The best time of year to buy a car


Car ?For Sale?

Which? has revealed that if you want to snap up a cheaper car, then now is the time to be looking. Their experts say that at this point, salespeople are under pressure to meet sales targets at the end of the toughest quarter of the year. If they are chasing sales, then it could be your opportunity to bag a bargain.

So how can you get the best deal?

Timing is a vital part of the process, so armed with the fact that the salespeople need to make a fast sale, you should be able to negotiate a discount. However, you also need a few other tricks up your sleeve for the best deals.

Your work starts long before you reach the car dealership. You need to ignore the price on the forecourt and do some serious online research to work out what models you are interested in, and what the going rate is for them. Check out other dealerships and pricing guides. This will give you a rough ballpark. You can use this to set the absolute maximum you will be prepared to pay for the car.

Once you get to the dealership and you have taken your chosen car for a test drive, the haggling will start in earnest. You need to get the dealer to make the first move, as you don't want to risk going in too low and ruling yourself out as a chancer - or too high and overpaying. Ask what the fleet price is on the car - or what kinds of discounts they are offering.

Pushing the price down

To draw the price down you can use the fruits of your research, and quote prices you have seen elsewhere. It's also worth mentioning a reputable pricing guide to show you are not to be taken for a ride.

As you go backwards and forwards on price, remember that it's not your job to make friends with the dealer or make the process pleasant. Stay professional, but don't try to be too matey or they will use this against you.

Last-ditch efforts

If you grind to a halt you can leave the sales cubicle, or even the forecourt, and let them know you are considering walking away. The only proviso is that you have to be prepared to actually walk away if they call your bluff, so only do this if there's no chance at all you will buy for the price they have set.

Once you feel as if you are approaching a deal, it's worth naming your final price, and reaching in to shake their hand. This can often be the psychological tool you need to get them to deal.

Unfortunately, of course, it doesn't always go as well as you had hoped, and you will end up with a final offer that's slightly adrift of your absolute maximum. At this stage you have the two options: you can walk away and try your luck elsewhere, or you can work on the extras so you get more for your money.

On a new car you could ask for more extras. On a second-hand car if the MOT, a service, or the car tax are due soon, you could ask for them to be sorted before you take the car. If there are minor dings the dealership will often agree to knock them out or repaint scrapes to seal the deal.