TrueCar.com’s Brandy Schaffels on tips for women car shoppers
Today’s post comes from Brandy Schaffels, senior editor and content manager at TrueCar.com. Brandy is well-known in the automotive community for her knowledge of the industry at the consumer level and her writing ability. And if you follow her on Twitter(@FiestaGrrl), it won’t take long for her passion (especially the one for her Ford Fiesta) to shine through.In the following guest post from my friend and fellow car gal explains how women should do their homework prior to stepping foot on the dealership lot. Her advice here mirrors much of what Best Cars Guide has to say – that’s why you will want to pay attention to what Brandy’s written.Enjoy!
Shopping tips for women: How to get a great deal on your next car
Face it, NOBODY loves shopping for a new car: those salesmen don’t have the best reputation for their sales techniques, and we women don’t want to spend hours in the dealership haggling over our next new car.For most people, the thought of entering a dealership to negotiate a new-car purchase can be extremely intimidating. But the truth is: Buying a new car can be easy if you make sure you’re prepared before you ever enter the dealership. Information is power and informed shoppers can save as much as 30 percent off their bottom line!
Essential tips when shopping for your next car
Don’t “shop” at the dealership – do your shopping online ahead of time. To be a smart buyer you must learn as much information about the vehicle you want — before you ever enter the dealership.
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Whether you’re buying a comfortable and affordable Ford Fiesta (like the one I own) or putting a deposit down on a sporty, high-performance Porsche Panamera (like the one I wish to own), research its accessories, features, and trim levels ahead of time, so you know what features interest you, and which ones you would not pay extra for. Nearly every manufacturer offers a website with comprehensive specifications on their vehicles, and most of them allow shoppers to build a model online so they can compare trims and features.
Be sure to visit the manufacturer’s website so you can learn what is included in each trim level, and what other extras add to the cost of the car. The car buying website I work for, TrueCar.com, also offers a vehicle configurator to help you choose features and discover how those additions can affect your vehicle’s price.
Know what you can afford
Know your budget before you fall in love with a vehicle you can’t afford. Even honest car salespeople are paid on commission, and will try upsell you if they can. If you’ve got good credit, financing a car will cost about $20 a month for 60 months for every $1000 financed. Have a budget and a term length in mind, so you don’t get stuck with expensive monthly payments for the next six (or more!) years.
Know the incentives
Practically every manufacturer offers discounted finance rates, cash-back rebates, and model-year incentives to help clear aging vehicles from their lots. Search online to find out what’s available from your local manufacturers before you head to the lot because these incentives could help you save a significant amount on your purchase. Beyond the incentives they advertise, most manufacturers also offer special incentives to give discounts to specific demographics: Are you a recently graduated college student? A member of the military? A conquest purchase? A repeat buyer? Look for niche programs that can benefit you.
After you’ve done your research and have found the car you want and can afford, it’s time to visit a dealership. Before you go in, it’s important to be armed with the proper pricing information to help you get the best deal possible. You may want to obtain an upfront vehicle pricing report from TrueCar.com that guarantees a fair market price in writing.
Don’t get emotional!
There is no such thing as “now or never.” New cars are commodities, and the same car can very likely be found on another dealer’s lot. If you don’t think you’re being treated well, it’s okay to leave and find another dealer. Understand: the dealer needs to cover his costs and pay the salesperson’s commission, but if they’re not being fair to you, you will most certainly find another car on another lot on another day.
With more than 25 years in the automotive industry, Brandy Schaffels is currently the Senior Editor at TrueCar.com. She offers additional tips to help you at the dealership here.