How to Buy a New Car – 2018

More than one way to buy a new car

How to buy a carUntil relatively recently there was only one way to buy a new car — the old-fashioned way — the way it was done by our fathers and grandfathers.

But the Internet and new technology have changed things dramatically such that the old-fashioned way is not always the best way anymore.

In fact, the newer ways are almost certain to get your better deals with less work and hassle.

Let’s discuss each method now.


1. The Old-Fashioned Way

The conventional way to buy a new car was to visit a local new-car dealer or two, look over their inventory of vehicles, read the window sticker to learn about features and MSRP price, decide on a vehicle you like, maybe take a test drive, and then go discuss your possible purchase with a pushy sales person. You might try to negotiate a better price through a lengthy process of the sales person going to the back of the office to “discuss” it with his sales manager, returning later, and then repeating the process several times until you give in. Once an agreement has been made, you sign papers (another lengthy process), and drive away, having no idea of whether you got a good deal (Hint: You probably didn’t)

So what’s wrong with this method?

Unless you did your homework and researched your car features, styles, ratings, and prices on the Internet using comprehensive research and pricing sites such as, you have restricted your knowledge to whatever you have been able to obtain in your short visit to the dealer, using the sales person as a teacher and advisor (Hint: Bad idea). You know little or nothing about how the cars made by the manufacturer compare with other brands in features, performance, and prices. You do not know what a fair price might be, and therefore don’t know what price to negotiate.  In short, you have put yourself at the mercy and control of the experienced dealer sales person and his manager  — just where they want you.

2. A Better Way

Most car dealers now have “Internet sales people.” These are people who are not typically commissioned sales staff and work primarily on the phone or on the Internet working with potential customers who have expressed an interest in buying a car at that dealership if the deal is right.

You can call a dealership and ask for someone in their Internet sales department to discuss a potential deal. This usually results in a smoother, less stressful process than sitting under the hot lights at a high-pressure  sales persons desk in the dealership’s office. Ideally, you work out all the details on the phone and simply go down to the dealer a couple of days later to sign papers, close the deal, and drive away in your car that has already been prepared for you.

So what’s wrong with this scenario?

You must know exactly what car you want, what color, what features, what options, what incentives are being offered, and what price you want before you make the call to your dealer. You can find this information and much more at You can’t expect the Internet sales person to educate you about the car on the phone. You must already know that and be able to communicate it to the sales person. But that’s relatively easy to do with the availability of the Internet and sites such as Edmunds’.  There’s typically not much negotiation. The price you are offered might be a bit of a good deal but it’s a take-it-or-leave-it offer.

3. The Best Way

The best way to buy a car is an extension of method #2.  Go to and do all your research. Compare differences between makes and models that interest you. Learn specs and features, reliability and safety ratings, see professional test results and reviews, use payment calculators, see what manufacturer incentives and rebates are available, and here’s the big one ——— find the exact car you want at local dealers and get competing no-haggle price quotes that already include discounts and incentives.

Obviously, you’ll have to visit the dealer to close the deal and sign papers — and pick up your new car — but it just doesn’t get any easier or more convenient. The Internet has made it possible with the introduction of such great and comprehensive one-stop-shopping sites such as Edmunds.


The old way of buying cars is the traditional way and, as such, is a habit that is hard to break. But the Internet and the ability to do all your research online — and request discounted prices directly from dealers — now makes it possible to not only make the whole process easier and faster but to also get good prices without the usual mind-numbing stressful haggling with dealer sales people. If you take advantage, you won’t regret it when buying your next new car.


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