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To haggle or not to haggle? Tips on negotiating at the car dealership.

Last month, we talked about information that you should know when considering a car purchase (see "Car Buying 101," Shopsmart, October 2004), such as where to get pricing data and dealer invoice prices. Now, it's time to utilize your knowledge and chutzpah so that you can play "let's make a deal" with the salesperson. Some of you may not like to haggle, but if you're like most, you want to get the most for your money. If that's the case, take these negotiating tips with you.

STRATEGIZE THEN SIT DOWN

Be vague about your price range. Always negotiate up from the factory invoice price, not down from the sticker price, which is a higher price than the dealer expects you to pay. Start high enough to include a minimal profit for the dealer. A good initial offer can be $200 to $500 more than the invoice.

INSIDER'S TIP

Negotiate the cost of a trade-in after you have the lowest quote for the car in writing. The dealer might try to pressure you into dealing with the trade-in up front, but don't let him. Know the value of your trade-in by reading Edmunds.com Used Cars & Trucks Buyer's Guide (Edmunds Publications; $12.95). Don't forget to adjust for the condition of your vehicle, mileage, and options.

BUYER VS. DEALER GETTING THE BEST DEAL

Everyone doesn't have to haggle. One of the better known policies is Saturn's no-hassle, no-haggle sales policy. In fact, superstores such as AutoNation Inc. (www.autonation.com) tend to sell cars at fixed prices and can arrange financing and insurance on the spot. There's strength in numbers, so take someone with you if you're not comfortable With negotiating.

INSIDER'S TIP

Find out all of the fees up front including advertising fees, dealer preparation, and the destination charge. Hake sure that the fees are factored into the dealer's selling prices because they can cost you upwards of $1,000 or more. You can even request to see the factory invoice, which lists manufacturer-to-dealer incentives and rebates. Remember, you can always walk out if the dealer is not willing to meet your price.

CONSIDER PAYMENT

It's wise to get preapproved by a bank, credit union, lending or leasing institution, or auto club rather than the dealer. Often, you'll get a better annual percentage rate from those institutions. Also, the financing officer receives incentives by having you go through one of his lending institutions, Compare the lender's financing terms with the dealer's terms.

INSIDER'S TIP

Your credit determines the annual percentage rate or interest of your loan. It is true that you can still get a car with bad credit, good credit, or no credit at all, Jerry Cromwell, general manager of Koons Automotive, says that there's financing for everyone out there these days. "If you've got a job you can generally buy a car," he says. To figure out your payments, log on to www.bankrate.com and enter "calculator" in the search box.
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Title Annotation:Buying Power
Author:Jackson, Lee Anna
Publication:Black Enterprise
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2004
Words:494
Previous Article:The business traveler: taking advantage of bargains on the road.
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