As Jalopnik’s resident car-buying expert and a professional car shopper, I get emails. Lots of emails. I’ve picked a few of your questions and will try to help out. This week we are discussing using a trade as leverage for a better deal, and whether or not a dealer will remove aftermarket items.
“I’m shopping for a new Nissan Rogue and I have yet to find a dealer in my area give me anything off the sticker price. I know I might be able to find a better deal with a different car, but this is the one I want. I have a 2016 Forester that is paid off, and that got me thinking if everyone is selling for MSRP should I just see who will give me the most for my trade?”
This is absolutely a good strategy in this current market especially since you have a trade-in that is relatively recent and highly desirable. The first thing I would tell you is before you start having the dealers pit trade offers against each other, get some additional bids on your Subaru from Carvana, Vroom, and Carmax. I’ve had a number of clients get higher offers from those outfits than the dealerships, but having those bids may give you additional leverage for your Forester.
What you’ll want to avoid are the dealers that say “We can’t give you an offer until you bring it in for us to see it.” While it’s understandable the dealer wants to inspect the car before they put a number on it, you don’t want to be driving around to three or four dealers spending hours at each store waiting for your trade offer. Once you get your itemized prices on the Rogue in writing, inform each dealer of your best offer from Carvana, Vroom, and CarMax and see who is willing to match or beat before you take the trip.
“I’m looking at a used car and it has a non-factory trailer hitch. Is it inappropriate to ask a dealer for an aftermarket accessory to be removed as a condition for purchasing?”
This request is not “inappropriate” but it’s up to them as to whether or not they want to adhere to that offer. If removing the hitch is fairly easy I don’t see why they wouldn’t, but keep in mind they have to pay their technicians to perform these tasks. So if this is something that requires removing the bumper and messing with electronics, that is going to be costly for the dealer and the math may not make sense for them.
Got a car buying conundrum that you need some assistance with? Email me at email@example.com!