Used Car Purchase – Negotiating/Haggling advice required.

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  • Used Car Purchase – Negotiating/Haggling advice required.
  • Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Basically, don't offer less than it's worth for you- never haggle yourself out of a purchase you actually want.But at the same time you have to be prepared to walk away, the best way not to have a bluff called is to not be bluffing. People think haggling's a drawnout process but the best buys I've ever made went like this:

    "Will you take X for it if I pay today?"
    "No, we can't take less than X+Y"
    "Oh, OK then, see you"
    "Wait…"

    The bottom line is the salesman's a professional and will be practiced at this stuff so if you can set an agenda that gets round that, it puts you on a more level playing field.

    On the other hand, I tried a blunt force approach on a car dealership a couple of months back, the seller responded "I know somewhere that they'll be more receptive to bargaining though." "Oh, cheers, where?" "Morocco"

    Premier Icon chrispalmr
    Subscriber

    Right then.

    Sydney III (don't ask), an ageing P-reg Saab 900, is to be retired to be replaced. Sydney IV will be 2005 (55 reg) with ~50K miles on for a little under £8K. Price to age to mileage ratio is consistent for this model/spec – so the question is how far can I push my luck in haggling and what should I prioritise? What's the best approach for the purchase? – straight up and keen or uncertain and needing convincing.

    Vendor is a national 'prestige' chain.

    I'm not expecting Part-Ex on the current as its now pretty tired at £160K with some obvious work required (albeit with T&T). It will be either going on fleabay or back to the local Saab specialist/breaker from whence it came 4 years ago.

    Servicing wise, I have an excellent relationship with aforementioned local Saab specialist (Volsaa in Derby – exceedingly highly recommended) so would be looking for them to do servicing.

    Any thoughts?

    Premier Icon CHB
    Subscriber

    You don't say the model, but second hand saabs are very cheap. 8k for a 5 year old one sounds very expensive. Best thing I do is search on autotrader and get a feel for what they go for. Also track a few on Ebay and find final selling price. That will give you a feel for the market.

    uplink
    Member

    Lead the salesman to believe you want to take their finance, he's more likely to come down more on the screen price

    Premier Icon steveh
    Subscriber

    Negotiating on cars always depends on the price the dealer has set against what the cars worth. For example some dealers puts a car up at £7k and others at £6k. The one at £6k will give no you discount at all as thats what the car is worth whereas the dealer with the higher price will offer £1,000 off the price. Some people will only deal this way as they think they're getting a bargain.

    As above look on autotrader, pistonheads classifieds and ebay finished sales to get an idea what it's worth. Go in below this figure with a maximum you'll pay in mind and see what happens.

    Splash-man
    Member

    Lookn to have some extras thrown in such as servicing. This is of value to you but of lower value to the garage. A win-win.
    New tyres on the car as well ? Get them to fit them….

    Anyway surf_matt will be along in a mo….

    julianwilson
    Member

    Servicing wise, I have an excellent relationship with aforementioned local Saab specialist

    …so they already know you really really want a Saab? Perhaps you are looking elsewhere, or at different cars altogether, and may be less bothered about buying their saab from them for what they want? I suppose that depends on whether the person negotiating the sale is on his own comission or has the interests of the rest of the business (ie you will be using them for servicing etc).

    Surf-Mat
    Member

    Play at least three dealers off against each other. Make it look like its a tough choice between this and other examples. Saved us a lot on cars over the years.

    tron
    Member

    Learn how to spot panels that have been resprayed. 😆

    dooosuk
    Member

    julianwilson – Member

    Servicing wise, I have an excellent relationship with aforementioned local Saab specialist

    …so they already know you really really want a Saab? Perhaps you are looking elsewhere, or at different cars altogether, and may be less bothered about buying their saab from them for what they want? I suppose that depends on whether the person negotiating the sale is on his own comission or has the interests of the rest of the business (ie you will be using them for servicing etc).

