Buying Tips - How Do I Get the Best Deal?

planetdonplanetdon Member Posts: 3
I'm planning on purchasing a Matrix XR. Any buying or negotiating tips that you can share?


  • steine13steine13 Member Posts: 2,818
    I just bought a Vibe yesterday -- twin to the Matrix, as you probably know.
    So far, I'm impressed with the car. There is nothing out there that I'm aware of that gives you so much interior space for its outside size. Here are some of the good points, in a general way:
    Seating: Car is tall, and the space under the front seats is nicely hollow. I'm 6'1" and can sit comfortably in front, then get out and sit comfortably "behind myself", so to speak. Try THAT in a Protege (which is otherwise a fine car). There is a ton of space with the seats folded, and the folding is easy and painless. Cubbyholes everywhere. Wonderful stick shift -- this car is bound to be a dog with the 4sp auto -- real men drive sticks anyway. Couldn't believe the 205/55 tires. In a "Corolla"??? Good Lord, but sure corners well. 115V outlet, hidden 12V point for cell phone + charger, little things like that are great. Frt pass seat folds flat, so my 4-year old can see out the front. She likes. Glass hatch pops up separately. Pop the big hatch, and you have a dry spot for tailgating. Auto headlights means never use your headlight switch again. 3-spoke steering wheel is really nice.

    Here's some not-so-hot stuff:
    The speedo: Cleverly marked in 20/40/60/80 increments. For you in metric Canada, that's no big deal, but can you say STUPID???? Who came up with that idea? I'm getting used to it, but how about markers at 25 and 35, where the relevant speed limits are. Dumb dumb dumb dumb and unnecessary. Daytime running lights blind you when you're backing up and there's a big white garage door in front of you. No defeat switch, and leavin parking brake clicked don't help either. grrr.

    As far as negotiation etc. etc. don't sweat it. Find a car you like, figure invoice from Edmunds or kbb, add whatever is necessary -- check TMV, for instance, or just offer invoice from the get-go and see what they counter with... the deal is going to get done withing a few hundred bucks either way of invoice + $500 (in the U.S. anyway).
    Think about it: You're likely to lose more money by picking the wrong color than by giving the salesperson "$300 too much". Don't trip over dollars to get to the dimes.

    Personally, I like to use the web or the after-hours lot walk to find THE car, then stroll in, ask politely for a salesperson, do the test drive, have them write it up, and then put my initial offer on the buyer's order. After that, don't talk much, don't discuss how you got there or what fair profit is, or whatever. If you're not at a reasonable price within 15 minutes, you need a different dealer.

    Don't forget to check for incentives on the web, but with Toyota, your salesperson will KNOW what's up and you can only guess. So you need to be a little flexible.

    Finally, do the math and consider a base Vibe with he power package. By the time you add incentives (GM Card, maybe?), one may save you $500 over the other. I like the Vibe better, but thte Matrix will likely have better resale.

    Good luck,

    EDIT: On the 'trix, the ABS is only $300. Get it. Special-order if necessary. In Canada (and MI) it's mandatory.
  • rivertownrivertown Member Posts: 928
    What he (Mathias) said.
    Here's the same approach, with a little different spin:
    "Hey guys, Bobst actually buys a car !!!" Oct 19, 2003 5:23pm

    Notice the emphases on staying out of chat mode and always remembering your option to walk? Here's why: - tid=edmunds.a.landing.buying..4.*

    Two things I'd add:
    Spend $12 on a Consumer Reports printout. Sometimes the pricing data is better than what you can get for free.
    If you wanna save some drive time, you can use the net to locate car and dealer.
  • planetdonplanetdon Member Posts: 3
    Hey Prodigalsun,

    I couln't stop laughing! Nice tips! I'll take that into account... HAHA
  • CarMan@EdmundsCarMan@Edmunds Member Posts: 38,514
    Hi planetdon. I like your choice in cars. The Toyota Matrix is a good, reliable vehicle. Have you checked out the Pontiac Vibe yet? You may want to add it to your shopping list as well. I say this because much like the Toyota Corolla - Chevrolet Prizm of several years ago, the Matrix and Vibe are produced jointly by GM and Toyota. They are very similar vehicles, other than their styling and the fact that the Pontiac can often be purchased for less money.

    As far as shopping advice goes, has a number of excellent articles on how to purchase a new vehicle. Definitely make sure to check out this one prior to going shopping: 10 Steps to Buying a New Car. This article will get you started, but please make sure to let us know if you have any other questions. Thanks.

