Automotive

Buying a car step by step 2020

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 6th, 2021 12:55 am
[OP]
Newbie
Apr 13, 2013
2 posts
19 upvotes
Toronto

Buying a car step by step 2020

I wanted to share my experience with buying a new car and provide some step by step instructions for other people on this forum. A lot of this info is available here and elsewhere, but it’s all over the place and you have to read through a lot to get the diamonds in the rough. So I thought I’d summarise it one post. I may be missing some things, so go easy on me. By no means an expert, but this worked for me and I saved quite a bit off my new car purchase and I wanted to share and thank those of who’ve helped me by paying it forward.

I have to thank all the tipsters on this forum for all their advice on how to approach the new car purchase. I was stressed out by the whole process, having not purchased a car in 11 years, especially since the first time I fell for all the stupid things dealers throw in - etching, etc. I was worried about an hours long negotiations at the dealership. But in the end it was the most stress free thing I’ve ever done.

I used the email bomb advice after getting the invoice price from unhaggle and surprisingly enough had 8 dealers fighting for my business. After two days of emails, I got down to a price for a 2021 KIA Telluride SX that a number of dealers said was ridiculous and couldn’t match. Needless to say, I’m happy and can’t thank those on this forum enough.

My one mistake was going back to the original dealer where I had first test driven the car in person out of some stupid sense of loyalty for taking me on the test drive. As someone else pointed out, you’re not trying to make friends. You’re looking to get the best deal on the car that you can get.

At the end of the day, that dealer wasted my time, questioned how I had arrived at a quote that I had in hand and basically said no and that I would be back.

Well I won’t be.

In terms of step by step, here’s what I recommend:

1. Narrow down what cars you’re looking at and what features you need. Do your research on reliability and other user experience. I used consumer reports as a starting point when looking for my new SUV.
2. Test drive all of the cars on the same day so you can compare each and get a sense of the look and feel of the cars. Just looking at them on a screen isn’t the same.
3. Narrow down your choices and be realistic about your budget and what you actually need. While Heads Up Display and heated second row seats are nice, are they essential? I used a spreadsheet to compare features to help in picking the car we wanted.
4. Use unhaggle or carcostcanada to get the invoice price for the cars you’re interested in. You can get two free quotes with unhaggle - I believe - so make sure you know you want. There’s also the unhaggle forum here and you can use other email addresses or phone numbers if you have access.
5. Unhaggle has a good worksheet for knowing what price you should go in with - what the cost of extras, etc. I did have to ask one dealer what additional options that I wanted would cost as KIA doesn’t cost them out like other manufacturers on their build portion of the site. Figure out what you need and what it is going to cost and then you have your price to take to dealers.

I also recommend looking at other sites for the stuff you want. Hitches, floor mats, etc. Dealers may charge more for these things, so it’s good to know what the market rate is elsewhere, so you can negotiate and or just get it elsewhere if they balk.

5b. If you have a car you’re going to trade, figure out what a reasonable trade in value for your car is.Canadian black book is a good resource to help with this. Be realistic about what you might get for your trade and expect to be lowballed.
6. Determine where the dealerships are for the brand and make of car you want and how far you want to go to get the car. I’m in the GTA so I had a lot of options. Identify the sales manager and collect all of their email addresses.
7. Bcc Email all of the sales managers with a polite email being specific about what car and trim you want, colour and additional options if any. Identify the prices of each item, so the dealer knows that you know what you’re talking about. Using your unhaggle worksheet put forth what you’re willing to pay including dealer profit, taxes and everything. Basically what the out the door price is that you want to pay. It might be good to price out a few price points in the worksheet so you know the different figures going in. I used a spreadsheet to help with this, so I could also compare the offers when they came in. Be respectful in your email. Don’t say gimme your best price. Give them your price and let them know that you will deal with whoever can meet your price. Then sit back and wait for responses. Try to target month end and year end. I read elsewhere that holiday weekends are also good times to target.
8. Hopefully you get more than one response either with an acceptance of your offer or a counter. Give it time and don’t respond until you have a few responses. Maybe half a day if not less. Once you have some offers, go back to those dealers and play them off each other in separate emails with hopefully the better price. Keep doing that until you get to a price you’re happy with or if you think you can’t get them to go any lower. For me, it was when a dealer told me that I had the best price from another dealer and that it was leaving no profit. You’ll have to determine how far you can push before stopping.
9. Follow up with the dealer who gives you the best price. Don’t knock off anyone just yet. Get a price quote offer sheet detailing what you asked for and the agreed upon price. Review this and make sure it’s accurate to what you wanted.
10. Close the deal. Call the dealer, make sure everything is accurate and that there are no additional costs. You can bring up your trade at this point. You may need to bring it in to evaluate. Just make sure you have a good idea of what you think it’s worth and what you should get. You may get lowballed, so be prepared to either counter or if you have other options go elsewhere. Discuss next steps and you’re done. Until you have put a deposit on the car and have a signed bill of sale, don’t close off any doors. If things don’t work out for whatever reason you may need to go back to one of the other dealers. So keep things respectful until you have a deal in place.

