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Tips 1-5

  • Get the best deals
  • Understand how dealers work
  • 10 ways to beat the dealer
Words ByWhat Car? Staff

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Car dealers speak a different language when theyre trying to sell you a car. Heres what theyre really saying and how to avoid their traps.

Negotiating a discount on a new car can be daunting, but if every new car buyer in 2011 had got the seller to match the What Car? Target Price, they would have saved a collective 3.7 billion.

With an average saving of around 2000 per car, the Target Price should be the minimum discount you aim for; its often possible to get even more off the list price by using our insider information on the hottest showroom deals out there.

Our mystery shoppers visit hundreds of dealers every month to haggle fantastic savings on every model so you can bag a bargain every time you buy.

However, its the salesmans job to do everything in his power to sell your new car to you at the highest possible price. Here are 10 tricks he may play, together with details on how to beat them.

1 Getting you to reveal your budget
The trick The dealer will ask you to reveal your new-car budget and then choose a car for you that maximises his profit margin while meeting your budget.
Beat it A car chosen by the dealer might fall short of what you really want, so dont reveal your budget. Focus on the car you really want and force the salesman to discount.

2 Pleading poverty
(part 1)

The trick The dealer claims that the cost of a manufacturer cash incentive comes out of his profit margin, preventing him from offering any further discount.
Beat it In most cases this is untrue, and the dealer is able to offer his own discount in addition to the manufacturers cash incentive.

3 Pleading poverty
(part 2)

The trick Salesmen sometimes claim that the cost of finance incentives, such as the current 0% APR hire purchase deal on Peugeot 3008 models, affects their profit margins, preventing them from offering any additional savings.
Beat it As with cash incentives, this is mostly untrue. Salesmen can usually offer a dealer discount in addition to the manufacturers finance incentive.

4 The hidden extras
The trick Car prices and finance quotes often include unwanted extras such as credit insurance, GAP insurance and paint treatments, with the dealer only revealing the detail covered by the quote once youve agreed to the deal. This is intended to stop you from objecting to the extras based on cost.
Beat it Make sure you check exactly whats included in any quote before agreeing to it.

5 Dealing face-to-face
The trick Dealers often claim they cant give you a firm quote over the telephone because theyre FSA-registered and must go through certain processes with you in person before quoting prices.
Beat it FSA rules apply only if you are interested in buying an insurance-based product such as credit or GAP insurance. Tell the salesman youre interested only in the car deal price so theres no need for him to complete an FSA demands-and-needs statement.