How To Negotiate For A Car

A Person Checking a car during a car negotiation

Buying a new or used car is likely to be one of the biggest purchase decisions you make, with dealers charging thousands of pounds for them, but if you are keen to make a purchase then there is always room to negotiate on the advertised price of your car of choice.

Which is why we have put together these tips that you can use to negotiate with a salesperson when you next buy a car.

1: Do your research

  • Have an idea of the make, model, engine size, fuel type such as petrol, diesel or electric, and the trim of the car you want, this way you can look out for manufacturer deals online and in adverts as these may not reflect the dealer’s price.
  • Check out online car brokers to find out what the best prices are for your desired car.  Even if you don’t use the broker you could take print-outs/screenshots to the dealership to show to the salesperson. 
  • If you are buying a used car, do a nationwide search on an online car sales site to work out what the average price is for the specific car you want to buy.

2: Make it clear you are serious

Make the car salesperson aware that you are serious about the purchase of a vehicle from them and you are not a tyre kicker, this way they know you are worthy of their time and they should be more open for negotiating.  Afterall they are likely to have monthly/quarterly sales targets to hit.

3: Know the price you want to pay 

Having done the research, have a price in mind that you want to pay and would be willing to walk away from the sale if it isn’t matched. Start lower than the target price as that allows you some leeway to work up to your price. There is always a chance you might get the car at a lower price than you expected.

4: Know the salesperson’s diversion tactics

  • “I need to speak with my manager”  
  • “We don’t make a profit on this car” 
  • “This car is in such high demand we can’t offer discounts” 
  • “I don’t get any commission” 

Phrases such as these may be tactics that make you believe you are already getting the best deal. Stick to your guns as there could be a discount available, especially if you are keen and want to buy on the day. 

5: Use positive language 

It can be difficult to ask the initial question regarding a discount but if you have a few short, positive sounding sentences ready when it comes to discussing the price, it can make all the difference.

  • What is the best price you can do today? 
  • How much discount will you give me? 
  • I am ready to do a deal today 
  • If we can both agree a price, we can close the deal today 
  • Remember to be polite throughout even if it is not going your way.

6: Know the value of your trade in car

If you have a car you want to trade in, have an idea of the used value. Although you don’t generally get as good a deal as you would if you sell it privately, it will help you get the best price possible for it at trade in, meaning you could have less to pay for your next car. 

7: Paying with cash

If you are paying upfront with cash or a credit/debit card, keep this close to your chest as dealers can make bigger profits on finance deals, so do the bargaining before you mention the way you would like to pay.

8: Pick the right time

Try to go at less busy times, weekdays are generally quieter than weekends.  By doing this you are likely to get more time with the salesperson to negotiate the deal.

With these negotiating tips we hope that the next time you are buying a car you feel confident to ask for a discount and potentially save hundreds, if not thousands of pounds off the advertised price of your dream vehicle.

Remember that if you do negotiate a great deal and you purchase the car, you will need valid car insurance before you drive it off the forecourt.

You might also be interested in

Make sure your car is covered

Understanding your car cover and when it applies
Check out our video for top car cover tips.


Cars on a motorway

FCA changes to insurance and how they may affect your premium
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – an insurance industry regulator – recently introduced new regulation to insurance pricing to take effect on 1 January 2022.