    Wrong end of stick….he's not buying from the Saab specialist, just plans to take the new car, bought elsewhere, back there for servicing.

    julianwilson
    Member

    Wrong end of stick

    So I have 😳

    In which case their priority will simply be profit via high sale price, getting your car at px for next to nothing, finance package or 'warranty' which will be likely full of holes/exceptions and via a 3rd party. (So don't be too swayed by that unless you have a good old look at the small print).

    Anyone remember whether cash is better than debit card for that sort of money? I seem to remember someone saying on here that for legit prtoperly vat'd purchases, sometimes a big stack of cash is actually less profitable for the business to bank than a debit (not credit) card transaction.

    lalazar
    Member

    Agree with CHB does sound like a lot of money. Bear in mind your 900 was a proper Saab but most newer ones are glorified Vauxhalls.

    tron
    Member

    P reg 900 is one of the glorified Vauxhalls.

    TBH I always wanted an old 900, until I went in a colleague's one. Good seats, shame about the wheel well taking up the room you want for your feet 🙄

    highclimber
    Member

    point out all the things that are wrong with it, no matter how insignificant or small. when you go to talk about price mention these 'issues'.
    Go in with a figure thats about £500-750 below the asking price as this is usually the mark up on used cars. don't go in too high as you can't backtrack!

    The bottom line for any dealer (and the way they will pitch it to you) is the overall cost to change. In many cases a px (especially on an old banger) will be a pain to the dealer as they more than likely will not be able to flog it so have to get rid of it. This will either to be one of their "mate" dealers (the non franchised, bargain basement type) or it will be sent off to auction. If their local mate won't take it then the other options of getting rid of it cost them money. If they will take it don't expect much money at all for it. The px value and any discount they give you will be coming off the profit margin of the car. Which is better for you? Bigger cash discount or the convenience of getting rid of your old car? Also be prepared for them to try and recover profit through selling accessories (not a huge value), warranty (bigger markup) and finance (probably the biggest profit motive for them). Ultimately decide how much you are prepared to pay for the car and if you are happy, they meet it and the car has the necessary assurances you want then all should be happy. Also bear in mind the obvious in that there is a significant difference in price between the same car (make, model, age, mileage) sold through a dealership (they have overheads to pay, servicing and preparation costs, salesman's commission etc) so do not expect to pay private person price for the car at a dealership. Other commonly used tactic is to visit the dealership in the run up to the end of a month where they may be more open to a better deal just to close out bigger business for the month.

    Waderider
    Member

    The most important thing is to know the car model, and how to inspect cars in general. All used cars have faults, you need to find them. Aside from normal wear and tear, every thing you find should chip a few quid off.

    Go onto the forecourt with a target price to pay in mind, and slightly higher max you'll pay price in mind. Stick to it. You're already onto a loser because your original post sounds like you're already decided you're buying this car. There will be other cars of the model you want, don't be afraid to walk away.

    Any dealer shall have put at least 10% over what is a fair price for the motor on the sticker. If you can't get at least 10% off, walk.

    P.S. the worst place to buy a car is a large national chain. They need a big markup for all the infrastructure and marketing etc.

    Premier Icon chrispalmr
    Subscriber

    Cheers all,

    There's a lot of advice there! A few clarifications…

    I'm looking for a Saab 93 1.9TiD Vector 150 Sportwagon (that's a mouthfull!) – more of a 'proper' Saab than the GM900 I'm currently driving (noting that it is still GM, and does share platform with the Vectra). I'm a Saab man – what can I do?

    I've had a running search on eBay for the last 6 months, there's not much coming up to be honest. Autotrader lists 18 nationally that meet my criteria, with a shortlist of 3 within 35 mile radius (my starting point).

    Those three vary by 1yr in age, 30Kmiles and £500; the one I mentioned above sits in the middle (as it were). Other two dealers appear to be much smaller and less prestige – noting Waderider's comment above, this might be better. In reality this car would likely be the cheapest on the forecourt at the 'prestige' place and frankly I'm not looking to (indirectly) pay for a "relationship" or "experience" with the place; I just want to buy a car!

