When to Negotiate for a New Car

Once we decide it is time to get a new car we get excited thinking about our new wheels we should consider when to negotiate for a new car. Instead we want to get out of the old bucket of bolts and into tour shiny, new alter-ego, right? Yes! That is exactly what the car dealership uses to attract you into the showroom and seal the deal. Your enthusiasm for making a change can be your worse negotiating liability. You are being driven by your wants rather than your needs.

Before you start to negotiate for anything remember to sort out your wants and needs.

There are needs and there are wants. Maslow's work on need theory explains the forces that drive, motivate, and even control much of what we do. To the negotiator what is important is the difference. Needs are those things someone will fight to the death to protect. Wants are the things we want but can live without. The reaction to an offer or proposal tells you if you are discussing a need or a want and provides insight about what tactics to use next.


During most negotiations most people don't hide their emotions particularly well. There should be an observable, inverse relationship in their response depending if you are threatening a need or want. A threat to a need will evoke a very strong response as compared to a threat to take a want. To become a better negotiator learn to use the Maslow Need-Theory Model as a situational thermostat.

Now back to the issue at hand. When should you start to negotiate for a new car? Here are a few tips on what to do first so you are prepared to negotiate smartly:

1. Check your bank account and cash flow to see what you can afford in terms of down payment and monthly payment.
2. Decide if you need to sell your old car first. If so, do the research to establish what you can sell it for to a private party. When you go to the dealer he will take it in trade so you need to make sure you are getting a fair value for your trade-in.
3. Decide what you are going to use your car for and pick a car that matches those needs. Getting a flashy Ferrari does not make sense if you are going to have to leave it in an airport parking lot most of the time. The cost of simply repairing the door dings will soon tap out your cash reserves.
4. Based on how you will be using your car, decide which options make sense to include and which are better purchased elsewhere. An excellent example is the GPS packages.

For a mere $2,500 or more you can have one built into your new car. Or you can buy a standalone package on the internet for under $200.00 that does the same thing. If you travel a lot, you will need the GPS where you go; not where you live. Having one in your car does not do you a lot of good in a rental. Another point, that nice GPS add-on ill not bring you much if anything when you sell your car.

You have now established you basic needs when negotiating for a new car. Now add some wants to the equation. What color do you want? What type of interior? If the GPS were free, that would be nice. And those chrome, low profile rims, pricey if you have to buy them but not bad if the dealer will give them to you at cost to get you to buy the car.

Identify your wants and use them as negotiating chip to be used when you negotiate.

Now you are ready to negotiate for a new car.