How To Negotiate Price On A Used Car – Senior Editor, Consumer Advice & Content StrategyRonald Montoya has worked in the automotive industry since 2008. Over the course of his career, he has written over a thousand auto articles and bought and sold over 100 vehicles. Ronald is a senior editor of consumer advice and content strategy at the Associated Press and has contributed to it. He has also been featured on ABC, NBC and NPR on many car shopping topics. He started in the automotive industry with a part-time job at a car dealership, where he worked in service and accounting.
If you haven’t bought a new or used car in the last few years, you may be in for a rude awakening. The perfect storm of a global pandemic, supply chain issues, semiconductor chip shortages, and vehicle shortages has drastically changed the automotive market since 2020. Where prices used to be, prices have started to appear. It’s still not uncommon to pay above MSRP, and deep discounts remain rare.
How To Negotiate Price On A Used Car
According to the data, the average MSRP discount in May was $616. Compare that to the same month in 2019, when the average discount was $2,573. Today’s discount rate may not sound like much, but the good news is that things are moving in the right direction. Last year alone, people were paying over $700 above MSRP.
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This bearish market means that buyers don’t have as much leverage to get deals as they once did. If you don’t like the price they’re offering you today, sellers know that someone else will probably pay that price.
However, there are some brands that offer more discounts than others. As of May 2023, the brands offering the biggest discounts were Alfa Romeo, Volvo, Ram, Infiniti, Buick, Audi, GMC and Mercedes-Benz.
At the other end of the spectrum, popular brands such as Kia, Honda, Toyota, Dodge, and luxury brands such as Land Rover and Cadillac had average transactions in excess of MSRP.
If you’re looking to buy a new or used car this year, or potentially through 2024, you’ll need to reset your expectations of what constitutes a “good deal.” A few hundred off the sticker price can be considered a good deal in the current market. Similarly, it’s considered a win if you manage to find a dealer who sells the vehicle at MSRP while others are asking for more.
Top Tips For Negotiating A Used Car Price
In both cases, it’s always a good idea to shop around and compare prices. Just be prepared to cast your net further to see what other dealers are charging for the same vehicle. Dealer websites may only quote MSRP, so we recommend contacting the dealer directly to find out if there are any markups or unwanted accessories added by the dealer. If all you find in your area is a glut of new cars, stick with it and know that even inflated prices can be negotiated.
The article below was created when the market was much more stable and predictable. Dealerships were full of cars and often willing to negotiate for a bigger discount. Since this is not the case at the moment, there may not be much room for much negotiation. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that the current situation will persist indefinitely. The strategies below can still be helpful to anyone shopping today.
The thought of negotiating with a car dealer fills many people with dread. This feeling is partly because people see negotiations as conflict and would rather not haggle. But with a change of perspective and a few simple negotiation tips, you can potentially save thousands of dollars off the sticker price when you buy your next new or used car.
Before you start negotiating, you need to determine the market value of the vehicle. This number will serve as the backbone of your strategy and give you a point of reference when you start getting price quotes from the seller. call this asking price or fair market value (TMV). The suggested price is what we recommend you pay and does not include taxes or fees. It’s based on our analysis of millions of data points, including supply, demand, incentives, options and recent transactions nearby.
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Start by searching for a car you like at . Go to the Build & Price link about halfway down the page. Pay attention to the trim level and options on the car to ensure an accurate comparison. If you’re shopping for a new car, look at the MSRP and see where it compares to the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) and receipt. If you’re buying a used car, check the so-called retail price at the dealer. Please note that all suggested prices are average. Your goal is to get the price below it. But if it’s a little higher, that’s fine too.
Things are much easier if you are already looking at inventory. You will see the suggested price for new and used cars. There, the price will be rated from fair to excellent, with a number indicating how much below market the vehicle is.
Next, we recommend calling, emailing or texting a few nearby dealers to get different prices. Ask the Internet Sales Manager and in this conversation check if the vehicle is in stock and make sure it has all the options you want. You can also search for new or used stock and contact dealers who will give you advance pricing. also has a new car price checker tool that allows you to enter the details of the quote you’ve obtained and get a rating that tells you if the quote is fair, good or great.
Once you have a few offers in hand, you have a few options. The path of least resistance is simply to accept the lowest offer and go ahead with it. However, if Dealer A is offering a better price and Dealer B is closer to home, a simple form of negotiation is to call Dealer B and ask if they can match or better the price you were offered by Dealer A.
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If you’re inclined to keep pushing for an even better deal, you’re going to have to do a little old-fashioned negotiating, so keep reading.
Perhaps you would like to shop in person with the seller. Here are some tips on how to negotiate effectively. When you sit down with a salesperson, a typical opening conversation might go something like this: “What kind of monthly payment would fit comfortably within your budget?”
It is important to avoid this question because it is difficult to track the price of the car when the seller shows it as a monthly payment. Instead, tell the salesperson that you will discuss financing later and only want to discuss the purchase price of the car for now. The seller usually checks with the manager and then comes back with a price. But you may not like that price and this is where the negotiations begin.
When the seller presents the price, you can respond with, “We’ve done a lot of research on the market value of this vehicle, and we have a good idea of what it’s selling for because we’ve shopped around a bit. If you can beat that price (present your best offer listing here at another to the seller), we will make a deal.”
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Such a response accomplishes a few things. First, it lets the seller know that you are an informed buyer. Your goal is to justify the price drop, not present the offer without context. Second, the seller knows there are offers to beat, so there’s a good chance the seller will jump to the bottom of the seller’s pricing structure. This approach works for both new and used cars.
If you’re buying a used car, where no apples-to-apples comparisons are possible, your goal is to offer as low as possible, but still be in the game. If you found the vehicle on the inventory pages, check the pricing section to see what might be fair, good, or even great.
If you found the vehicle elsewhere, go to our appraisal tool and be prepared to answer a number of questions about equipment, options and condition level. Then click Valuation Report to get a rough idea of what the dealer may have paid for the vehicle. Compare this with its appraised value at the retailer. Your goal is to land between these numbers. You can also search for comparable used vehicles near you to see what others are listing. It’s important to note that the miles and options are similar – otherwise you won’t be making the same comparison. Once you’ve done all of this research, you’ll have a better idea of what a fair price would be.
How To Negotiate Car Price: Steps To Get The Best Deal
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