Lowball first offer. Similar to the overly generous trade-in offer, a too-good-to-be-true price on the car you want to buy isn't that uncommon. As you rush to close the deal, however, the manager inevitably steps in and says that the price is too low. The dealership can't sell it to you at that price because it would "lose money." Don't fall for it.
If a salesperson has been at the dealership for any reasonable amount of time, he'll know what sort of deal will pass muster and what will get rejected. Simply tell him you understand, but that you'll need to find a deal that is better suited to your situation. Then get up and head for the door. If he capitulates, great. If not, keep walking.
Push you to pay more. Finally, be on the lookout for attempts to add extras to your purchase. Maybe salespeople will claim that the bank requires you buy a warranty before they'll approve the loan. Another tactic is to use your credit score as an excuse to get you into a ridiculously high-rate car loan. They may be right that your score won't get you the best interest rate, but it doesn't mean you have to take the worst.
Prepare for this tactic by knowing your credit score. You should also check with your local bank or credit union to see what sort of interest rate you can qualify for. Knowing these things in advance can help you evaluate any deal you come across.
Note from Nickel: My preference is to avoid the showroom entirely, and to negotiate the deal via email and/or fax. That way you can play dealerships against each other and find the bottom of the market without racing all over town. It also keeps you out of the sales office, so you avoid any shenanigans.
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Funny seeing all these comments in defense of dealership's dirty tactics.... lol@ 20 years ago and full disclosure....they are still scamming people any way they can. My girlfriend's transmission locked, and she opted to get a new vehicle. Her current vehicle wasn't quite paid off yet on top of being out a transmission so trade in was minimal..which was expected...I'd offered to put a $1,300 downpayment to help her out which I gave her. The dealer insisted that in order to get payments where she needed them, the previous car needed to be paid off so she could get maximum trade in value... so instead of getting that thirteen hundred off the top and out of the way on the price, she ended up with "maximum" trade in which was a whole $50 dollars more....it's not shady to scam consumers like this? really? My Father bought a van, brand new off the lot, less than two weeks it had engine trouble so he took it in so they could do repairs, they said it'd be in shop a week, he comes back in a week and oh they were broken into, and the van stolen.....come to find out dad was the third person they had sold that particular van to....and had sold it yet again....scam? no? and these were both from big name dealerships, not some used car lot. so don't be trying to dodge the bullet there. both of these in the last two years.
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