    Smart Shoppers / FWI Message Boards
  • bobstbobst Member Posts: 1,776
    1) Decide what kind of car you want to buy.

    2) Try to figure out how much it will cost. The info on this website will help.

    3) Go to the dealer and make an offer.

    That's about it.
  • landru2landru2 Member Posts: 638
    that it took 15 posts for someone to mention the Prizm. :^)
  • steine13steine13 Member Posts: 2,818
    He said "excellent interior". That the Prizm does not have. -m
  • landru2landru2 Member Posts: 638
    Sorry, my post didn't convey the sarcasm intended. I just find it somewhat humorous that in any discussion about buying a used car, the vaunted Prizm always makes its way in there. Maybe it's just me. :^)
  • prodigalsunprodigalsun Member Posts: 213
    It's our rainman response. Yeah...Prism...Definitely get a prism...Yeah...Definitely Uh oh, time for Bimmer!
  • xienonxienon Member Posts: 1
    Like planetdon, I'm also looking for a Matrix in Canada. Right now, the level of incentives for Corolla/Matrix here is laughable: 5.9% financing. Does anyone know whether Toyota (or most automakers) will raise their incentive levels for the holiday season?

    Interesting side note: I was watching product showcase (glorified infomercial) on SPEED channel and they referred to the Matrix as the Corolla Matrix. I've read that insurance companies have been using that name but this is the first time I've seen it used in Toyota's marketing efforts.
  • prodigalsunprodigalsun Member Posts: 213
    Here it is, the definitive list of what you should do. ordinarily you would have had to hang out on the edmunds smart shopper board for 2.3 years to get the level of knowledge I am about to impart to you in one post. The following strategies will guarantee the lowest price and the best possible experience.

    1. Do not research the vehicle at all, it's best to unfetter your powers of intuition by keeping the clutter of "facts" and "figures" to a minimum. When you’re asked by the salesman how you arrived at your figures, just say “I cannot reveal my sources, nor will I upon pain of death”.

    2. Understand that the car salesman is there to rip you off, take you for a ride, lead you down the primrose path, and then drop you like a bad habbit. Little known fact, Most car salesman are directly descended from south sea island cannibals. If you see shrunken heads dangling from the rear view mirrors of the service loaners, RUN! How do you best combat these godless fiends? Regardless of what ever spell they try to cast when they open their mouth, shout repeatedly "I'm only paying 4K under invoice!!!"

    3. Pack a lunch, and while negotiating repeatedly offer bites to the salesman, while making wet smacking noises with your lips.

    4. Remember, the Car Salesman will lie to you worse than Ann Coulter on peppermint schnapps, so the only way to combat this is to lie about everything. If your name is Rob, tell them it's Steve. If you want a sports car, tell them you want an SUV, and if you're married, single. You get the idea. If you're a payment buyer, tell them you'll be paying in cash.

    5. Don't bathe for a week prior to shopping.

    6. To ensure best service, Walk into the middle of showroom floor, spread your arms wide to the heavens, and bellow at the top of your lungs: "WHO WANTS TO SELL A CAR TODAY?!?!?" This will result in all salesmen who want to sell a car today to converge on you like hobos on a meat sandwich. Of course, you may see older members of the dealership heading in the opposite direction. This merely means that they probably want to sell a car tomorrow, not today.

    7. Start giggling like a giddy school girl every time the salesman says the words "Trade Allowance", "Parsippany" or "the".

    8. Present your offer in the form of a quadratic equation.

    9 One of the standard tactics of the car dealer is to make you sit and stew while they “present” your offer to the sales manager. Don’t let this throw you. To counteract this insidious approach, bring some novelty glasses with pictures of naked people on the lenses. When the salesman gets up to take your offer, whip them out and announce “Take your time, I’ll just be using my X-Ray vision goggles while your gone.” Put them on and begin leering at other patrons and dealer employees, while whistling appreciatively.

    10: Ignore the previous 9 tips. hang out and listen to the good people here, read the voluminous guides on this site, and then go and make the best deal you can.

