There’s some excellent advice in this 6 minute presentation by Rob Gruhl. Basically its a summary of the best approach to take when on the hunt for a vehicle. I especially like the part about getting your own finance – not relying on the dealer – it just makes sense and should save a bunch of headaches and admin fees.

Rob Gruhl – How to Buy a New Car – Ignite Seattle 2007

Here’s a short summary if you don’t want to watch the whole 5 minutes:

  • Take your time and use two full weekends – they’re under more pressure to make the sale than you are to buy.
  • Get financing from your own choice of bank – A dealer may be colluding with their own banking partners.
  • Don’t sell your old car to the same dealer – You’ll always get screwed on a trade-in.
  • Pick at least three different cars as options – It gives you the flexibility to toy around and compare.
  • Test drive! Test drive! Test drive! Then go home. Don’t buy.
  • Always try to play dealers off against each other on the final price.
  • Get the “drive it off the lot” price – That’s the final number with all the fees added in.
  • Confirm availability – Make sure the car is in stock, i.e. get the VIN number
  • Don’t sign until everything is absolutely clear and the vehicle is ready.
  • The visit to the office – Do NOT but any of the add-on insurances, top-ups or extras they try to milk you for. They’re all overinflated in price.
  • In general, just be a pain in the ass. Don’t let them walk over you.