Negotiating Car Price

How to Negotiate
With Car Dealers to WIN!

5 Keys to negotiating car price like a master negotiator. Learn how to negotiate with car dealers to MAXimize your savings!

Negotiating car price stirs up many emotions with different people. Some are scared, some enjoy the challenge and others just find it an annoying part of the car buying process.

No matter your feelings, the following five keys to negotiating will teach you how to negotiate with car dealers just like the most successful car buyers do.

Here's what's covered below:

  1. Competition
  2. Go Prepared
  3. Have a Strategy
  4. Patience is a Virtue
  5. Stubborn Like a Mule


Competition is key to negotiating car price! With this one step alone you can save thousands before you ever step foot on the car dealers lot. In fact, you can save thousands before you even leave the comfort of your home.

The Internet is your friend if you are a car buyer and it's in your best interest to use it to your advantage. Making dealers compete against each other is great for both the hardcore negotiators and those of you that hate to negotiate.

Hardcore negotiators that want to squeeze every penny of profit out of the deal will find that competition will quickly get all of those "fluff" profits out of the way.

It's also great if you hate to negotiate, but want to make sure you are not paying full retail and want to save a bundle of money without hours of negotiating car price.

Dealers understand when you inquire about the price of a vehicle online that you are probably getting quotes for the exact same vehicle (new cars) or vehicles very similar (used cars) from 1, 2, 3, 4 or even more dealers.

They know that if they are not giving you a very competitive price, or for that matter rock bottom price, right upfront that their chances of getting and keeping your attention are slim to none.

Watch hundreds, even thousands of dollars shed right off the asking price in a matter of seconds. See for yourself, get competing quotes from dealers in your local area fast and free with! It's amazing how much you can save with almost no work.

More Savings

Car dealers don't just profit from the sale of the car. They will also profit from your financing. It's in your best interest to shop finance rates prior to going to the dealership.

Not only does arranging your own financing cut out their profits from your loan, but it has the added negotiating benefit of allowing you to "buy like a cash buyer."

The ability to buy like a cash buyer is a very powerful strategy for negotiating car price. The ability to tell them that you are paying cash and want the best price, gets them away from trying to negotiate monthly payments (which is how they usually win negotiations) and forces them to focus on lowering the sales price.

Apply with and once you're approved, they will issue you a Drive Check, which you use just like a personal check at the dealership.


Go Prepared

If you followed the tips for negotiating car price above, then you've already begun to prepare. You've now contacted some dealers, gotten approved for a loan and already saved yourself hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

Ready to try and save some more? Great! Let's now research new car invoices and used car values.

For new car invoices check out and for used car values, you can use Kelley Blue Book.

FYI: To figure the "used car invoice" simply add the trade in value and private party value, then divide by two to get a rough estimation of what the dealer owns the car for. This is not an exact science, but more often than not you'll be right in the ballpark.

You'll also want to look up the trade in value for your trade in if you have one.

In all the research you do, be sure to print anything that looks like it may be of value...Rebates, used car values, other dealers quotes, etc.

Once you gather all this information it's time to plan your strategy for negotiating car price...


Have a Strategy

Now that you've gathered up all the information you'll need, it's time to plan your strategy. The strategy you use when negotiating car price will depend on you and your goals.

If you want to get out of there fast and not pay full retail, then the actions you took in the competition step above could be all that you need to do. You'd be surprised at how much that can save you.

If you want to grind them and know that you got the absolute best deal possible, then you're going to want to take a minute and plan your strategy. Here are some scenarios for negotiating new car price with a trade and the likely outcome:

  • Buy for under invoice and get full retail for your trade.

    Not gonna' happen!

  • Buy under invoice and get private party value for your trade.

    Very, very rarely. Worth a shot if you really want to grind 'em!

  • Buy under invoice and get trade in value.

    Much more likely, but it will take some time.

  • Buy for invoice and get trade in value.

    Likely for new domestic vehicles, but harder for new import vehicles.

  • Buy for $500 over invoice and get trade in value.

    Done! High demand vehicles might be an exception though.

Now some examples for negotiating used car price with a trade in (remember used car invoice "wholesale" is roughly the average of trade in value and private party value):

  • Buy for under wholesale and get full retail for your trade.

    Not gonna' happen!

  • Buy under wholesale and get private party value for your trade.

    Very, very rarely. Will only happen if a dealer really needs to sell the vehicle, i.e. cash flow, or it's been on the lot for a year and a half.

  • Buy under wholesale and get trade in value.

    Unlikely, but possible with a lot of your time and desperation on the dealers part.

  • Buy for wholesale and get trade in value.

    Getting warmer, but still a grind if it happens.

  • Buy for private party value and get trade in value.

    Done! High demand vehicles might be an exception.

Use those examples when you are figuring how to negotiate with car dealers and keep in mind that every dealer is different. Some might say yes to the craziest of offers for reasons that you simply couldn't know. On the other hand, some may be insulted by your offer and not take you seriously.


Patience is a Virtue

Rome wasn't built in a day and that smokin' hot, steal of a deal you're looking for won't just fall into your lap. If you are very aggressive when negotiating car price, then the dealer is going to make you work for it.

There will be a lot of back and forth with the car salesman going from you to the sales manager over and over and over again. Eventually you'll get to meet the sales manager and or other managers.

The process can drag on for quite awhile, but if you want that deal of the century you're going to have to be patient.


Stubborn Like a Mule

If you want to know how to negotiate with car dealers, then you've got to understand that you have to be more persistent and more stubborn than they are.

They are stubbornly trying to hold onto their profits and you will need to stubbornly try to separate them from their profits and save yourself a bundle in the process.

This is especially true if your offer is a fair one (see the examples above). If you are making an absolutely crazy offer, then they will eventually ask you to leave and you've just wasted your time.

If your offer is fair (can be a tough offer, but not totally outrageous) there is no reason not to stick to your guns and hold out for what you want. If negotiations go on for quite some time and the "closer" has already come out to talk to you and you still haven't gotten to your offer, then it's time to leave.

It's not literally time to leave, but let them know that's your intention. If they have anything left in the tank, you'll get the "just a minute, let's see if they give anymore" response and will probably then get their rock bottom price.

This is only effective after you've been negotiating for awhile. Do this too early and they'll still try to play the game with you.

If they don't say "just a minute, let's see if they give anymore," then you are probably already to their rock bottom price and the choice will be yours...Make a Good Buy or say Goodbye.


These five keys to negotiating car price have shown you what it takes to be a successful negotiator and how to negotiate with car dealers, now it's time to put what you've learned to good use. Start by getting your Free Price Quotes at and eliminate much of the haggling in mere seconds!

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