Buying a new
car is a daunting experience even for those who've done it before but for
the novice, it can be hellish. Tales of demonic salesmen ready to strip you
of your last penny and sell you something that should have been condemned
last decade swim around in your head, made worse by the fact that once on
the forecourt, they watch you with the intensity of a spider eyeing up its
But buying a new car needn't be quite so scary as people make out. If you go
in forewarned and forearmed, you could not only come away with the car of
your dreams, but at a possibly lower price than the salesmen wanted to sell
The first thing to do is decide on a budget, and stick to it. Next, think
about what car you'd like, and what you'll be using it for. You may fancy
the latest sporty little number, but if you're going to be needing to taxi
your offspring and their friends around, a nippy 2 seater wouldn't be very
practical. So make a list of everything you want in a car, and try to decide
on a model which would be suitable for all.
Next, find out what car insurance group your potential car falls into. While
this won't give you exact price, it will give you an idea of how much you
can expect to pay. Find out the group of your current car too, so you'll be
able to predict whether the new car will cost more or less (remember, 1 is
the lowest group and 20 is the highest).
Do your research. Get on the internet and find a preliminary
car insurance quote for your chosen car. If you find the premium too
high, you may need to think about going for a different, possibly smaller,
model which will give you
cheap car insurance without compromising on your needs.
Once you've figured out how much you can reasonably afford, head down to the
dealership. Tell them exactly what model you want, and if they try to steer
you towards something else, walk away. The trick is to be firm. Salesmen are
used to getting the upper hand, but remember, they need your business. You
don't need theirs.
Inspect the car thoroughly and ask lots of questions, but try not to appear
too enthusiastic. Casually ask about a test drive, but remain calm and cool.
If they think you're not overly bothered, they're more likely to offer
discounts just to get your business. But let them know that you are a
serious buyer otherwise they may not bother with you.
If there are several dealerships with the model you'd like, donít be afraid
to play them off against each other. Get a quote from each, then give them
all a chance to beat the lowest quote. The chances are they'll be wanting
your business so much they'll miraculously be able to knock a couple of
hundred off the asking price.
Once you've settled on a price, you're ready to sort out the financing
option. Donít sign anything without fully reading it first. The salesmen
hate this, but don't be put off by sighing, tapping of feet and pointedly
looking at watches. If necessary, ask to sit in private or even take the
contract home for thorough perusal before signing. Don't be afraid to query
anything you're unsure of. It's been known for an unscrupulous salesman to
add something extra onto the contract just before signing, which could end
up costing you quite a bit extra, so sign it and date it as soon as you're
happy with it.
One more thing: Once you've decided on a model, take out your new
car insurance policy to start on the day of purchase, then you'll be
covered from the moment you leave the forecourt. Some new cars come with
free insurance for a set period, so find out if this is included in your
package, and make sure the dealership hasn't bumped the price up to reflect
the Author: J Tillotson
is a financial author based in the UK