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CHARLOTTE, N.C.– Remember how we used to buy a car, pre-pandemic? Besides the test drive, you would try to find out what the car really cost the dealer, and then make an offer under the sticker price. But those days are long gone, according to a report in the auto enthusiast site Jalopnik. The good old days of car buying, it says, ended sometime in the last two years.

Jalopnik’s Tom McParland said “these outdated car buying tips could hurt you in today’s crazy market,” when dealers have very few unsold cars on their lot.

Among the outdated tips:

“Focus on the invoice price” or what the dealer pays. That’s now me

aningless, because few cars sell below sticker price.

“Give the dealer your final price and walk away.” That no longer works, because they will often just sell it to the next person.

“Say no to extra fees,” such as for paint protection or reconditioning. Again, if you don’t want to pay that extra fee, someone else will.

So from the “doesn’t that stink” file, buyers are no longer in the drivers seat when it comes to negotiating for a new car. If you don’t like the price, there’s another buyer or two who will pay it. You do have one negotiating strength these days, however: The rising value of trade ins. Jalopnik said don’t wait until the very end to bring up your trade. That is really the only leverage you still have, so bring it up early. Know your car’s value, from a calculator on Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds, and demand top dollar.

Some analysts said we may never return to the days of full dealer lots and big discounts on new cars. You can read the full Jalopnik article HERE. So know the new rules, so you don’t waste your money.



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