Seven Shopping Strategies For New Car Buyers
New car shopping can be a lot of fun, especially if you're a car enthusiast. But others can find the experience
stressful and tedious. Either way, there's a lot to think about. According to a survey of car shoppers, overall
purchase price is the most important factor when shopping for a new car (46 percent), followed by make and
model (31 percent).
Safety and performance come in a distant third, tied at seven percent. But whether you're turned on or turned
off by the dizzying array of car choices, trim options, "expert" reviews, incentives and other deals, it definitely
pays to approach car buying strategically.
So if you're in the market for a new vehicle and you find yourself having trouble keeping a clear head, just
keep these strategies in mind:
1. Decide how much money you can spend and what type of vehicle best suits your needs. Just looking for
the basic transport capability of a small or medium sedan? Or do you need the hauling capacity of a van or
SUV? Something practical? Something sporty? Something in between?
2. Research crash tests and accident data available from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
3. Shop around for financing. If you can, apply for and get approval for a loan from a bank, credit union or
other financier before you even visit the dealership. Being a "cash buyer" gives you an advantage when you do
finally meet with the dealership's financing person.
4. Test drive the car. Try to drive in conditions that will be similar to those under which you'll drive every day.
5. Check pricing for your desired make and model at two or three dealerships and use that information to help
you negotiate the best deal.
6. Get a firm quote, in writing. This should include not only the cost of the car, but any fees and the sales
7. Inspect your new car carefully before driving off the lot. Make sure all the options you've ordered are
included and that the body and paint are free of scratches or dents.
Finally, it's important to consider the cost of auto insurance, although it seems that few people realize that
what they pay for insurance can add significantly to the vehicle's total cost.