If you are looking for a new car, you may be doing some online research and wondering if you can negotiate car prices.

Pricing in the automotive industry is complex, and it can be daunting trying to understand what is a good deal and what isn’t, and when there is room for negotiation.

At OSV, we have advised thousands of customers on how to find the right car at the right price. So, with this in mind, we wanted to provide you with some information to know how, and when, you can negotiate.

It should be noted here that this works differently depending on if you get your car from a dealership or a broker, and on whether you are leasing or buying. For information on the difference between a broker and a dealership, you can read our article here. You can also read our leasing vs. buying guide here.

Are online car prices accurate?

Headline prices are used to attract interest. Headline prices are typically low prices that are used to attract interest. By the time you start to personalise the car or lease to suit your needs, the price has rocketed.

There are so many factors that can affect lease price, so it’s very hard for any leasing company to accurately advertise a price that suits your needs. If you want to know exactly what affects lease price, then you can read our article here.

In our experience, it is rare for someone to be able to negotiate a headline price. This is because this tends to be the lowest price available. However, that’s not to say you can’t get a good deal with a headline price, but it is typically non-negotiable.

person sitting at a wooden table with a takeaway coffee looking at car deals on an ipad

Can car lease prices be negotiated?

In some cases, yes. In other cases, no. It depends on the particular deal.

There is nothing stopping you from asking for more discounts. However, in a lot of cases, there will already be high volumes of discount applied to the deal to attract interest. But, if you go through a broker who is dedicated to getting the best deal for you, then there’s nothing to say you can’t negotiate further.

are online car prices negotiable

There may be times when, if you place an order quickly, you may be able to secure a better deal. This is because the industry is very time driven. And, every dealership and manufacturer is working towards monthly and quarterly targets. Therefore, the level of discount they are willing to offer depends on where they are against their target.

A reputable broker will have close relationships with suppliers and manufacturers and they will know how they are performing against their targets. This, naturally, puts you at an advantage as they will be able to know exactly how to get you the best deal.

How do I know I’m getting the best deal on my car?

It’s understandable that you would want to negotiate to ensure that you are getting the best deal. Who wouldn’t?

However, there are other ways that you can protect yourself and ensure that you are getting the best deal;

  •  Ask about the deals on campaign
    • One of the problems people tend to face here is that it’s not their desired mileage. However, sometimes the discounts are so great on specific campaigns that it’s well worth paying the excess mileage charge as this could be significantly less than paying ‘off campaign’ prices.
  • Find out about the excess mileage charges
    • It may be more beneficial for you to go for a lower contracted mileage and pay the excess mileage fee.
    • You can find out everything you need to know about excess mileage here.
man on the phone with a laptop looking ta a car deal
  • Work with a supplier you trust
    • It’s important that there’s a high level of trust when choosing a vehicle broker. You want to be sure that they are working in your best interests so you know you are getting the best deal.
    • For more information on how to choose the best vehicle broker, you can read our article here.
  • Keep checking back!
    • There might not be your perfect deal online at the moment. But, that doesn’t mean it won’t be there next week or the week after. Campaigns are specific drives to maximise sales on certain cars to achieve manufacturer targets. If dealerships don’t meet them, they could incur fines. And, these deals change all the time, so keep checking back if you can’t find your dream deal just yet.

Discounts on lease cars

are online car prices negotiable

When looking at lease cars, you’ll probably be surprised at what great discounts are available. There are  loads of discounts and attractive rates to get hold of. And, it’s important to know that even if there aren’t any obvious options on your preferred cars, you can still usually find a great deal on any make or model.

It’s about working with the right supplier.

It would be advantageous to you to work with a supplier that has  access to all brands and a wide range of  funders. Therefore, they can shop around for you and find the best way to structure your deal to give you access to the best discount terms.

Discounts can be increased towards the end of the month or the end of the quarter in order to meet targets. However, it is important to know that stock cars do go quickly. So sometimes there is a genuine urgency to make a decision quickly in order to get access to the best price.

Limited Availability; How do I avoid being pushed into a deal?

Sometimes you will be informed that deals are due to expire. As a customer you may be thinking that this is just a sales tactic and in some cases, you’re right. It depends on who you are working with. If they are regulated by the FCA, then they will be trained and qualified to follow the ‘Treating Customers Fairly’ principles which will  protect you.

It also doesn’t hurt if they have customer service at the  heart of their business, that way you know they aren’t going to be pushing you into anything you don’t want.

But, there are times when customers can miss out on great deals because they think that urgency is a sales tactic. And then, when they call back to order, that deal is no longer available.

Of course, we will always advise you to  exercise caution, and one of the ways you can do this is by asking questions. For example;

  • How long is the price valid for?
  • How many cars are left?
  • What colours are available?
  • Why is there an  expiry date to the quote?
  • Is the  deal on campaign?
  • If I missed out on this one, when would the next cars be available?
young couple sitting in the boot of a car looking on an iPad

Buying a car online

When you are looking for a new car, it can be easy to start getting excited by prices online. Understandably, you are looking for the easiest and most hassle free way of ordering your new car.

There are both  advantages and disadvantages to buying a car online, and it’s important to be fully aware of both.

What are the advantages of buying a car online?

  •    It’s quick
    • A pretty obvious one, but it is a much quicker process
  • You can do it yourself without talking to people
  • You have full control of when you click the button
    • There is little chance of being influenced by anyone, or anything else. The decision is 100% yours.

What are the disadvantages of buying a car online?

What is a log book
  • It might not be the right car for you
  • There may be a small print that has not been explained and  may catch you out
    • The benefit of having an expert is just that, they are an  expert. This means that if there is anything you are unsure of they can explain it to you in full.
  • It could end up more  time consuming in the long run
    • While you don’t have to talk to anyone, it can take much longer than if you did.
  • You may not be getting the best deal
  • There may be better options and a quicker timeframe to be had elsewhere

So, as you can see, there are some cases in which you can negotiate an online car price. Our top tip is to be fully educated, and not just focused on the attractive headline pricing as these can be misleading. Get the facts, research the company and ask important questions. This will allow you to assess the credibility of the person supplying the car.

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ultimate leasing guide

Andrew Kirkley

Director at OSV Ltd
Andrew enjoys: Movies and travelling to new cities to explore different cultures.

Andrew has been in the motor trade for over 20 years. What he enjoys most about his job is the team spirit and the dedication of his work colleagues. He also appreciates the teams input in the improvement of the company.
Andrew Kirkley

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  • 24th October 2016

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