Last time, we left off right at the point of test driving a new car. Typically, a sales associate will ask you to sign a test drive agreement as well as provide a copy of your driver’s license. This may frighten some buyers into thinking that the dealership is already collecting private information or even attempting to check out their credit history. But don’t fret! Reputable dealers only collect this information for insurance and liability purposes, that’s all. With the necessary information collected, the test drive begins!
Some sales consultants simply ride along during the test drive, making themselves available to answer any questions along the drive. Other consultants actually drive the customer around first in order to demonstrate the features before placing the customer in the driver’s seat. Whichever the case, your sales consultant should be attentive, providing the information you request in a straightforward manner. During your drive, get a feel for the car, the performance of the engine, the handling experience, the cabin space, the location of door locks, power window and climate controls, seat and stereo functions. Do these features meet your needs and expectations? Is the cabin space sufficient for your growing family? Does the vehicle handle curved and graded roads the way you expect? These questions and many others should be running through your mind throughout the entire test drive experience. Never hesitate to ask your sales consultant. If your consultant doesn’t know an answer, he or she can write your concerns down and find out back at the dealership.
So, the test drive went extremely well. You love the car and most everything about it.You had a few questions, but the sales consultant answered them to your satisfaction. Now the negotiation process begins! Typically, you’ll have a seat at the consultant’s desk while the consultant and manager begin the process of working the numbers for your new car. During this time, the manager researches available rebates and incentives in order to present the best asking price for the vehicle. Of course, if you are trading in a vehicle, your trade-in value will also be taken into consideration. The consultant should return to you with an asking price in hand.
A good sales consultant will fully explain the rebates, offers, and incentives as well as provide you a price for the vehicle. If you have questions at this point (and most people do) don’t be afraid to ask! Remember, it’s your money! You hold all the cards. If the asking price isn’t exactly where you need it to be, make a counter offer. Just remember that dealers make a very slim profit on new vehicles. While there may be some negotiating room, dealers typically have more space to deal when selling preowned vehicles.
Next the next installment, we’ll talk about how financing and leasing options work!
– Jason Boothe, M.Ed. is the Internet and Social Media Coordinator for Vallery Ford in Waverly, Ohio. He lives in southern Ohio with his wife and son.