    I'd never intended PXing the current Saab, as BC noted above I'd probably have to pay them! In reality I might get a couple of hundred on eBay (Tax to Jan, MoT to May) but for simplicity the local specialist also breaks Saabs and will probably give me £50-£100 or so – it really doesn't owe me anything at this point!

    I was wondering about three things to aim for:
    1. Extras, probably decent heavy duty mats, boot liner, towball.
    2. Major service, MoT or possibly tyres, although as noted above my long term plan is my local specialist
    3. Cash in hand. 5-10% margin suggests something between £400-£800 should be the target?

    Premier Icon steveh
    Subscriber

    Waderider isn't right about 10% off or walk. As I said above it's all about the final price if that's the screen price or 50% off where they started it's irrelevant. Many garages now aren't budging from screen prices, the car supermarkets started it and now with internet national advertising so common place lots of smaller dealers do it to with a rock bottom screen price to get people interested.

    toys19
    Member

    The only way to negotiate is to be prepared to walk away, or at least do a good bluff. If you havent got much experience, practise in a few places where you know you wont actually buy..

    Trent Steel
    Member

    Spend alot of time with the car/salesman even if you have made your mind up, the longer he thinks you are on the hook the more interest he'll have in haggling the price so not to lose a sale. I find you have to go through all that pony first otherwise they aren't interested in haggling of the bat since its cost them no effort.

    Mintman
    Member

    Know what is important to you in the deal (as in your post above) and try to figure out what is important to them (cash, finance deal etc). Get something you want in return for something they want (unless you can get it for free I.e "if you tax and MOT it then I will take your finance deal". Know how much that car is worth to you and if you can't get it for that price then walk; there'll always be another opportunity.

    Surf-Mat – Member
    Play at least three dealers off against each other. Make it look like its a tough choice between this and other examples. Saved us a lot on cars over the years.

    That's certainly point number one, although two dealers may be OK.

    Second key point – know what the dealer bought it for. They will look to make minimum 10% margin, and they will have had to spend some money on it. Go to the Parker's website, put in the car details. The trade in price is probably about what they bought it for, so add 10% plus another few hundred for what they've done to it, and that's your target price

    toys19
    Member

    I find you have to go through all that pony first otherwise they aren't interested in haggling of the bat since its cost them no effort.

    This seems like a smart idea, get the salesman thinking about his commission, he's probably already spending it. Might also explain why some of my no nonsense approaches have failed miserably.

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    P reg 900 is one of the glorified Vauxhalls.

    Really?

    Premier Icon simon_g
    Subscriber

    A "good price" is one that you're willing to pay and that the seller is willing to let it go for. Don't be aiming for x% off the price just because you think you should be – if it's priced above others then worth offering less, but equally it could be very well priced and if you low-ball them and walk, someone else will be along tomorrow who buys it instead.

    Yes, there will potentially be others out there but you have to factor in the cost and time to travel to see them. Save yourself a few hundred miles of fuel and wasted afternoons looking at cars instead of riding and it's easy to justify spending a little more on the one right in front of you.

    ScottChegg
    Member

    Don't say "what's your best price"; It shows you as an amateur negotiator. Only clots say that because they've heard that's what you do.

    Make an offer, if he doesn't accept be prepared to walk away. Unless he counters. It's not hard, just don't pay more than you want.

    Premier Icon CHB
    Subscriber

    Building on what ScottChegg said. I have had a lot of success buying cars privately by asking "How much were you really hoping to get?".
    Everyone who sells privately expects to haggle down. Asking this question quickly gets rid of the 5-10%.
    Guage how much to offer from their response.
    Also, don't make an offer until you have to.
    As soon as you make an offer then you have just defined THE LEAST you are going to pay. Letting the seller come up with the numbers keeps them working. If you give them a figure then the game changes and it becomes a tug of war between your number and theirs.

    I love buying cars.

