How to drive down the cost of a new motor

Haggling is a dying art, When this credit crunch hit we were all gung-ho for knocking something off the price. But as time has gone on retailers are taking increasingly desperate measures, and we have become pampered by automatic discounts and vouchers, so we don't have to make the effort.

But a new study shows that there are some places where haggling needs to be revived - and the car showroom is a prime contender.

According to Sainsbury's loans, there are 1.14 million people planning to buy a car between now and February, and 121,000 don't have any plans to haggle, at all. Presumably they think they are already getting a deal with scrappage. But this is far from the truth, because depending on the make and model you are after you could get a massive 50% off the list price. In fact, according to What Car? the average discount you should be aiming for on a brand new car is around £1,893.

Even among those who are managing a small spot of negotiation, the study found they don't go nearly far enough. Only 52% of those people buying a brand new car said that they would haggle 'very hard' or 'hard', compared to 67% in February 2009.

If its traditional British reserve holding you back, then the advice is to throw caution to the ind and get stuck in. But if you are stumped by a lack of technique, it's worth following a few tips.

Consider your timing. You can often pick up a good price on a new car just before the introduction of new registration plates as any cars left over from the previous new registration become less attractive.

Do your research into the model you're considering. When manufacturers are introducing a new model, you can sometimes pick up a great deal on the old version.

Be aware of the discounts you can obtain on the car you want. Having knowledge of these can be very useful when negotiating on price. The What Car? Target Price will show you the average discount that you should aim to achieve for a particular make of car.

If you can't get them to budge any further on price, ask about extras. Car dealers looking for a quick sale will sometimes throw in additional features that are not included as standard.

And of course there are the golden rules of any negotiation

Know what you want and the size of your budget and stick to it.

Keep your excitement in check. If you look too keen the car dealer may be less willing to negotiate on price. Make them think that you are prepared to walk away.

So do your research, make your decisions, and get haggling. You could stand to save thousands.
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