Paying for the car.
Do not get into discussions about monthly cost or leasing or financing when you’re trying to determine the out the door price. This hides the full cost of the car. Figure out the car price out the door and make sure you can handle whatever the payments might be, be it lease, finance or cash, monthly, weekly, biweekly.

I am using my line of credit to pay for the car and have worked out what will work for me over 60 months. Anything longer to me is too much and puts you in a situation where you’re paying more than the car is worth.

I apologise for the long post. But after your house, this is the second most expensive thing you will buy so it is not always straightforward.

I hope this helps someone else and thanks again to all of those who helped educate me.
25 replies
Sr. Member
Dec 10, 2006
598 posts
157 upvotes
Informative but way too complicated. I'm surprised you had success with the "email bomb" technique. I would imagine sending numerous emails to close a mini deal isn't worth their time but maybe things are slow these days.

My strategy is as follows:
1. Figure out what car you want to buy. Test drive as necessary.
2. Do research on pricing through AutoTrader, Unhaggle, etc.
3. Locate car through AutoTrader, etc.
4. Phone dealer, ask for sales manager, make an offer. If they don't accept, move on. If they accept, done.

You are 100% right on discussing price as a dollar value not a financed value. That's one way to get steamrolled. Oddly enough, a significant number of dealership chains in my area will not even accept cash for a vehicle. Finance only. It's unbelievable.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Feb 8, 2006
1079 posts
325 upvotes
Toronto
You guys don't like to read? Thanks OP, will keep this in mind for when I ever need a new car (I never buy new personally though).
buffylover wrote: im pretty sure thincrust hates you
Member
User avatar
May 28, 2007
410 posts
147 upvotes
Peterborough
Go post OP. My only input would be not to mention a price. Let them come to you with their offer first. Rule if thumb- first side who mentions an amount loses.
Jr. Member
Jul 29, 2019
131 posts
104 upvotes
Great post. I wish we had something like this for buying a used car. I am looking to buy my first car in Canada.
Member
Jun 9, 2008
372 posts
36 upvotes
Toronto
Way too much text for simply buying a car.

Basically email bomb, go with the cheapest one
Deal Fanatic
Oct 26, 2008
6378 posts
2023 upvotes
BC
Not sure if this is as true with Kia and Hyundai as with other makes, but many auto dealerships are part of larger ownership group.

So sometimes any sense of competitiveness is not quite what it appears to be. Sure, any dealer wants to make a sale, but there might be more going on than you realize when you pit one dealership against another.

And of course the dealership that sees the best opportunity for getting money from you down the road in servicing should in theory give you the best price.
Because they certainly aren't making much on the sale itself.

As always, be wary of the lowest price. Allocations from the manufacturer are based on a dealership's track record. Is the great price because of their volume or something else?
Does the dealer know that there is a unit meeting your requirements that got damaged in shipment and it can be repaired without you noticing?
Maybe I am too cynical of the automotive industry.
Jr. Member
Sep 23, 2011
167 posts
95 upvotes
Would email bomb work well for popular choices like RAV4 or Prius Prime? I heard those have a waitlist of months, doesn't make too much sense for dealers to budget of price when demand is that high.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
35534 posts
21591 upvotes
Center of Universe
All I care is what you paid OTR!
Sr. Member
Dec 10, 2006
598 posts
157 upvotes
isthisreallife wrote: Would email bomb work well for popular choices like RAV4 or Prius Prime? I heard those have a waitlist of months, doesn't make too much sense for dealers to budget of price when demand is that high.
If a car has a waitlist of months, why would a dealer give it to you for no profit?