    Well, there you have it, your 10 steps to success. Knock yourself out
  • dbgindydbgindy Member Posts: 351
    I preferred the previous #10 more. :-)

  • tknighttknight Member Posts: 1
    Some dealer web sites list documentation/processing fees in the $500-$600 range on top of price and delivery fees. Are these legit or just add'l profit? What fees should I expect to pay in addition to the price I negotiate for the car? I appreciate the help. Thanks.
  • cticti Member Posts: 131
    *** What fees should I expect to pay in addition to the price I negotiate for the car? ***

    This is your problem. You should INCLUDE these fees in whatever price you negotiate. Or more precisely, ignore the fees and deal in an Out-the-Door price. Let the dealership handle itemizing all the charges.

  • cadillacmikecadillacmike Member Posts: 543
    "Wonderful stick shift -- this car is bound to be a dog with the 4sp auto -- real men drive sticks anyway. "


    Actually wrong.

    Real men KNOW HOW to drive a manual transmission but we don't burn up clutches drivving a 33 mile stop n go route evey day!
  • asafonovasafonov Member Posts: 401
    Real men KNOW HOW to drive a manual transmission but we don't burn up clutches drivving a 33 mile stop n go route evey day!

    Real men (or women) have better things to do than commute 33 miles in traffic every day.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Administrator Posts: 11,140
    Let's stick to conversation that relates to the discussion title, please.

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  • graphicguygraphicguy Member Posts: 13,665
    kristie....are you saying prodigalson's post was "off-topic"? I was planning to use some of thsoe techniques.

    We have a Vibe in the family. These aren't speedy by any stretch. Ours is an automatic. While it shifts smoothly, you aren't going to win any stoplight wars with them.

    On the other hand, the Vibe/Matrix does return 35 MPG on the highway and is capable of hauling lawn equipment, mulch and all the "half-stockings" Grandma can put into it.
    2023 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring
  • graphicguygraphicguy Member Posts: 13,665
    kristie....are you saying prodigalson's post was "off-topic"? I was planning to use some of thsoe techniques.

    We have a Vibe in the family. These aren't speedy by any stretch. Ours is an automatic. While it shifts smoothly, you aren't going to win any stoplight wars with them.

    On the other hand, the Vibe/Matrix does return 35 MPG on the highway and is capable of hauling lawn equipment, mulch and all the "half-stockings" Grandma can put into it. Plus, there's about $1,500 from GM to use as incentive money on it.

    Aside from exterior differences, the drivetrain and interiors are identical to the MAtrix.
    2023 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring
  • mattdurginmattdurgin Member Posts: 3
    I'm in the market for a used (2002-2003) pickup, and am looking chiefly at the Toyota Tacoma, but also at the Ford Ranger and Nissan Frontier.

    I live in New England, where we are currently coming to the end of one of the worst winters in recent years. I assume this is the reason that there are hardly any such trucks available at dealerships.

    Also, the few slightly used pickups that are around have inflated pricing. Some of the 2002-2003 Tacomas I've looked at were selling for more than the MSRP of a new Tacoma! Even after bargaining with the dealers, they would not come down more than $500 or so. Demand must be high.

    Does anyone know a good time to buy trucks in the northeast? Will prices get more sensible as we get closer to summer? Any advice is appreciated.
  • asafonovasafonov Member Posts: 401
    No, I think I was off-topic. Mea culpa...
  • mirthmirth Member Posts: 1,212
    Here's tips on car buying from a local dealer here in Detroit that has a weekly Auto Advice radio show. Comments?
  • mirthmirth Member Posts: 1,212
    Another interesting article from the same guy about trade-ins:
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Member Posts: 9,332
    ......... Bud, how many times are you going to post this.? ....... besides, kick the caps .......................

  • corvettecorvette Member Posts: 10,194
    *** many times are you going to post this. ?***

    Eight, so far, according to the search function...
  • fsfrickfsfrick Member Posts: 1
    We recently acquired a Pontiac Vibe. We cannot. however, find the 12 volt accessory outlet. Can you tell us where it is?
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Administrator Posts: 11,140
    You'll get a better response from other owners in our Pontiac Vibe discussion.

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  • nascarqueen24nascarqueen24 Member Posts: 25
    A good afternoon everyone:

    Objective - Know as much about the supply/demand situation of a vehicle before negotiations

    Subject - Is there a place consumers can get info on the inventory levels of a particular model? I presume the higher the # of days of inventory = the more intersted the dealer will be to negotiate.

    Any assistance would be appreciated.

