New car prices: Sharpen your negotiating skills for rock-bottom rates

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There aren’t many shopping trips that are intimidating, but heading out to the dealership to haggle over new car prices is certainly one of them. If your mind spins when you’re surrounded by a flurry of information about new car prices, makes, models, trim levels and options, you’re likely not in a strong bargaining position to get the best deals. Regardless of your negotiating skills, you can still make this experience less stressful and more exhilarating. You simply need to arm yourself with a little knowledge of new car prices before walking onto the sales lot of a dealership.

You might be long out of school, but this is a situation in which those test-taking skills can come in handy. Prepare yourself by researching prices and committing the necessary information to memory. This way, you can rely on yourself rather than what the sales person says or the new car prices posted in the sale tag. Fortunately, some valuable resources available online can act as a study guide – or even a cheat sheet – to help you negotiate the best deals.

Here’s what you need to know to negotiate the best new car prices:

* New car prices. Know the market value and the range of new car prices available for the make and models that you are interested in possibly buying. You might be under the impression that the MSRP posted on the window of your dream vehicle is the one and only price. This is not so. The MSRP, or Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price, is simply that – the suggested price. This may be an ideal place to start. First consider what options and amenities you want in your vehicle. If you are not interested in a fully loaded, top-of-the-line new car, you should feel free to start negotiating prices below the listed one. You can give yourself a better idea of new car prices in your area by visiting sites like, where you can get quotes from local auto dealers. In addition to your preferred amenities and your locality, you should also research relevant rebates and remember that new car prices are often more negotiable in the slower sales months.

* Alternatives to your ideal auto. Do you want a roomy wagon? A hardworking SUV? A sleek, sporty model? Whichever style you’re looking for, you can be sure to find competing models across automakers. Be sure to explore your options. You can start by visiting various makers’ websites to see what they offer; however, this can be tedious. There are independent sites that save you time by letting you compare different models’ specifications, amenities and new car prices all in one place. When you’ve narrowed down your choices to a few competitors, go to the lots and have a look. Be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to get new car prices from dealers online to help with your comparison shopping.

* The value of your existing auto. This is important if you want to leverage a trade of your old vehicle to get better new car prices. Again, searching online can be a great help. Visiting used car pricing authorities like Edmunds can help give you an initial idea of your car’s value. Its condition is a major factor in determining its worth, so make sure it’s in the best shape possible. Dealers might not offer you exactly what you want, but armed with some knowledge of common prices, you can bargain more effectively.

* Your financing options. Doing some legwork ahead of time will help you ward off pushy tactics. Checking with your credit union or local banks can help you find the best financing deals. By having pre-approved auto loans when you enter the dealership, you’ll have extra leverage for negotiating lower new car prices.

* Get insured. The vast majority of new vehicles are leased or financed to some degree and lenders typically require that their investment be protected. If you’re purchasing a vehicle for the first time, speak with a vehicle insurance agent before completing the purchase to find out about premiums and different types of coverage, as well as guidance on how to file a claim. You will be required to produce evidence of new car insurance on the vehicle before it will be authorized to leave the lot.

By doing a bit of research, from the comfort of your own home, you can make the process of negotiating new car prices less intimidating. And when you’re driving your new vehicle off the lot, you’ll feel even better knowing you got the best deal possible.