In general, email bomb is most effective on cars dealers actually have on their lot.
Deal Addict
Dec 4, 2011
1611 posts
1066 upvotes
Montréal
e909 wrote: If a car has a waitlist of months, why would a dealer give it to you for no profit?

In general, email bomb is most effective on cars dealers actually have on their lot.
Indeed, I met my VW guy years ago when I bought my TDI wagon by email, bought several other vehicles off him. He realized I would buy a car in 5 minutes from him with a reasonable price so was worth his while.

Not much he could do however when I wanted one of the first 18 R's when VW bought back the TDI! Or when people want Alltracks (priced to fleece low info car buyers)
Deal Guru
User avatar
Oct 6, 2010
14597 posts
8995 upvotes
Toronto
There is a thread in the forums that's step by step process........

I don't get why people don't search.

Downvoted.
Exas wrote: You guys don't like to read?
No. People don't want to read or research. They want to be spoon feed and told what car to buy and how much they should pay for it.
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¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Sr. Member
Dec 10, 2006
598 posts
157 upvotes
admiralackbar wrote: Indeed, I met my VW guy years ago when I bought my TDI wagon by email, bought several other vehicles off him. He realized I would buy a car in 5 minutes from him with a reasonable price so was worth his while.

Not much he could do however when I wanted one of the first 18 R's when VW bought back the TDI! Or when people want Alltracks (priced to fleece low info car buyers)
People make car purchasing out to be more complicated than it is. It's really a matter of, they have something you want (car), you have something they want (money), make a deal and move on.

I find picking up the phone and making a serious offer will separate you from the thousands of "wuts ur lowest price plz" emails a dealer gets daily. A coherent email with "I will pay $X for VIN # ____ on your lot today", has also worked for me.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 7, 2007
4229 posts
1697 upvotes
Great post.

Step 1,2, and 3 could be shorten to "know what you want, and know what you can afford". Just to keep it simple.

And Step 4 and 5 "do your msrp vs. cost research". So you are ready to negotiate.

And then email dealers. Etc.
Member
Jul 18, 2020
409 posts
641 upvotes
vkizzle wrote: All I care is what you paid OTR!
This is pretty much it. OTR price.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jul 20, 2016
1047 posts
1034 upvotes
Toronto
thx OP ... may seem obvious and a massive wall of text for us that hang out on the autos section ... but this is quite good for most folks who haven't got a clue

this write up is on the assumption that you are doing the cold email cold calls yourself . The past few cars I've bought, i got from salespeople via friends' referral. Entire process was much easier that way but obv ymmw.

Also I'm not quite sure how well the cold email spam tactic works these days as 1) demand outpace supplies in some instances (like PHEV RAV4s) and more importantly 2) it's a two way street, low commitment from you will generate a lukewarm quote from the dealer. No need to go to every store, but picking up the phone goes a long way to get the point across quick and easy.

Also this is not a race to the bottom: understand where the bid/offer lies in the vehicle you are interested in (unhaggle + quote from Pfaff will give you a very good idea), do your due diligence (like here on RFD...) and then figure out a realistic OTR price that you like. Be ready to sign if it's accepted.
Member
User avatar
Aug 18, 2013
403 posts
287 upvotes
Toronto
The email bomb method worked for me in the past. I'm surprised to hear that it doesn't work anymore - I thought the dealerships aren't doing too well now that everyone is working from home. Calling also works but takes much more time and negotiation than cold emailing imo.
Newbie
Nov 15, 2017
70 posts
90 upvotes
Appreciate the time you took to write this, while I'm not purchasing a vehicle I know it'll be useful for others. Here's an upvote!
Sr. Member
Jun 4, 2020
775 posts
710 upvotes
Clarington, ON
koffey wrote: No. People don't want to read or research. They want to be spoon feed and told what car to buy and how much they should pay for it.
Used beige corolla. 1000 under dealer asking. With free snow tires. And lifetime free oil changes.

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