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Why asking one question could get you a better deal when buying a car

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Dealers have been gearing up with special offers and financial packages

Dealers have been gearing up with special offers and financial packages

Dealers have been gearing up with special offers and financial packages

Some substantial incentives are being waved under our noses to tempt us to buy a new car next month rather than wait until January.

As you know, the new 202-registration period starts on July 1 so the countdown has begun to get vital entries on the order books.

Dealers have been gearing up with special offers and financial packages in the hope of salvaging as much as possible from the year's second major registration period.

While there is a level of optimism after the earlier-than-expected re-opening of dealerships, many within the industry accept sales will be significantly down this summer. Just how much remains to be seen but there are a variety of activity levels and a wide range of enquiries across the industry.

As far as you, the potential buyer of a new 202-reg, is concerned the bottom line is simple but easily overlooked in the face of a stream of offers coming your way.

The key question is: does the incentive(s) include the "full" (RRP) price of the car or is it applicable on a discounted asking price?

Let me explain.

The "full" price is the one usually quoted in advertising, media, etc, but is often open to negotiation depending, for example, on whether you have a trade-in and its age/condition etc.

If you are buying without a trade-in, as a "cash buyer", you can normally expect to be quoted a lower figure for the new car.

That is because the dealer doesn't have the hassle and expense of trying to shift your model. This is the business way of things. There can be a difference of €1,000 to €1,500 or more on an average family car depending on circumstances.

So where someone is offering you a special "buy" incentive of, say, €3,000 off the price of the new car the real benefit to you could be just €1,500 if you have to factor in the absence of discount.

On the other hand it may be €3,000 off regardless of what deal you come to. Happy days. Or there may be a bit of bargaining needed to establish the core cost of the arrangement. More likely.

It's just important you and the dealer establish that as soon as possible to avoid confusion and disappointment later on. My advice: ask the question early.

And remember one other thing. The dealer is, in the current climate, stretching hard to get you to buy now because it has been a brutal business year for many so far and January is a long, long way off. He or she needs to sell but they also need a bit of a margin to protect business and jobs.

Indo Motoring