The festive season is the time where car manufacturers go all out to woo customers with great deals and discounts. While a lot of these deals might reach you through advertising, what is important to remember is that just about every dealer out there has something to offer which makes this a great time to negotiate a deal. After all, the customer is king, so be brutal while getting the best value for your money!
There are many elements to negotiating a good deal. However, to keep matters simple, we’ve broken up the major elements of such a negotiation to the following:
Deal With the Dealer
First up, remember that the dealer has a solid inventory during the festive season and that’s how they are able to give you those great advertised deals in the first place. So armed with the deal they have advertised for, approach the dealer and negotiate for more.
Dealers set aside their margins before they come up with a deal and while negotiations might take a bit of your time, you could end up saving more money. If they are not offering additional cash, negotiate for accessories. Also remember that there are deals for corporates, senior citizens (in case you fall in that category) and other specific segments.
Bring up these details in your discussions and see where it leads you. Another helpful tip is to pit one dealer against the next. Go to multiple dealers and see who is offering you the best deal.
Deal With the Bank
Once you’ve managed to fix a price with the dealer, it’s time to move on to the next stage of negotiations. This obviously applies to those who are taking a loan. To save money on this front, you will have to negotiate a better rate of interest. Remember that even the smallest change in the interest rate can lead to thousands of rupees saved over the course of the loan repayment plan.
Again, all banks have some margin to negotiate. Don’t just go with the first loan offer. Compare them with other banks. Most public sector banks offer better rates of interest, but the paperwork might be longer. However, better rates could lead to big savings, so take the time to explore those options as well.
Deal With the Insurance Agent
This is another area where you can strike up a deal to save on your vehicle purchase. Most initial offers from an insurance company come packed with hidden costs. Go through the offer document carefully.
Ask the agent about each element and negotiate on those that may seem vague or rather irrelevant. If you happen to be trading in a car, or selling your old car to get a new one, remember that the no claim bonus can be transferred. Most agents won’t tell you that, but it is easily done. If you have never claimed insurance on your previous car and are now transferring the no claim bonus, you can save some big bucks!
The trick is not to rush into a purchase decision. Remember, that buying a car is only second to buying a house when it comes to the amount of money you are putting down. Plan your purchase carefully, do the research and go prepared to sit down for a long negotiation.
To end this with an anecdote, I once negotiated a discount of Rs 12,000 plus a few accessories (floor mats and mud flaps) on a Maruti Zen way back in 2005. In 2008 I managed to get a total savings (dealer discount + insurance + savings on interest) that amounted to almost Rs 85,000 on my Toyota Innova and it wasn’t even during the festive season sale!