Absolutely. The trick is not to negotiate down from the MSRP. The key is to negotiate up from the dealer’s invoice price.
Even if you were to buy a car for the “dealer invoice” price, realize that the dealer is still making money on the car with dealer incentives, etc.
Take the dealer invoice, add the non-negotiable “destination charge,” and tell the dealer you’ll pay a reasonable profit on top of that. IMHO, “reasonable” is about $600 (for a $30K vehicle).
I bought a new Toyota 4Runner from a dealer for $600 over dealer invoice + dest charge. I bought my wife a new Subaru Outback for exactly dealer invoice + dest charge.
For both of the negotiations, the MSRP never even came up. (I take that back, at the very beginning of negotiations for the 4Runner, the salesman started to say something about the MSRP, and I just laughed at him. He didn’t mention MSRP again.)
Don’t be afraid to walk out if negotiations don’t go your way. I walked out of two Subaru dealerships and one Toyota dealership before making those deals. For the Toyota, the dealer so wanted to make the deal that he trucked the vehicle I wanted in from out-of-state (for no additional charge).
Also, you shouldn’t be discussing dealer financing, trade-in, or any other superfluous issue until you settle on a bottom-line price for the new vehicle. If you negotiate properly, they won’t offer you much for your trade-in when you do bring it up. This is a sign that you got a good price on your new vehicle. (Then sell your old vehicle yourself–you’ll get a much better price.) Arrange for your own financing before going to the dealer, and you don’t have to go with the dealer financing. If they offer you some great financing deal AFTER you settle on a good bottom-line price (possibly due to some incentive they’re getting), you can always choose to take it then–but don’t go into negotiations needing the dealer financing.
Also, don’t pay for any dealer add-ons, paperwork charges, etc. They will probably tell you that they charge “everyone” for these. Politely tell them that you will not be paying them. If they refuse to budge, walk out. For my Toyota, they tried to spring those on me twice. They told me that every customer pays them. If that was true, I was their first customer not to pay. (And it wasn’t true–every car buying advice site tells you to refuse to pay such charges.)
There’s no reason to be rude or aggressive. Just have all your facts in order and be firm. You will save thousands of dollars.
To find out the dealer invoice price, check out Edmunds and Consumer Reports (the latter sells reports). Read advice from Edmunds and Cars.com. When negotiating with the dealer, feel free to ask to see the dealer invoice price for the vehicle in question. By your research, you’ll know if the figure is realistic. (Don’t forget to add factory options into the figure–they are listed on the reports noted above.) If the figure is B.S., bring that to to the salesman’s attention. He may find an “revised” invoice report at that point. :rolleyes:
One more piece of advice. Don’t buy from friends. I bought my first vehicle from a close friend of the family who owns several car dealerships in Texas. I actually drove the SUV I bought from him back to New England because of the “good deal” I was supposedly getting from him. However, while I didn’t exactly get completely screwed over, I didn’t get a fantastic deal, either. I ended up paying for all kinds of dealer add-ons, paperwork charges, etc. (I didn’t know better, then.) Even if I had known better, it would have been difficult to negotiate firmly with such a close family friend. I wouldn’t have wanted to make trouble between the dealer and my father. I’ve gotten much better deals from strangers.