Churchill magazine

Haggling tips when buying a new car

Updated on: 17 September 2021

haggling tips

Never forget, when you walk in to a car showroom, you are very much in the salesperson’s territory. Salespeople may have their own agenda; the car they want to sell, or the price they want for it, may not match your expectations, so you must stay focused.

Don't get distracted

Start by following these basic rules:

  • Be truthful when asked questions and always think about why you want the car and what you will be using it for.
  • Ask the salesperson questions and listen to their advice, but don’t be distracted from what you want, or talked in to anything you don’t want.
  • Don’t be intimidated. Remember that the salesperson probably needs your business more than you need to buy the car from them.
  • When it’s time to discuss specifics and the price, the salesperson may pass you onto the Sales Manager, who will try dazzling you with in-car entertainment and other extra options. Their job is to make you spend as much as possible. Remember your budget and stick to it. 

How to get a good deal

Negotiating the price of a car is one of those rare occasions when haggling is a normal part of the process. You could save yourself some money by following these tips on knocking prices down.

  • Before you go anywhere near the seller, it’s important to do your homework and make sure you’ve researched the average market value of the car for that particular make, model and age.
  • Once you know what similar cars are going for set your price and then negotiate accordingly with the seller.
  • Always keep a cool head; haggling isn’t about arguing. If you get worked up, you may not secure the best price. 
  • Stick to your plan. Don’t accept a lower specification for a lower price unless you’re happy to take on a lower specification.
  • Be realistic. Don’t expect to save a huge amount, but don’t pay over market rate. The seller should negotiate until you reach a price you are both happy with. 
  • When you’re both close to the price you want to pay, cut straight to an ultimatum. “I’ll buy it right now for…”. 

To haggle effectively, you have to walk away if you don’t reach a price you’re happy with. Remember, buying a car can be a big financial commitment and there’ll always be other cars and other deals.

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