How to negotiate a car sale

Follow our simple haggling tips to make sure you get the car you want for the best possible price...

A buyer inspecting a car for sale at a dealership

Haggling over the price of a car could save you thousands of pounds, but not everyone is confident about asking for discounts, so here are a few simple pointers to help you become an effective negotiator and clinch a great deal.

Know the market

Whether you're buying new or used, it's vital you do your research up front. You need to decide on the car you want and how much you are willing to pay for it.

With used cars, find out what price similar cars are selling for. An easy way to do this is to check out the prices of cars being sold on the What Car? used car deals section. You could also use our valuation tool to find out how much a specific car should cost in a private sale, from a dealer and as a part-exchange. Once you've got all the information, note down the maximum price you're prepared to pay before getting in touch with the seller.

What Car? Valuations

If you're buying a new car, make sure you're aware of the What Car? Target Price before starting up negotiations with a salesperson. The Target Price is the maximum you should pay for your new car. It's a 'real' price that's being offered somewhere in the UK by a real dealer, and it's the maximum you'll pay if you buy via What Car?'s new car deals service.

Start at a low opening price

When buying a used car, start with an offer at the lower end of the range of prices you've found for other cars on the market. Then let the seller negotiate you up to a price you're both happy with.

If you're buying a new car from a dealer, it's worth remembering that many car industry sales targets are set on a monthly basis. The car you buy or don't buy could make or break that target. If you make your visit towards the end of the month, you will almost certainly find it easier to squeeze a bigger discount out of the dealer, in the form of either a reduced price or some optional extras added to the car for free.

Car dealership

Take the emotion out of the situation

You're talking to a car dealer in order to buy a car, not to make friends, and the dealer wants to get your sale. Adopt a professional approach, keep calm, be patient and wait for them to offer you their best deal. 

Never pay more than what you know is a fair price for a car, and don't be afraid to end negotiations if you can't reach a deal that makes you happy - there's always another car, and always another deal.

Don't haggle but still save money

If you're buying a new car, you can save thousands by buying through the What Car? new car deals service. The best part is that the Target Price discount has already been applied to the car so you won't have to haggle. 

When you're buying a used car, it's worth checking the used car deals section of our website. All the cars listed on it are sold with a warranty, are less than eight years old and have covered less than 100,000 miles. 

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