“I don’t care what kind of car you’re looking at, new or used, premium or not, buying a car is basically a luxury purchase nowadays,” says Drury from Edmunds.
Forget the classic strategies like waiting for sales or big incentives tied to major holidays, which are all but nonexistent now. Same goes for tactics like walking away from the salesperson’s offer, knowing they’ll call later with a better price, or emailing a bunch of dealerships and letting their internet sales units compete for your business. Dealerships know they hold all the cards (er, cars), and are confident that if you don’t bite at the price they want, another buyer will be along shortly. J.D. Power reports that at the end of 2021, the average car was in a dealership’s possession for only 17 days before it was sold, compared to roughly 70 days before the pandemic.
With all that in mind, Drury says you should car shop fully prepared to buy. Make sure your vehicle priorities are set, your financing is in order and a down payment is readily available.
Negotiate at the margins.
While dealerships aren’t likely to budge on price, car shoppers might have luck asking for bonus extended warranty coverage, free oil changes and the like.