Single Women Can Buy a New Car and Get a Good Deal
I’m a single woman and at the risk of upsetting my fellow females….I hate to shop! The item I hate to shop for the most is a new car. I think car salesmen can spot a single woman a mile away. They think we are easy prey! I hate haggling over the price of a new car. But with each new car deal I make, I get better at playing their game. Now I do my homework before I go so I know what model I want, what colors are available, what options I want, and a general idea of what my trade-in car is worth and how much I want to pay for a new one. I always look up my trade-in value on the web sites www.nadaguides.com and www.kbb.com. Of course Kelly Blue Book is the one most of the dealers use since it usually has the lowest prices. So my car shopping experience should be easy, right? Or so one would think!
My last car deal started out by looking at the new year of the same model I had. I didn’t like it. They had changed the style so much I didn’t like it anymore. Even though the salesperson tried to change my mind with all sorts of extra incentives, I still said no thanks.
Then I went on the web and researched and compared several models of different cars I thought I might be interested in. I like the web site www.Edmunds.com . It seems to be an unbiased site. It includes pricing, reviews, ratings and advice. It also includes not only the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) but the dealer invoice price. You should always negotiate up from the invoice instead of down from the MSRP. There is even a tool to compare several car models on the same page.
I viewed my choices in person (on a Sunday since the dealerships are closed and you can look without being hassled). I finally decided on the one I wanted. It has excellent gas mileage, small but not so small you feel like a sardine, and most of the features I wanted. I checked it out on the manufacturer’s web site for the available colors and options. I wasn’t sure yet what color so I decided to wait on that until I saw what was available on the lot.
I started out at the dealership in my hometown. It was a Saturday afternoon and I looked at their selection and then I wanted to go for a test drive. I was a little surprised no one came outside to help. Usually they come running out with $$$$ in their eyes! I walked inside and stood for a few minutes before a female salesperson approached me. I thought to myself, maybe it will be easy this time. Maybe she won’t play so many games. She was very nice and I told her what I wanted and we went for a drive. I liked the model but not the colors on the cars in the outside lot….and then the game began!
We went back inside and I noticed one that was exactly what I wanted in a bright blue color. But it was a manual transmission. I wanted automatic. So we sat down to talk about it, but the first thing she wanted was my information so they could check my credit rating. I already knew that was excellent so I wasn’t worried about that requirement. After they check out your credit rating ask them your credit score so you will know what it is. Then I asked if they could find me one just like they had on the sales floor in an automatic. She promptly had another person start looking on the computer because ‘he was better at it than she was’. In the meantime, the haggling began.
I told her right from the start; give me your best price because I wasn’t going to get into the back-and-forth-with-the-manager game. But first she asked me what kind of monthly payment I could afford. I said no, I want your best price on the car, what you are going to give me for my trade-in and what is left I need to finance. For some reason they don’t like to give it to you that way anymore. They want to shoot a monthly payment at you. Sounds more affordable that way, I guess. But working in an accounting office for almost 30 years, I needed details. So after going back to her manager several times I finally managed to get the information I wanted. It wasn’t a very good deal. In the meantime, I was told the guy on the computer had found what I wanted but it was in another state. Of course they didn’t want to have to go out of state, though it wasn’t that far. Also, it was the year 2007 and they were all sold out, so I was dealing on a 2008…and it was only July. I told her it wasn’t a good enough deal so back to the manager she went even though she said he wasn’t likely to lower the price since there were no incentives yet on the new models. It was getting late and I had wanted to go to another dealer in another town but they were taking so long, on purpose I’m sure, so I wouldn’t have time to look until Monday. I’m sure they thought they could pressure me into a deal before I left. They didn’t know who they were dealing with!
She came back with a measly $500 less than the previous deal. I said no, that wasn’t good enough. Then she changed tactics and suggested I talked to the business manager and see what interest rates were available and maybe I could afford the deal they were offering. I agreed to talk to her but said that even if the numbers worked out I would not decide that day. I always give myself an extra day to think about it. No impulse shopping for me when it comes to cars! Besides, I wanted to see what their interest rates were. I had checked my credit union’s rate before I came but most of the time the car dealers can get a better rate than you can, even at your own credit union or bank. Of course the business manager tried talking me into making a decision right away too, but I stood firm. Then the salesperson told me they hadn’t found a car after all, but they had a nice red one on the lot. Wouldn’t I like to take that one? That was the last straw. I told them I had to think about it but I knew I was going to go to another dealership on Monday.
I didn’t even get home before my cell phone rang and it was the salesperson saying they did find the car I wanted and it was only 60 miles away. I came right out and told her I wanted to check another dealer before I made a decision. Her response was they were ready to deal now. To which I responded, “I asked for your best deal so why didn’t you give it to me then? Apparently you only give out your best deal when the customer threatens to go to another dealer.” Needless to say, Monday I went to another dealer. I told them exactly what I wanted. I told the salesperson right up front, “I have an offer from another dealer and they aren’t willing to make me a very good offer. What can you do for me?” I bought the car from them with no hassles whatsoever with a much better deal. And they had no problem going out of town to get it for me.
It does pay to shop around, do your research before you go, and not let them bully you into a quick decision. You can always walk away. And ladies, you can do it on your own.