Consumer Reports

How to Negotiate The Price of Your Next Vehicle

NBCUniversal, Inc.

If you have your heart set on buying a new car this year, be prepared to pay significantly more.

Inflation, parts shortages, and a recovering economy have caused prices to skyrocket.

Consumer Reports has seen the Jeep Compass selling for 15% over the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), the Chevrolet Silverado 2500 17% more, and the 2021 Kia Telluride18% over. That means some shoppers are paying thousands of dollars more than the sticker price!

Consumer Reports says your best bet is to choose a model that isn’t in such high demand. And when you’re ready to go head-to-head with a salesperson at a dealership, be prepared to negotiate.

Let the salesperson know you have researched the transaction price for the car and trim level you want. This means you know approximately what the dealer paid for it and you have already calculated what you’re prepared to pay.

If the salesperson can meet your target price, let him or her know you’ll be ready to buy immediately and if not, you intend to visit other dealerships.

The salesperson will try to keep the focus on your monthly payment but insist on negotiating one thing at a time. Only after you’ve locked in the price of your new car should you begin to discuss a trade-in or financing.

Speaking of trade-ins, because the used-car market is also tight, your older car will probably never be worth more than it is right now. There’s no reason a dealership shouldn’t give you at least its wholesale value for a trade-in allowance.

But if you are offered a price that’s in your target range, you should probably accept it because supplies continue to be low, and you might not find the car you want—or a better deal—at another dealership.

Consumer Reports says if the trade-in discussion becomes too burdensome but you’re not willing to pull out of the new-car deal, you can always sell the car elsewhere, including at online dealers like CarMax, Carvana, and Tred.

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