Drive a hard bargain when you buy a new car

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New car buyers are being encouraged to drive a hard bargain at the dealership, with research suggesting big savings could be had.

A Canstar Blue survey, of more than 2,500 motorists who have bought a new car in the last three years, found that Australians aren’t shy about negotiating lower prices, and that their confidence is usually rewarded.

It found that 84% of consumers tried to haggle on the price of their new car, and nine out of ten of them (88%) were successful. In fact, six out of ten (60%) got the full discount they asked for.

For some motorists, negotiating on price meant the difference between driving off with the car they wanted or having to go with a cheaper model, with four out of ten (41%) of those who asked for a discount admitting the vehicle would have been out of their budget otherwise.

“Having the courage to ask for a discount is the first step to securing a great deal,” said Head of Canstar Blue, Megan Doyle. “If you don’t ask, you won’t get.

“These findings should give consumers confidence in a situation which can often be quite intimidating. Car salespeople don’t always enjoy the best reputation, but if you go prepared with some knowledge about the new car you want, and have a price you’d be prepared to pay in mind, you can negotiate a better deal.

“It’s all about picking your moment and getting the timing right. There’s no point trying to haggle over price when the dealership is full of potential customers. Try to visit when it’s quiet and you can get the full attention of the salesperson. Be polite, reasonable, and prepared to walk away if you don’t get the price you want.”

The survey also found that older motorists are more likely to drive a hard bargain at the dealership, with 91% of those aged in their 50s haggling over price, compared to 77% of those aged 18-29. They also saw a higher rate of success.

Men and women were equally likely to negotiate over price, but men reported the most luck, with 63% getting the full discount they wanted, compared to 58% of women.

“If you’re not the type of person who is confident haggling, then it’s a good idea to take someone with you who is,” added Mrs Doyle.

Top-rated manufacturers

Respondents to the survey were also asked to rate the car dealership they visited and the new car they left with. Seventeen leading manufacturers featured in the results, but only BMW and Mazda receive five stars for overall customer satisfaction.

Toyota led the way in the SUV/4WD category of new cars, while Mitsubishi was highest-rated for sedans and Mazda and Suzuki topped the table for small cars.

BMW and Toyota both earned five-star ratings for point of sale service, while Hyundai was the sole recipient of five stars on value for money.

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