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Confrontational Car Buying – Exploring the Alternatives

For most consumers, car buying is a battle. It is a clash between them and the dealership sales staff. This perception was influenced by the view that car sellers are all out to trick buyers. As a result, many car buyers seek to trick salesmen too so they can get the deal they want.

The problem with people trying to get back at ‘evil’ salesmen is that it makes the car buying process antagonistic, and it does not have to be. It is possible for car buyers to get a good deal without the hostility. Learn about two nonconfrontational approaches to car buying in light of two confrontational approaches.


The Game Theory Approach

How it is done: The shopper calls competing dealerships an hour before he/she intends to buy a car and demands their best price. The shopper then goes to the dealer that offered the lowest price, hands over a check with the price quote and drives home with the vehicle.

This approach is designed to force the salesperson to give a low price due to time constraints. Unfortunately, this is not guaranteed to work. First of all, if you call a dealership to ask for a price, your call will be passed on to a salesperson who does not even have the authority to quote prices. He would have to ask the sales manager for their best offer. In addition, different cars have different options, and are therefore priced differently.

What to do instead: First, find the car with the options you need. Then, contact the dealership’s Internet manager and ask for the car’s price. Unlike on-the-floor sales staff, Internet managers have the authority to quote prices. Inform the Internet manager that you are planning to buy and that you are on the lookout for the best price. After you are given a specific price, ask how much over invoice the quote is so you know the basic price regardless of options. When calling another dealership, try to get the best offer by saying, “I’ve found this vehicle for (insert amount here) over invoice. What are you asking for it?”


The Written Check Approach

How it is done: The shopper goes to the dealership with a cashier’s check for the amount he/she wants to pay for the chosen vehicle and demands the salesperson to ‘take it or leave it.’

This approach assumes that dealerships are so anxious to get cars off their lot that they are willing to accept the amount given by a potential customer, even if it is unreasonable. This plan will backfire for several reasons. One of which is that it would be difficult for any shopper to come up with a fair price, that which includes all other fees related to the auto purchase. Hence, no one will go home with the car they want for the price they decided on their own. Moreover, this approach does not apply to customers who intend to finance a car.

What to do instead: If you are a cash buyer, do your research first before you go to the dealership. Keep the check blank until you are satisfied with the deal. If you plan to finance the car, get a preapproved loan before you head to the dealer. Use the financing you got to get a better offer with dealer lending. Get preapproval from New York Auto Approval Center or any other lender you prefer.

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