How to Buy a Cheap New Car (Tip 10 of 10)

TIP 10: Dealership dirty tricks

When you visit a new car dealer, here’s the basic position: the dealership staff are used to selling cars (you probably buy one every few years, at best), the dealership is used to negotiating over money (you’re probably not), the dealership staff know whether they’re under pressure to make a few extra sales that month (you don’t). They’re match fit; you’re not.

The bottom line here is that all car dealers aren’t liars – far from it. But you would be a mug to assume everything they say is entirely truthful. Many sttements made by dealers are not likely to be in your best interests.

In commercial dealings, sellers want to achieve the highest possible price. Buyers want to achieve the lowest. Hopefully you meet somewhere in the middle.

To this end, you should follow the 10 tips in this section. But you should be aware of some of the more obvious inducements dangled in front of intending buyers.


If a dealer salesperson ever says to you words to the effect of ‘I can only sell it to you at this price today (or right now)’ you know he’s lying. There’s no real reason the same offer on the same car can’t be repeated tomorrow, or next week. This is a simple piece of leverage designed to motivate you not to leave and possibly shop elsewhere.


Salespeople generally lead you to believe that they’re not authorized to drop the price as low as you’ve proposed. You’re told only the sales manager can authorize such a low price. You’re led to believe this is happening in the interests of securing you the lowest possible price. Stop right there – the lie detector’s going nuts. No dealership wants to give you the lowest possible price. No salesman wants this. They want the opposite. They want as much of your money as you will give them. The sales manager is not coming out to help you; he’s coming out to talk the price up. So it can be two against one (or two on two, if you’re shopping as a couple). Stick to your guns. (I’ve done exactly this on national TV, wearing a hidden camera. It works. I even got the death threats to prove it.)


Trust me: you don’t need the window tinting (at least not at the highway robbery pricing dealerships charge), the rustproofing (modern cars are already quite rustproof), the paint protection (the paint is already protected). Et cetera.

One of the things about modern car dealerships is that the recent global financial crisis taught them that ‘ancilliary business’ is vital to ensuring profitability. It’s no good negotiating $1000 off the price and then spending $2000 on stuff like paint protection, rustproofing and overpriced tinting – none of which you really need.

Remember – your over-arching objective is the lowest possible price. The dealer’s is the highest price. You don’t need to do all the compromising. You might have to do some. Above all, do not become emotionally invested in a particular car at a particular dealership. If the deal doesn’t seem 100 per cent on the money, walk away. Leave, collect your thoughts and reconsider. You can always return later. You should, however, shop at (at least) the closest three dealerships. Don’t be afraid to pitch a low price at a new car dealer. They won’t be offended. They can always say ‘no’ or make you a counter-offer. However, if the dealership’s under a bit of financial pressure and the timing is right they might just say ‘yes’.

Lastly, if you get an unqualified ‘yes’ in this situation, don’t feel guilty – not even for a moment. If the dealership is under pressure and they need that sale, you are absolutely doing them (and yourself) a favour by giving them one.