“As the buyer with money to spend you do have the upper hand in the deal and be firm, confident and equipped with as much research as possible.”
“If you feel the deal is not in your favor and you counteroffers are not being accepted, be prepared to walk or pull out quotes from other dealers for the same vehicle.”
If you are new to Canada and thinking about buying a new car, the Canadian auto market offers a massive range of different vehicles to suit every need. For a newcomer coming from a country with a smaller automobile market with a narrower choice, this can be daunting as you begin your search. However, considering a new car is the second most expensive purchase after buying a home it is worth doing extensive research to determine what kind of vehicle will suit your needs.
DO THE RESEARCH
Talk to the owners of vehicles you are interested in buying to get first-hand knowledge about the experience of owning a particular model. Do not be invested in brand loyalty too heavily as the quality gap between domestic and import brands have narrowed considerably.
There are dozens of car magazines to research and plenty of Canadian automotive websites that are full of reviews and road tests of all types of vehicles. Things to consider once you have defined the type, class and price range of the vehicle you are contemplating, is: how it compares to the competition, cost, performance, features, fuel economy, warranty, reliability, running costs deprecation and eventual resale value.
KNOW HOW THE PRICING SYSTEM WORKS Before you walk into a new car dealer, it is worth identifying some vital information so you can obtain the best price for your new vehicle
- M.S.R.P. – The Manufacturer’s suggested retail price, commonly known as the List price or “window sticker” is the price point new vehicle dealers work from. However, this is nearly always negotiable except in high demand cars that can sell more.
- Dealer invoice price – This is the actual price the dealer pays the manufacturer for the vehicle, and there is usually some variance in this. This margin is crucial as it tells the new car buyer how much profit the dealer can make on the sale of the particular vehicle.
- Rebates, Incentives and special offers. – There are always special offers promotions, factory/dealer rebates and other incentives to increase vehicle sales at dealers. Be aware and research when manufactures and dealers are offering these programs and evaluate them carefully as you could make substantial savings.
Good times to buy – There are different Canadian automotive website that shows what manufactures and dealer are offering incentives and for what models. Slow sale periods in the winter, end of year inventory clearances, end of the month and when a dealer is making way for new models are always a good time to look and buy.
TAKE A TEST DRIVE
At the dealership, the test drive in a vehicle that interests you is the first step, and no vehicle should be bought without having first being driven. A half-hour test ride in urban and highways roads will give a good idea of how the vehicle drives and feels. If you are planning to have, a spouse drives the car, ensure he or she comes along for the ride. Bring the family together to test out the back seat room, use the controls, explore the features and be critically objective as well as subjective about the vehicle.
TO LEASE OR BUY?
No matter which option you choose- Lease or Buy, you will have a monthly, weekly or bi-weekly car payment – for a few years at least, unless you are a cash buyer.
Buying a car means just that- usually putting a deposit on a car and getting a loan to buy it from a financial institution. You may be charged interest for borrowing that money, indeed with a bank.
With a lease, instead of borrowing the full purchase price of the car, you are only borrowing the amount the car will depreciate over the term of the lease. For example with a three-year lease, on a vehicle and taking into account regular wear and tear (known as the “residual value”), then you only have to finance the difference between the purchase price and the residual value. This is the fundamental reason lease payments are lower than loan payments.
Each method of paying for a new vehicle has its pros and cons. When you buy a car, at the end of the payment period – you own the car entirely and it has some residual value and equity. The cons are that payments are more expensive than leasing and once the vehicle is out of its warranty period you are liable yourself for any repairs or maintenance.
In leasing, you have peace of mind in ownership, lower payment, and hence better cash flow. Since leases are generally between two and four years, the vehicle you buy is almost always going to be fully covered by warranties. Once the lease is up, you can either walk away or upgrade to a newer model. On the other hand, unless you negotiate to buy the car at the end of its lease you will never really own the vehicle, and so will not build equity.
DOING THE DEAL
If all goes well on the test drive and you are ready to buy your vehicle, ensure you use all the research tool and information you have to work out a price that takes into account factory and dealer offered rebates, discount, and incentives. It is a good idea to have this information in a report to use as a negotiating tool when dealing with a salesperson.
Depending on the dealer this can be a tricky stage as the salesman tried to push for the full MSRP. Buyers at a minimum should know the price the dealer paid the factory for the car and all the rebates available to them.
This is where a few hours spent doing the research can end up saving you hours of negotiation and hundreds or thousands of dollars on the new car price.
The art of the deal is to allow the dealer to make some profit, but not all at your expense. If you do get a price you are eventually happy with, do not lose this advantage by buying unnecessary dealer installed extras. In most cases, these high margin options negate any saving you have made in the deal and are easy, fat profits for the dealer coming out of your wallet.
Remember as the buyer with money to spend you do have the upper hand in the deal and be firm, confident and equipped with as much research as possible. If you feel the deal is not in your favor and you counteroffers are not being accepted, be prepared to walk or pull out quotes from other dealers for the same vehicle if you have them. Dealerships hate to lose a sale and will try their best to win and keep your future business.
Hopefully, you will have bought your shiny new car and be prepared for many years of enjoyable motoring.