Smart Spending

Using the Internet to Get the Best Price on Your New Car

When you’re ready to buy a new car, getting the best price is just as important as securing financing. However, getting the best price is much easier to say. Salespeople know how to play hardball, and depending on the time of the month, they may be unwilling to bend with the price. This can be problematic if you’re pre-approved for a specific amount and don’t have much leeway.

Shopping around and negotiating the price of a car can be tedious and stressful. And while some people can visit a dealership and drive away with a new car a few hours later, it might take you days or weeks to locate the best car. But there are ways to speed the purchasing process, and some car buyers have had success using the Internet to find and get the best price on a car.

Most people don’t think of the Internet when shopping for a new car, and for good reason. You cannot touch and test drive a car over the Internet. Plus, without face-to-face interaction with a salesperson, you may feel that its harder to get the best deal on the car. Not to say you have to negotiate the entire sale from start-to-finish online. But with the Internet, you can do a little legwork and better prepare yourself for the actual meeting.

1. Investigate Dealer Invoices.

Determine which car (make and model) that you’re interested in buying. Once you narrow down a selection, use the Internet to research the dealer invoice price. This is what the dealership paid the manufacturer for the car. Consumer Reports has this information, and while you can purchase a copy of the magazine, it’s faster and more convenient to subscribe to the online edition. With the invoice price, you know the actual cost of the car, which helps you estimate how much the dealer marked up the car. This gives you a little wiggle room when negotiating, thus putting you in a better position to get the best price for the car.

2. Compare and Negotiate Prices Online

With the Internet, you don’t have to visit the dealership to compare prices and negotiate the best price. You might visit the dealership for an initial test drive to determine whether a car is right for you. But once you decide on a make and model, you can find the best price online. The majority of large dealerships have an extensive website that lets customers view the entire car inventory, apply for financing and even communicate with a salesperson through email.

Car shopping over the Internet isn’t for everyone. But if you’re looking for a hassle-free experience, and you don’t have the time or energy to visit multiple dealerships, this is the way to go. You can request and compare quotes from multiple dealerships, and then choose the car with the best deal. If you work with the Internet sales manager, you’re likely to receive a lower quote. If all goes well, you don’t have to visit the dealership until you’re ready to sign the contract.