TrueCar.com’s Brandy Schaffels on tips for women car shoppers

Today’s post comes from Brandy Schaffels, senior editor and content manager at TrueCar.com. Brandy is well-known in the automotive community for her knowledge of the industry at the consumer level and her writing ability. And if you follow her on Twitter(@FiestaGrrl), it won’t take long for her passion (especially the one for her Ford Fiesta) to shine through.In the following guest post from my friend and fellow car gal explains how women should do their homework prior to stepping foot on the dealership lot. Her advice here mirrors much of what Be Car Chic has to say – that’s why you will want to pay attention to what Brandy’s written.Enjoy!

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Shopping tips for women: How to get a great deal on your next car

Face it, NOBODY loves shopping for a new car: those salesmen don’t have the best reputation for their sales techniques, and we women don’t want to spend hours in the dealership haggling over our next new car.For most people, the thought of entering a dealership to negotiate a new-car purchase can be extremely intimidating. But the truth is: Buying a new car can be easy if you make sure you’re prepared before you ever enter the dealership. Information is power and informed shoppers can save as much as 30 percent off their bottom line!

Essential tips when shopping for your next car

Don’t “shop” at the dealership – do your shopping online ahead of time. To be a smart buyer you must learn as much information about the vehicle you want — before you ever enter the dealership.

Ford Fiesta MK6

Image via Wikipedia

Whether you’re buying a comfortable and affordable Ford Fiesta (like the one I own) or putting a deposit down on a sporty, high-performance Porsche Panamera (like the one I wish to own), research its accessories, features, and trim levels ahead of time, so you know what features interest you, and which ones you would not pay extra for. Nearly every manufacturer offers a website with comprehensive specifications on their vehicles, and most of them allow shoppers to build a model online so they can compare trims and features.

Be sure to visit the manufacturer’s website so you can learn what is included in each trim level, and what other extras add to the cost of the car. The car buying website I work for, TrueCar.com, also offers a vehicle configurator to help you choose features and discover how those additions can affect your vehicle’s price.

Know what you can afford

Know your budget before you fall in love with a vehicle you can’t afford. Even honest car salespeople are paid on commission, and will try upsell you if they can. If you’ve got good credit, financing a car will cost about $20 a month for 60 months for every $1000 financed. Have a budget and a term length in mind, so you don’t get stuck with expensive monthly payments for the next six (or more!) years.

Know the incentives

Practically every manufacturer offers discounted finance rates, cash-back rebates, and model-year incentives to help clear aging vehicles from their lots. Search online to find out what’s available from your local manufacturers before you head to the lot because these incentives could help you save a significant amount on your purchase. Beyond the incentives they advertise, most manufacturers also offer special incentives to give discounts to specific demographics: Are you a recently graduated college student? A member of the military? A conquest purchase? A repeat buyer? Look for niche programs that can benefit you.

After you’ve done your research and have found the car you want and can afford, it’s time to visit a dealership. Before you go in, it’s important to be armed with the proper pricing information to help you get the best deal possible. You may want to obtain an upfront vehicle pricing report from TrueCar.com that guarantees a fair market price in writing.

Don’t get emotional!

There is no such thing as “now or never.” New cars are commodities, and the same car can very likely be found on another dealer’s lot. If you don’t think you’re being treated well, it’s okay to leave and find another dealer. Understand: the dealer needs to cover his costs and pay the salesperson’s commission, but if they’re not being fair to you, you will most certainly find another car on another lot on another day.

With more than 25 years in the automotive industry, Brandy Schaffels is currently the Senior Editor at TrueCar.com. She offers additional tips to help you at the dealership here.

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This article was written by

Melanie Batenchuk founded Be Car Chic in 2009 as a way to help consumers make smart decisions when buying and selling their cars. Her prior work at the dealership, trade association and manufacturer levels has provided her a deep understanding of the complex facets within the auto industry, making her a leading woman in her field.

There are 2 comments for this article
  1. beltranaboutcars at 3:47 PM

    Good to see a post for women buying cars! Slighlty more than half of the new car purchases are done by women, yet the industry still seems to talk in “male” terms at every corner; most of the sale points are either technical or financial… do you think there is a different (and better) way to approach women that are buying a new car?

  2. Melanie Batenchuk at 3:01 PM

    Carlos – you are so right. Women are making the majority of consumer purchasing decisions – especially when it comes to cars! Brandy provides us a great perspective for women who may be intimidated by the whole process. These simple tips can help so many.You pose a great question. I think that the best way for a dealer/salesperson to approach a woman who is buying a new car is to be patient and listen to what she has to say. Have a conversation that’s not about the “bells and whistles” – talk about the things that matter to her. If she has children, it will likely be safety features and storage room. If she’s a single young lady, then maybe a small sporty sedan or coupe would be appropriate.The difference I think with selling to men and women is that often times the sales staff assume that men know what they want in a car and women don’t. As women, let’s help dispel those assumptions by heading to the dealership prepared. After all, if we’re making the buying decisions, we ought to hold ourselves responsible for doing our homework before spending the cash.