Buying a new car is one of the easiest purchases you will make in your life.

Don’t believe me? O.K I’ll rephrase that.  Buying a new car is one of the easiest Purchases you will make in your life once you have gone through the hassle of deciding  A: what type of car you want to buy.  B: What make and model of car you are going to buy and  C: which one of the thirty-eight levels of spec you are going to choose. Simple


So that is the hard part and I’m not going to help you there,  this site is not about praising one lump of tin over another or getting into whether you need an mpv or suv.  Ultimately that is your decision, and there is an entire row of magazines in WH Smith to help you make up your mind.  My job is to simplify the actual mechanics of procuring the car you have chosen at the best price.

If I am going to throw in my two cents on your buying decision process I will make it brief. In my opinion there are very very few bad cars made anymore so don’t be scared to buy the car you want, and not something else as a compromise. 

If you are buying a new car you should be prepared to lose a chunk of money over the course of your ownership.  If this is an issue narrow your choice down to the few cars you were thinking of, then spend ten minutes online or on the auto trader seeing what similar models are selling for used.

For example thinking of a new corolla verso diesel? think you will keep it 3 years and do maybe 20K a year?  check out how much a 3 year old 60K verso is selling for and do the maths.   All new cars lose money,  some haemorrhage it and it’s worth checking out. Certain cars you should only ever buy if the company is picking up the tab.  Occasionally a Mercedes E class will waft into the car park and a colleague will say to me  “he must be loaded”  I will point to the new Honda Legend parked beside it and say “no… they must be loaded”.

Buyer’s guides in magazines like Top Gear/What car or online in Parkers are useful for information;  they shouldn’t put you off a car you like, unless unanimously the car you fancied is being slated in which case take that onboard and don’t be a hero !

Satisfaction surveys Like JD Power are useful tools also, but again not Bible.   Skoda’s regularly come out higher than Mercedes. This is not because Skoda build a better car than Mercedes it is based on customer expectation.  The Mercedes customer may have dreamt of Mercedes ownership for many years, and when they finally get their car and find that it has not transformed their lives exponentially they feel disappointment which they need to vent.  The Skoda owner on the other hand is delighted that it comes with such things as central locking and that their mates don’t laugh at them.  People that make such a purchase are more inclined to defend their actions by bigging up what a great car they bought.  So as before use as a guide, but if something is being universally rubbished,again don’t be a hero.

So once you have done your job and decided on exactly what you want you need to buy a car magazine and work out what the exact “on the road price” for that car is.   After that you should use Whatcars target price guide to sharpen your pencil. .

There are another number of car brokers that a Google search will find.  As I constantly point out nobody greases my palms on this site but I use and have always found them very useful  (if anyone has found good dealings or bad dealings with other companies please let me know)
Using these resources you have the figures you need .  What cars figures are conservative and can be regularly beaten,  e-bids figures are to the bone but sometimes use brokers or entail a few weeks waiting time so try to find a happy medium.  The level of discount you are going to get is like all things in the free market dependent on supply and demand.  I was recently able to get almost £8000 discount off a CL Mercedes for a client,  But couldn’t get 50p off the price of a new mini diesel.

So negotiation time I wouldn’t really bother traipsing around dealerships until I had spent an hour with a yellow pages and a phone first.  Ring dealers(all over the country) tell them the exact car you are looking to buy (even if you have a possible part-ex don’t introduce this yet)  Tell them you know the list price is X but you are buying a car this week and want their best price.  Salesmen may have to speak to their boss and get back to you that is standard practice.

If you don’t like ringing around you can spend an hour on the computer sending out a form email that you have drafted.  Again polite and to the point, Hello I am looking to buy one of these cars this week, I know the list price is X but I will deal with whoever can supply the car at the best price so can you please let me know what you are willing to do.

Now I have read a few car buying experts talking about what time of the year to buy to get a bargain. With the new number plate changes this is not really as relevant as it used to be. One of the real drivers for main dealers is Rebate. They have deals with the distributor (manufacturer) to shift 50 or so of some model a month and if they do that they get a lump of cash back (more money usually than they get from the public).  The rebate is such that if a company is on 45 cars for the month then they will reg up the other 5 for “demos” just to meet the target for rebate.  This is why sometimes when you go to a dealership and they have fifteen 3 month old demos all with 200 miles on the clock , you think to yourself  “did they really need that many demos?”

So by ringing around and playing the market you will luck onto a few dealers that are keen to sell some units, here is where you will get your best price.
Now Personally I would travel to Aberdeen for the best deal but if you would rather deal with a dealer in your locality then now is the time to drop into them.

Trying to negotiate a discount with intangible evidence like “such and such a magazine says I can get this car for X” will get you nowhere, but you are armed with facts.  You can tell the dealer “ok I know the list is £14,700 but (“ ”) Garage in Manchester And (“ ”) garage in Oxford will do it for £13,200 can you beat that price?”.  In most cases they probably can’t so tell them “look I’d rather give the business to a local company, Match that price and I’ll deal with you”.

You have a much better chance of this happening as a franchise dealer should be able to match another franchise dealers price and let’s be honest it’s a bit embarrassing for them to be £1500 from someone else’s price. They may not be in a position to match the price, they may only be able to get within £500 of the target. If you think that’s a fair premium to pay for dealing with a local garage more fool you but that’s your prerogative ! Let’s be honest unless you live on the Isle of Skye or you are trying to buy a Pagani Zonda , within a twenty-five mile radius of your house there are several main dealers for the car you want. Try them all and if you opt to deal with a company because you liked the salesperson or because their garage looks posher on your number plates then go for it.


One other thing.  On some cars you can get a much better deal through a broker (e-bid, etc cover these) this is fine and I recommend it but be happy with where the car is coming from.  Unless you are getting a mega stonking deal avoid European imports.  I was responsible for supplying lots of cars from Holland and Belgium many years ago when there were genuine savings, now it is negligible and while the cars are exactly the same, when you go to resell it some smarmy salesman will have the opportunity to suck his teeth and go “oh it’s an import hmm” and you don’t want that to happen.


I hope I’ve Laid out some civilised ways to negotiate on your new car, there are many other tricks but they would require the proverbial neck like a jockeys nutsack and not everyone is intent on squeezing the life out of every deal, If you have had any joy with other methods please step forward and share them

Happy hunting.