5 Trick Tactics Car Dealers Use

Purchasing a car is a complicated process that generally involves months, if not years, of planning and research. According to a report by Dealer Refresh, more than 83% of buyers conduct online research before purchasing a car. The process tends to be time-consuming and frustrating.

Here are the 5 tactics car dealers use and ways to avoid them.

Emotional Tactics

Auto dealers are trained to use subliminal tactics, such as emotional manipulation to influence the buying decision. Don’t be surprised if your auto dealer insists on a test drive. This creates a sense of ownership in the buyer’s mind, influencing the buying process.

Here are some sentences that should warn you of emotional tactics:

“Why don’t you take it for a test drive?”

“Let’s turn on the radio. What’s your favorite channel?”

“Here, check the sun-roof.”

These tactics try to excite you, so you end up making a decision based on emotions.

Be watchful of your emotions. Base your decision on a rational analysis of the pros and cons of owning the ride. Another good option is to sleep on it. As a thumb rule, avoid making important purchase decisions the same day. Of course, this excludes everyday buying decisions that you need to make, such as grocery.

Taking Advantage of Your Lack of Research

It is important for buyers to do their homework before negotiating a car. Auto dealers are trained to prey on your lack of information. A number of online resources offer in-depth resources on automobiles. Visit these resources for reviews, ratings, pricing discussions and attractive auto deals. This will put you in a better position to negotiate the deal with the auto dealer.

Bait and Switch

An auto dealer lures you into his showroom by advertising an attractive deal. However, when you show up at the dealership, you find out that the deal has already expired. The dealer then tries to lure into buying a more expensive vehicle.

A good way to avoid this trick is to call the dealer and find out if the deal is still valid. You can also request the auto dealer to send an email or fax clearly stating that the vehicle is in stock. You will then have proof of the deal when you show up at the dealership.

Negotiating the Payment

Auto dealers are trained to negotiate monthly payment as opposed to total price of vehicle. After you complete the test drive, you are typically asked to fill out your contact information and discuss the pricing.

There are two advantages for auto dealers in discussing the payment. Your mind shifts from the price of the vehicle. The presentation also makes it difficult to focus on the duration and interest rate of the loan. You end up paying more for the vehicle.

Our mind finds it easier to accept slight changes in monthly premiums. For instance, a $100 increase in your monthly payment over the next 5 years may not seem like too much, while $5000 increase in total cost is relatively harder to digest.

Clearly inform the sales rep that you are not going to discuss monthly payments until you know how much it will cost you in total. There may be rebuttals, but stick to your stance. It is important for you to negotiate the total price of car and determine if it meets your budget. Avoiding this trick will save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.


The billing or finance office is where your payment method is processed to close the deal. At this stage, you may be lured into additional products that you may not even need. Be prepared for deals to protect the vehicle or enhance its functionality. Most buyers are generally caught unaware of this trick as their guard is down.

To achieve this objective, the finance or billing office is set to make buyers feel comfortable. The rep greets you with a smile and a handshake. Don’t forget that his only goal is to convince you to accept his offer. You are again displayed the increase in monthly payment as opposed to difference in total price by adding produce X or Y. Take time to determine if it meets your budget.

Car salespeople know all the tricks for persuading people to buy. These tips can help you avoid those tricky tactics!

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