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7 Negotiating Tips for Buying a New Car

By: Stacy Yu

Many of us dread buying a new car.  Not for the price, but for the experience.  Purchasers often feel taken advantage of during the car buying process and many view negotiations as long, tedious, and unfair.  However, it doesn't have to be.  With good preparation and a solid understanding of your financing options, you can level the playing field when purchasing your next car.  Here's how:

1. Do Your Research

Do your homework before stepping into a showroom. Free online resources such as Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds.comprovide valuable information on fair market pricing, technical specifications, performance and customer reviews.  Educating yourself on the many details of the vehicle – and most importantly the market value of the car - can help you narrow down your vehicle selection and give you an edge during the negotiating process. 

2. Shop Online

Looking to avoid the negotiating process altogether? Try purchasing your car online.    At web-based auto malls such as, and, dealerships compete against each other for your business.  Online shoppers will often get prices below invoice.  However, as with any online shopping experience, it is always wise to act with caution prior to making any financial transactions.

3. Decide Add-on Features Before Walking Into the Showroom

While in the showroom, it's easy to get excited by the many slick add-on available for the vehicle base models. For dealerships, add-ons equal big bucks. Create a list of the auto features you need BEFORE entering a showroom for price negotiations. Having a list on hand will help you resist the urge to add on unnecessary bells and whistles, keeping you grounded during negotiations.

4. Buy at the End of the Month

Many dealerships receive monthly Dealer Cash rewards from automakers based on the number of sales of certain models made per month. As a result dealers have a large incentive to get as many cars off the lot as possible, especially towards the end of the month - even if that means dropping the price.

5. Trade-in Your Old Car

If replacing an older vehicle, trade in your old car to offset the cost of the new vehicle. For trade-in scenarios, be prepared for two separate negotiations. One negotiation for the car purchase, and one for the trade in value. To get the absolute best deal, consider completing the car purchase negotiation prior to negotiating the trade-in.

6. Know Your Financing Options
Before buying a car, examine your financing options. Getting pre-approved for an auto-loan is a great way to help you position yourself for the best deal possible.  Having a pre-approval helps set your financial boundaries during the negotiation and provides a solid interest rate number that can be compared with the dealership's financing options.  

To help you make the best financial decisions for your next auto purchase, MAFCU offers these free tools so can determine how much to spend on your next car.

7. Don't be Afraid to Walk

If things are not working in your favor during the price negotiation, don't be afraid to walk. There are many other dealerships that would love to have your business.  Saying no to the dealership may also encourage them to start seeing things your way.

SPECIAL AUTO DEAL FOR MAFCU MEMBERS!  MAFCU and EuroMotorcars Germantown have partnered to offer MAFCU Members special pricing on select models from Mercedes-Benz.  Offers, relative to dealer invoice, will vary each month to make sure you're getting the best pricing on the freshest models around.  For specific questions on vehicles, please contact Art Gerson at 301.601.5510.  For specific questions on vehicle financing contact MAFCU at 301.944.1730.

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