Since used car shopping at a dealership can be an intimidating experience, especially since you are on the sales team’s turf, we should all take as much advice on used car shopping that we can get. Investing Answers has put out a reminder of one simple trick for how to outsmart a used car salesman. It all comes down to showing the salesman that y0u have some knowledge of how their business works:
You simply can’t know if you’re inheriting somebody else’s imminent big repair job. That’s why car dealers typically charge around $2,000 more for a used car than what private sellers look to charge. They are offering peace of mind. But what do you get for that $2,000? A car that has been washed and waxed. If you pay up for a certified pre-owned car from a dealer, expect to pay even more.
Those insulting dealer mark-ups for used cars are even more egregious when you find out that they got the cars for very low prices as trade-ins, sometimes thousands less than what a consumer could have gotten if they bothered to sell the car on their own. So the profit for these used cars for dealers is often well more than the $2,000 noted above.
But you can try to use that knowledge to your benefit — once you realize that a lot of new car dealers don’t really like a lot of used cars sitting on their lots. Why not lowball them?
A sample pitch that only takes 10 seconds of your time: “I realize that you only paid $6,000 for that $9,000 2005 Toyota Camry on your lot, and I’d like to give you a tidy $1,500 profit by paying $7,500.” You’d be surprised at how often this works.
Here’s how to do it: Find a good-condition used car that seems to hold up well in a leisurely road test, then take it to your trusted mechanic. They’ll charge you around $150 to go over the vehicle in very close detail, and if they do spot problems, you can simply walk away from the deal. (If the used car seller balks at a request to have the car inspected, say adios.)
Basically, the best way to go about used car shopping at a dealership is to act with confidence. The article brings up another good point for car shoppers in that brands that have been discontinued (Pontiac, Saturn, etc.) can be had for much less than similar rivals, even though they’re fine cars and often share parts with brands that are still being produced. It might be time, then, to have a cherry Pontiac for the price of a mediocre Ford.
To read the full story, click here.