For a woman buying a car alone, the experience falls somewhere south of having a root canal on the pleasure scale. Female car buyers often have to endure a subtle – and sometimes not so subtle – discrimination. They find themselves being shown “cute” cars. Salespeople discuss the choice of paint colors rather than the gas mileage. At worst, women are asked if they want to wait for their husbands to arrive before making the big decision. So, how does a woman purchasing a car on her own defend against this sort of behavior? Education. Learn what you need to know before you head to the showroom.
First, decide on the car you want. Consider what you are looking for in a vehicle – size, style, and features. Use the websites of the major car manufacturers to “build” your dream car.
These programs will even given you the sticker price of your ideal vehicle. You can ignore this price during real negotiations, but you’ll have a idea of the general price range of the vehicle.
Still unsure about what you should buy? Look at car comparison websites such as Edmunds and NADA Guides that can help you compare cars side-by-side as well as offer reviews and guides for car buying.
Once you have found the perfect vehicle, it’s time to research the price. Using the internet, you can find out what the dealer’s invoice price is for your car. This is the price you want to work with, as it is the actual dealer cost.
In addition, check to see if there are any incentives available on the car. These can be incentives such as low-interest financing or cash back. There may also be incentives to the dealer from the manufacturer. That means that if the dealer sells a specific model, they receive a rebate. This means that a dealer can sell at or below invoice and still make a profit on the car.
Many websites will even give you information on actual selling prices of similar models in your area. By analyzing this information, you will be able to determine a reasonable sales price for the car you want.
Now that you have found your car and know how much you should reasonably pay, head out to the dealer. You can now negotiate effectively.
When you arrive, make it clear to the salesperson that you know exactly what you want and exactly how much you are willing to pay. In short, there should be very little negotiation. Make your offer and stand firm. You will likely get the usual, “I have to check with my sales manager” runaround.
If the dealer will not meet your price – which you know is reasonable – go to another dealer. In some cases, you can even get dealers to bid against each other. With a little homework beforehand and a little persistence at the dealership, you’ll have a better experience buying a car.