If you are in the market for a Honda in the Houston area, I highly recommend contacting Ali Fard at Russell & Smith Honda. We just replaced our 10 yr. old Honda Odyssey with a CRV and couldn’t be happier with it. I was dreading the car buying process because of all the games the salespeople typically play. I know how to get good deals but that doesn’t mean the process is enjoyable.
But this was different. Ali was extremely responsive, gave me a detailed drive-out quote via email with the best offer in town and took a lot of time to show us all the features of the new vehicle. It was, by far, the best car buying experience I’ve had.
The guy who did the paperwork didn’t try to high pressure me on any additions or extended warranties. I was in and out of his office in about 10 minutes.
Top three tips to get your best deal
1. Do your homework on Edmunds. They have great information on what people are really paying. The “True Market Value” prices are good to aim at and you can even beat them.
2. Go through the Internet salesperson at the dealership.
3. Be very clear about what you want. I always emphasize that all I care about is price (a Honda is a Honda, and I get my service done at Christian Brothers Automotive, not the dealership) and that I don’t like surprises. They are heavily rated and compensated based on customer satisfaction ratings so I make it clear that price and a lack of surprises will yield the highest satisfaction for me.
Some other things to think about
Unless your current car is costing too much in terms of repairs, seriously consider holding onto it. It is the least expensive car you’ll ever own.
Consider getting your current car detailed. For roughly $150 (typically much less than a monthly payment), it will look like new and help curb your craving for a new car.
Don’t just buy a new car to get better gas mileage. Do a little math and you’ll find out that it will take years to pay back your investment.
Buy low maintenance cars and hold them a long time. We aim at 10 years.
Check out Dealer Rater to understand who you’ll be dealing with.
Don’t buy high-tech extras like DVDs and GPS systems. They cost 4-5 times what portable versions do and will be outdated quickly. They cost a lot to fix if they break. You also can’t transfer them to other vehicles.
Don’t look too eager when talking to a salesman. You must be ready to walk away. They get serious about negotiations when you are walking out.
Make your best deal on the price, then tell them you don’t like surprises and you’re sure that they won’t add in any charges such as “advertising fees” when they do the final paperwork. Those should be part of the negotiated price, but they often sneak them in later. A guy did that to me and I told him the deal was off unless he removed the $250 charge. He did.
Don’t let them tell you they are “only” making $25 (or whatever) on the car. That is a silly partial truth they use to describe the intercompany profit when one division of Honda, for example, sells to another division. It is meaningless, especially when they try it on a CPA / finance executive with 25+ years of experience.
Go through the fleet dealer at the dealership if you can. Most dealerships have a sub-group that sells to businesses who buy multiple cars. Those buyers don’t have time for the gamesmanship of spending a whole day negotiating over each car. The prices tend to be lower and non-negotiable. Individuals obviously don’t buy a whole fleet of cars but sometimes a group like a credit union will combine the purchasing power to get fleet deals. You can submit what you want on the web and within an hour you’ll have lots of quotes.
Save up and pay cash. When you tell them you’re ready to write a check when they agree to your price it gives you negotiating leverage.