Can't seem to negotiate car deals

Jan 29, 2018 52 Comments

Hi all,

I've been hunting for cars since November, but I really haven't been able to negotiate a good deal on either new or used cars. I've tried meeting lots of dealers from Bellevue, Kirkland, Auburn and Renton, but no one even seems to budge, even when I try common tactics like comparing between dealers or offering to buy on spot.

I am not trying to low-ball dealers, but I at least want a decent deal like what many others seem to be getting (especially on 2017 models!). I don't want to be that guy who paid $2k more for the same car!

For context, I'm looking at sedans around $20k. Can y'all share some good deals you have got, and how you went about it?

I'm half inclined to just end this frustration by paying up the internet price they quote. In fact I wouldn't mind paying the same, if everyone had transparent prices


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TOP 52 Comments
  • Microsoft Fjord25
    Tip : wait for the end of a month, or if possible, a quarter. That is when sellers are the most flexible!
    Jan 29, 2018 3
    • Amazon PosixGroup
      Because the car dealers need to meet their monthly/quarterly targets. Hence they are willing to lower the price more. They don’t want to lose a sale of $20k for petty negotiations
      Jan 29, 2018
    • Microsoft qvAO22
      Cool thx makes sense
      Jan 29, 2018
  • Facebook Bikke
    Travel 50-100 miles outside , end of month and you will get a better deal.
    Jan 29, 2018 0
  • Amazon / Eng Boooo
    The best thing you can do is drive to Everett and other far places to get one.

    The stealerships in Seattle, Eastside get too much free money thrown at them to care about cutting deals.

    Heck, if it's a new car, buy one online in Portland and drive it up. (Edited cuZ I love Portland :))
    Jan 29, 2018 3
    • Amazon / Eng

      Amazon Eng

      Brb bio.
      Fuck your north up patriarchy.
      Jan 29, 2018
    • eBay eBæ
      Jan 29, 2018
  • Microsoft EZ123456
    Just use Costco. Good simple price. May not be the absolute best but pretty decent.
    Jan 29, 2018 1
    • Salesforce / Eng 🐙y.
      I remember that prime card pricing was about 300 below Costco's. This was a few years ago.
      Jan 29, 2018
  • Microsoft HAL905
    $20k sedan has low margin from the start and you want to lowball them in a booming economy. And then you’re surprised at your lack of success. Dipshit.
    Jan 29, 2018 1
    • Amazon / Eng Whaatata
      i feel your sentiment...but chillax~be happy
      Jan 29, 2018
  • Adobe rokY17
    First step - go to true car , see the factory invoice price.
    Second step - go towards the end of the quarter and ask for that price
    Third step - profit 🎉
    Jan 29, 2018 4
    • Microsoft HAL905
      Oh I agree. The scam is that people think they see the invoice and that’s the dealer price. It’s not. But most dealers make their money out of the service department not new car sales. Which is why trying to squeeze the lowest price out of the dealer is a lost cause. Especially in a booming Seattle economy
      Jan 29, 2018
    • Capital One GEVB77
      Agreed there.
      Jan 29, 2018
  • Microsoft lzmz70
    Washington is not the best state to buy cars particularly used cars, I would recommend to extend search to portland area. I bought my car in bay area, the same car costs 10% higher with more miles in seattle area
    Jan 29, 2018 2
    • Microsoft HAL905
      I had the exact opposite experience. Seattle had the best price for the used car I had in mind. But otherwise great advice. Look in major metro areas that you can drive back from. Some cars are thousands cheaper elsewhere.
      Jan 29, 2018
    • eBay eBæ
      I think this is because stealer ships advertise their bait car in a close market then try to upsale once you drive all the way there. We got a great deal on a car near Seattle, we're in Portland and it was the obviously bait car, but I printed the ad and when I showed up with it they were pissed and said they didn't have it anymore, but i pushed back and said it was just listed today. They eventually found it still th back of the lot. I got the car for a good 7k off anywhere else I could find.
      Jan 29, 2018
  • my friend got an accord 2018 sport this week for 22800. its a lot less than true car or kelly blue book so dont trust these blindly
    Jan 29, 2018 1
    • VMware / Sales RG1ute
      Yes, the highest volume cars can be had in large metro areas under invoice. There were dealers in LA which would advertise "every Camry LE" at a specific under invoice price and make their money on the rebates and volume.
      Jan 29, 2018
  • Synopsys / Eng

    Synopsys Eng

    Phd. Comp engg. 10 years work exp.
    If you are on the verge of just giving in and buying with whatever they are giving, I would suggest go through Costco. It will probably be cheaper with zero hassle. After trying for 3 weeks to reduce car prices on my own dealing with dealers, I found out that Costco price was around 350 more than what I paid. I would any day trade 350 bucks for 3 weeks of my time.
    Jan 29, 2018 1
    • Oracle b86zi0n
      Costco sells cars? Or has some membership advantages for buying a car? Any information or links is appreciated! TIA
      Jan 30, 2018
  • Capital One GEVB77
    Buying end of month often helps. Buying at end of model year helps a lot more as dealers and manufacturers are trying to clear out the prior model year so the manufacturers are offering incentives and the dealers are discounting deeper. Different models cycle at different times of the year but you’ll usually be able to find some media publication to tell you when it will happen... bad news for you I think most already have.

    Some makes and models are rarely discounted and others are frequent. Some categories (i.e. SUVs) fluctuate with the economy and gas prices.

    I usually look at a few classified sites and identify a list of candidates. Then, I check the dealer’s website to see if the car is there and what price it is (prices might differ across sites). Then, I call dealers from the narrowed list and say “if I came in and bought today, what price would you offer.” If they ask if I’m shopping around, I say yes but otherwise it’s just implied and they know.

    Keep in mind that the margin dealers make on cars really isn’t that great compared to most industries and they’re just trying to make money... some of them are more honest than others but not all of them are as bad as they have a reputation to be.

    Also, a few additional things...
    1) someone mentioned AutoNation above. They’re nationally overpriced and stack stuff into the deal that make it more expensive overall than other dealers.
    2) If you’re comfortable selling your car private party, you’ll get more for it but it takes more time and hassle. If you’re trading it in, use KBB Instant Cash Offer and CarMax appraisals as a starting point of negotiation with the dealer. If you get a tax benefit from trading your car in vs. selling it outright (I don’t recall if this is a state or national thing), do the math and know what your bottom line is of what you will accept to include your current car in the sale with the dealer you’re buying from vs. selling it later.
    3) Have a sizable down payment. Don’t be upside down. Don’t get stuck paying gap insurance.
    4) Extended warranties are usually silly to buy on new cars that are from reliable brands (Japanese and Korean, mostly).
    5) Line up financing offer(s) in advance so you have something to compare the dealer’s numbers to. If you have great credit, you will get close to or at the advertised rate from banks. Compare the advertised rates and be aware that some banks use a soft credit pull and some use a hard pull to give you the initial rate... the hard pull credit inquiry will ding your credit so if you’re going to do a hard pull, wait until the day or weekend that you buy and it won’t hurt you at the dealership from a credit rating standpoint.
    Jan 29, 2018 1
    • Capital One GEVB77
      Also, when you’re actually at the dealership, your biggest negotiation tool is getting up and walking out.

      Regarding lease returns/used cars being dramatically cheaper at times, sometimes this is true and sometimes not. Some cars hold their value so well used that buying new is $1000 or less difference vs. low mileage used. Do your homework.
      Jan 29, 2018


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