KENMORE, N.Y. (WKBW) — Thanks to the internet and more price transparency, competition is much more intense between auto dealers.
It also means that dealers need to be offering their best prices up-front since customers can shop online quickly using a cell phone.
While strong negotiating tactics were once viewed as the best way to get a deal, now you are more likely to save money if you watch for manufacturers' incentives - which in some cases, can be zero down, sign-and-drive deals.
It is important to read the fine print in ads to see if you qualify. Since deals can expire, you must be ready to act quickly.
Trade-ins can make a big difference in what you pay for a new vehicle.
Paul Stasiak, president of the Niagara Frontier Auto Dealers Association, said it is surprising how many people turn in dirty cars. "Have your care detailed before having it priced by a dealer and make sure all the maintenance has been done on-time," explained Stasiak.
The best incentives from auto manufacturers occur around the Buffalo Auto Show in February. "We generate excitement. We generate traffic. The manufacturers like that and usually offer more incentives to capture that enthusiasm right after the show," added Stasiak
Lauren Paddock at Paddock Chevrolet in Kenmore said it is important for customers to figure what what they really "need" and what they "want" when talking with a salesperson.
The "needs" are what you will use the vehicle for:
- How many miles per year?
- Is it to move a family?
- Just for commuting?
- Is it for a utility purpose?
The "wants" are extra things that might be nice such as:
- Heated seats.
- Heated steering wheels.
- Leather or cloth?
- Deluxe packages.
"Analyze before you come into a store what you really need and what you want," added Lauren Paddock, who said dropping certain "wants" can help reduce the price.
OTHER THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:
Seasons greatly affect the price of vehicles. SUV's are now in big demand with winter, so there will be less chance of a deal. Consider a cross-over instead, which is a smaller, cheaper version of an SUV and many come with 4-wheel drive.
Now is also a good time to purchase a sports car or convertible. "The dealer might be in a position to offer you something to get that off his lot so he doesn't have to move it during the winter," said Paul Stasiak.
Watch for open recalls: Dealers are obligated by law to repair any open recall before selling you a vehicle. Independent owners and individual sellers are not.
Use the internet for research - but keep in mind that deals someplace else (out-of-state) might not apply here.
While salespeople should know the best offers, don't be afraid to ask about rebates and incentives for a vehicle.