save with the process?
It’s hard to say exactly how much I saved.  But I think I was able to drive the lowest bid down about $2000 dollars.

I wish I could give you a bid by bid account of the process to show how the savings progressed.   My friend had all the bids from the different dealers written down but had trashed the piece of paper by the time he shared his story with me.  Hopefully what he did provide will give you some ammunition next time you’re car shopping.

Don’t forget that you can get also get some year end car deals if you’re buying a new car at the end of the year.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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2 Responses to Best Car Deals Questions

  • Ben

    Hey Craig, I agree, everyone’s experience will be a little different because we’re all dealing with different dealerships and different salespeople. My guess is that in my friend’s case he would have just skipped past that manager and moved onto the ones that were willing to deal with him.

    Of course he lives in a major metropolitan area where there are lots of dealerships competing for business. In a smaller city I suppose it might be more difficult.

  • Craig

    I did something similar when looking for my Honda and one manager said he wouldn’t talk price unless it was in person. I went with the guy who spent the most time interacting with me and who went out of his way to call me back when I asked and I got the price I was comfortable with.