Eventually, cars wear out from all the demands put on them. Buying a car off the lot from a dealership is a common way you may replace your old car, but ordering a car directly from the factory is another option that may end up saving you money in the long run.
Contact the factory that manufactures the car you want (e.g., Kia, Ford), or contact a local dealership that sells the car you intend to purchase. Ask them to send you documentation about all of the package options and features of the car. You may also be able to get this information online from the factory or dealership website.
Compare the pricing for all of the options offered for your vehicle of interest. Sometimes it is cheaper to get a lower-end model with add ons, but other times it saves you money just to go with a higher-end design.
Go in person to not one, but several dealerships. If the dealership has the car you want, just without a feature or two (e.g, leather seats and not cloth), ask to see the factory invoice for the car they have. This will give you an estimate on what you should be offering to pay on your model. Don't get confused with the sales sticker they put in all the windows—this is not the factory invoice. The factory invoice lists what the dealership actually paid for the vehicle. They aren't required to show this invoice, but if they won't produce it, go to a different dealership that can handle your thoroughness and won't try to hide data from you in the name of profit.
Haggle with the dealership about the price for your car. Remind them of the fact that they won't be paying any lot or holding fees for your ordered vehicle and that you therefore are entitled to a lower price than what is listed for the same model in the lot. Mention any other dealerships that gave a better price—the dealership may lower the cost in order to guarantee their sale with you, because they know that you'll probably deal with the dealership again once you've ordered the car.
Fill out and sign any necessary paperwork and put down a reasonable deposit for the vehicle. Get everything in writing, request copies of the paperwork, and get a receipt for your deposit. The dealership now should send your order to the factory.
Tips & Warnings
- See if you can order your car during discounts or specials offered by the dealership. Dealerships often advertise discounts as applying to "All (year) (model)" and don't specify whether the discount applies only to cars in the lot. You thus may be able to get the dealership discount on your car even though they don't have it in stock.
- Avoid ordering from a dealership that tries to talk you into a package different than you want just because they have that particular combination already in the lot. The dealership always wants to get rid of cars they already have in their inventory so that they can stop paying lot and other fees on the vehicle. It is not your responsibility to make sure the dealer is happy, and in fact, a good dealer will bend over backwards to make sure you get what you want because they know doing so more than likely means repeat business. The fact they try hard to sell what is in the lot instead of listening to you may signal trouble in terms of the dealership's financial state.
- Most car manufacturers have websites with "online stores" that allow you to buy online. Although this is easy to do, you won't be able to negotiate your price, so use the websites just for research instead.
- Photo Credit IT Stock Free/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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