Automakers want to serve your style and needs. They do, but they vary so much from person to person.
Automakers exhaust marketing efforts to identify just what you want, but serving all tastes and preferences is tough. That’s one reason they break vehicles down by size, luxury, and trim.
It would help you and the automakers if more customers than not knew how to find the right vehicle for their style and needs. CarsUSNews cautions, “Purchasing a new car is one of life’s more exciting experiences, but it can be overwhelming and expensive if you don’t follow some simple car-buying rules.”
7 keys to finding the right vehicle
- Identify your needs. Needs differ from wants. We all have desires and dreams, but they rarely translate into achievable deliverables.
- Typical automobiles hold five people with more or less comfort. The more people you carry, more doors will increase interior space and easy entry and exits.
If baby car seats or soccer gear eat up that space, you need a minivan or SUV with three rows of seats.
If you haul business equipment or lead an outdoor life, you may need a larger SUV, van, or truck.
- You should identify yourself as preferring a manual or automatic shift. Manual transmissions have largely disappeared and may have to be special ordered on new cars.
On the other hand, many new cars come equipped with versatile and adaptive transmissions that let you drive one mode in the city and another off the road. It’s something you want to research and road test before you drive.
Your driving habits should determine your transmission needs. If you need a vehicle for commuting, carpooling, travelling, working, or sporting, you need one of many configurations. You should also consider if you need extra security with a dash cam. Take time to find the best dash cams for you. It could save you a fortune in the future should you ever need the footage for an insurance claim.
- Do your research. The internet provides terrific resources for car shopping. Consumer’s Report, Edmunds, Kelly Blue Book, and more.
- You want to know the power and/or fuel economy of the vehicles you consider. Smaller cars tend to have smaller engines, lower horsepower, and better mileage. Larger, heavier vehicles may be less fuel-efficient.
But, research will help you differentiate vehicles according to factors like fuel consumption. In addition, more vehicles now run on hybrid fuels, electric support, or all-electric engineering. The research will guide you to fuel savings and Eco-friendly choices.
- Research will explain terms and concepts you may not understand. Ideas like “turbocharge” and “V8” have intimidated buyers. But, developing automotive technology is engineering solutions with the best of all features in new formats. You will find turbocharge features and V8 power in cars, vans, and trucks of different configurations.
- Establish a budget. Your research should reveal current prices. These may not be accurate to the penny on any given day. But, the prices shown give you are a good idea of what you want to spend.
- Prepare a budget that includes the car price, its financing costs, estimated fuel expense, insurance premium, and projected maintenance. Such a budget will move you away from the sticker price toward a realistic view of what the vehicle price.
It’s in your interest to stick firmly to your own budget in the context of your earnings and necessary spending and savings.
- The budget is not just for planning your car buying. You should build flexibility in because fuel and insurance prices are sure to increase over the length of your financing.
But, it should also wake you up to decide between what you want and need. If the numbers present too much of a challenge, you are not doing yourself a favour by overbuying.
- Determine the insurance rate for your new or previously-owned vehicle purchase. Insurance for pricier vehicles will be higher than they will be for high-risk vehicles like sports cars.
- Determine your financing. Your budget should tell you what you can afford. Make it a round number, and you can seek financing options. The car dealership sits ready to finance your purchase, but you do have other options that can save you money.
- Assuming you have a good credit report, you do not have to settle for high interest rates. You can shop for credit rates online, at your local bank, or at your credit union. If you like what you see and have the creditworthiness to seal the deal, you can secure the financing approval before you go to the dealership.
- With a loan approval in hand, you may be surprised how quickly the dealer will meet or beat that offer. If the dealer can beat the offer, you can take it if all the terms are exactly the same. It’s good to secure a customer relationship with the dealer, but you want the best and most affordable financing arrangement.
- Pick the right vehicle. Choosing the right vehicle may mean breaking old habits. People tend to stick with the same make and model. But, good research should open your eyes.
- If you’ve settled on the motor, fuel factors, transmission, size, and purpose for your purchase, you only have a few things to decide: colour, accessories, entertainment packages, and other bells and whistles.
- It’s your chance to test drive more than one vehicle. The dealer should work for you, so you should test drive several models in the vehicle range you have in focus. And, as you narrow that range, you should test drive your first choice more than once.
- Parlay your trade-in. The dealership will readily quote a trade-in value, but that value is yours to determine.
- Chances are that the dealership is not the only one in town, so where you have the choice, see which dealer will optimize your trade-in value. The dealer won’t give you the same deal you could get in a private sale, but it is an easier process.
- And, you are not alone when it comes to trade-in values. There are several online resources ready to price the make, model, and mileage on your used vehicle.
- Learn to negotiate. Dealers are trained negotiators. That’s why the salesperson usually turns you over to the “manager.”
- Vehicle prices have their seasons. Prices are lowered to clear inventories as the year nears new releases. Conversely, prices increase on high-demand vehicles.
- Dealers must also meet set sales goals to improve their first options for more new vehicles for the following year.
- Automakers offer dealers incentives and premiums to push certain makes and models, and you may see these deals online or in advertisements. Huffington Post recommends, “If you’re in the market for a new car, the scales tip in your favour on the last day of the month.:
- Dealers will increase the gross purchase price by persuading you to buy warranties, security packages, and other add-ons. Those add-ons increase your total finance package, so you must determine what you really need.
7 keys to finding the right vehicle for your style and needs
For most, their car purchase is the largest investment they make outside of their mortgage. Too many of them spend too little time studying the investment and how it serves their respective style and needs.
The research is there for the taking, time is on your side, and flexibility is your car-shopping friend.