    Premier Icon 2unfit2ride
    Subscriber

    My best advice is to keep it friendly, if you don't then expect to get nowhere or get ejected from the showroom at worst.
    Oh & FFS don't walk in with a check list & a copy of Parkers guide rolled up in your pocket, you really don't want to deal with a defensive salesman. Also it was said above about pointing out every fault on a car, fine to say there are a few marks on it, but rubbing your finger on every stonechip for 10 minutes on a 8 year old car won't make them go away, if you want a new car then just go and buy a new car, don't make yourself look like a prat 😉

    Premier Icon CHB
    Subscriber

    Totally agree with 2unfit.
    Keep it friendly and don't let the numbers be used in a confrontational way. If the seller thinks you are OK then they are likely to shift. If you are a to$$er then they will take pleasure in seeing you walk.

    Premier Icon LimboJimbo
    Subscriber

    The 10% rule is indeed utter rubbish and punters have a tendency to walk away from really nice cars just because they can't get the 'deal' their mate/father in law/Parkers tell them they should be getting. It's far more important to check the service history of the car as that is a really good indication of how a car has been looked after.
    What sort of discount you will get will depend on on what time of the month it is, how long the car has been in stock, how well the car has been bought and whether or not they are popular or scarce. I would be deeply suspicious of any dealer that entertained an offer as low as 10% on anything, as that would indicate the car was way over priced to begin with or there was a very good reason the dealer wanted rid of it.
    Lastly, your approach is essential. Be firm but be nice. Every car salesman expects a bit of a haggle, but walking in to a dealer with a sense of entitlement and a clever-dick attitude will probably lead to you being treated in much the same way.

    Premier Icon 2unfit2ride
    Subscriber

    My biggest bugbear (no no) on a car is cheap/mismatched tyres, it could well be the case that the right tyre was not available when you needed them (as increasingly becoming the case) but different make cheap shite tyres, often on the same axle, just screams cheap owner, I would just walk from any car like that. Seeing a decent set of matching half worn Mitch/Conti/Pirreli tyres on a car says the owner cared about the car & didn't just keep it on the road.
    A deeper insight that I shouldn't of given away, but I just have, so don't tell anyone…

    Cheers.

    higgo
    Member

    P reg 900 is one of the glorified Vauxhalls.

    Really?

    Yes.
    As I understand it the NG900 was put together fairly quickly on a Cavalier shortly after GM took over Saab. The first 9-3 (same shape as the NG900) was based on a Calibra (itself and improved Cavalier) but importantly Saab had more time to work on it. The current 9-3 shares a platform with the Vectra but has significant differences, specifically the self-steering rear suspension.

    I've had an NG900 and have got an 'old' 9-3 and can tell you that there's a marked difference in handling. Pushed hard into a corner, you could feel the 900 twist in the middle with the front and rear of the car making their own way round the bend. If the 9-3 had failed its MOT today as badly as I expected it to, I'd be shopping for one of the current shape ones tomorrow. As it is, £100 will get me another year out of it but then it's going.

    I'm a Saab man – what can I do?

    Me too.

    M6TTF
    Member

    the margin in some secondhand cars is miniscule these days. The secondhand market is really strong in the current climate. People have less to spend, you'll get a great deal on new though. My wife has access to dealer systems through work, so she can tell me what it owes them, how low they'll go etc. I'm looking for a car ATM too and was interested in a Golf GTi – it had £1, yes £1 in it 🙁

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    the NG900 was put together fairly quickly on a Cavalier

    You say that like it's a bad thing.

    Premier Icon chrispalmr
    Subscriber

    Thanks for all the feedback chaps – all very useful.

    I’m seeing a car this weekend (taken that it’s still available at that point) which ticks the boxes (not the one noted above, that’s gone). As a continuation of the question, what is reasonable to expect by way of warranty from an independent specialist on an £8K car? I’m not expecting the earth, but if it fell apart on the way home, I’d be a little miffed!

    Thanks again

    Chris

    Premier Icon 2unfit2ride
    Subscriber

    Minimum is 3 months, but TBH if you take a car dealer to the small claims court then IME you will win.
    HTH.

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