In this sponsored post, car finance expert and Savvy managing director BILL TSOUVALAS shares five surefire ways to get the best deal possible when buying a new car. 

REMEMBER the game show “The Price Is Right”? Most of the games were testing our knowledge of price and value.

Bill Tsouvalas.

Unless we’re in the car-buying or selling game, it’s hard to gauge if we got a good deal as we’re signing on the dotted line. 

Niggling thoughts creep in: "Did I negotiate right? Is my car finance costing me too much? Could I have done more?" 

Stress less – Savvy has five surefire ways to make sure you rest easy knowing you got the best deal possible on your next new car purchase.

Here they are:

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Anyone in the market for a car right now is easy prey for dealers. Like all kinds of goods, you can drive home a bargain when your chosen item is on sale. 

According to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries most cars are sold during the end of the financial year (EOFY) or end-of-year sales, as prices are slashed across the board. If you absolutely can’t wait, approach a dealer at the end of the month instead. 

Dealers have quotas to fulfill – either to gain bonuses or further job security. A dealer will always want to make a sale – and when they’re under pressure, they might give up a lot more to clinch your business.

BUY SOMETHING THAT’S ON THE LOT

Another way to get a great deal is to consider buying something that’s already in the dealer showroom. 

These cars are already bought and paid for by the dealer; this means it’s costing them money keeping them on the floor, as they’re paying interest on the purchase. 

If you can manoeuvre yourself around buying a car that’s on the lot already, you could drive an even harder bargain.

SPEAK IN HARD NUMBERS

Don’t approach a dealer and ask: “So what can you do for me?”

Chances are not that much. If you have a hard number that a dealer can work with, you can strike a fantastic deal for yourself. 

For example, if they have a car on the lot that’s advertised for $40,000 and you offer $35,000, dealers are more amenable to getting the deal done rather than endlessly haggling when you offer an extreme lowball (say, anything below $30,000). 

It’s just like you at your workplace – do you want to spend two hours getting a 10-minute job done? You can bolster your hard numbers with a car loan pre-approval.

GET FINANCE PRE-APPROVAL

Dealers, especially around EOFY and end-of-year sales (or in general when sales are lagging) will offer ultra-low or zero per cent finance. 

These “deals” will end up costing you more. Don’t be dazzled by the low numbers; there’s always a catch.

They may waive your right to negotiate a lower price, for example. Or, they recoup the margins through fees and charges. 

Your best bet is to apply for car loan pre-approval through a broker or lender.

Car loan pre-approval gives you a “price ceiling” that your dealer has to match, or you walk away. 

You can estimate your repayments by using a car loan calculator. You’ll need an interest rate, loan term, and loan amount to make a rough estimate of how much you’ll pay back each month. Add to this your estimated on-road costs and you are all set.

Using the tips above, you can make your negotiation an immovable object. Letting slip you have pre-approval shows you’re in a position to buy, a red-hot prospect. At this point, dealers will be falling over themselves to accommodate you.

CONSIDER CERTIFIED USED CARS

Certified used cars can also be a good deal, as they’re at most about three years old, come factory refurbished, and have an extended manufacturer warranty. 

These cars might be ex-lease cars and are generally in good condition. They’re cheaper than new cars and you could find an even better deal.

DRIVING A GOOD BARGAIN

Timing it right and getting pre-approval to bolster your negotiation position are all surefire winners to ensure you get a great car deal.  

You won’t save tens of thousands, but you’ll definitely walk away with savings in your pocket. Just don’t get sucked into aftermarket accessories, which are usually marked up to ridiculous amounts.

Keep a level head and remember – dealers are just people trying to make a living – they’re not that different from you and me!

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Ian Meikle, editor