    Kindest Regards From NascarQueen24
  • goddess_1goddess_1 Member Posts: 19
    What kind of leverage can I expect to gain if I can walk into a Mercedes Benz (C240, C320/350, or E320/350) or Volvo (S40 T) dealership with cash/check in hand? I should be in this position with no need to finance within the next 3-6 months. I still have heartburn over buying brand new vs. buying slightly used because of depreciation, but I will have the option of buying new or used. Any thoughts would be appreciated. :shades:
  • bobstbobst Member Posts: 1,776
    From what I have heard, the price will be higher if you pay cash. If you finance the car through the dealer, they will make a good deal of money from the interest charges, so they could sell the car for a slightly lower price.

    We have been paying cash for our cars since 1976 because that is the way we like to do it. I guess we pay more doing it like that, but it makes ti simpler, and that is what we like.
  • goddess_1goddess_1 Member Posts: 19
    Bobst -
    Thanks for your input. I guess I should expect to play a game, then, and not reveal how I plan to finance until the vehicle price is negotiated. Or, I could always lead them to think I'll finance thru them and then "change my mind." Ugh, I hate this process!
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 233,131
    One important thing... Give the dealer every reason to believe that you can and will buy the car, providing you can come to an agreement on price.

    Most dealers will give you their best price, if they are positive you are ready, willing and able to complete the purchase...

    If they feel you are just shopping, they tend to not take you seriously, when it comes to price...

    I think that is more important than whether you are borrowing the money, or writing a check.


    Edmunds Price Checker
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    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • bobstbobst Member Posts: 1,776
    I doubt your scheme would work, Goddess. The dealers sell cars for a living and there is probably no way you can fool them.

    I think it is easier to just be up-front and make a clear offer instead of trying to play a game with sales people who are much more experienced than we are.

    We think buying cars is a very enjoyable experience.
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Member Posts: 9,332
    ... **Mercedes Benz (C240, C320/350, or E320/350) or Volvo (S40 T) dealership with cash/check in hand?** .....

    I think Kyfdx is getting a little carried away with his new position .... you're buying a Benz, maybe a Volvo .. 90% of these buyers pay in cash -- meaning they're probably drawing off a home equity loan or some investment product ... these dealers do very little in finance penetration, so your check (certified) won't raise any eyebrows ...................... ;)

  • thepezzthepezz Member Posts: 1
    An interesting site that mentions the site as a vital resource toconsumers while also offering a product to teach the details of negotiating for a new car in dealerships. It's called Cusrious if there are any comments on it?
  • goddess_1goddess_1 Member Posts: 19
    bobst, kyfdx, & rroyce10 -
    Thanks for your thoughts!
  • jamesamjamesam Member Posts: 15
    I'm pricing the G35, and considering the AWD model. MSRP is $33,710
    Invoice is $31,052. How much should I exepect to pay? Edmunds says expect to pay the full MSRP. That's a dealer profit of $2,660 BEFORE the holdback!!!!
    (FYI-- located in Boston area)
    All advice is appreciated
  • sbell4sbell4 Member Posts: 446
    this is a perfect example of a little information is bad and too much information is never enough.

    The dealer just wants you to buy a car, they do not care if you finance or pay cash. If you finance the car we make a few extra dollars but it really doesnt matter that much.

    Rolled quarters are fine with me for payment but not a credit card.
  • dedler22dedler22 Member Posts: 2
    I'm new to this forum stuff, so I'm sorry if I'm off track.

    Here's the dilema - My pocket book is getting killed b/c I have an 03 Chevy Crew Cab Diesel fully loaded with canopy that's sporting about 13.7MPG in town = $60-$70/week. I'm a Realtor, and needless to say I drive too much! I own it free and clear.

    My wife and I are thinking we need to buy a VW Passat, V6-4 motion. Found a great 03 w/ 25k miles fully loaded for $24k.

    Question 1: Should I buy it? I could pay cash and sell my truck on my own..., or is that even smart? or trade the truck for what I feel is $5000 less than what I can get on my own?

    Question 2: Will it make sense in the long run?

    Please Advise
  • bobstbobst Member Posts: 1,776
    If you go to the Maintenance board in this web site, you will find a topic about Problems and Solutions for Passats. Reading some of the posts could help you decide if you want a car like that.
  • mirthmirth Member Posts: 1,212
    Figure out what your gas savings would be per year and subtract what the new car would cost. I'm guessing $24,000 would buy a lot of gas. So I guess my advice would be to stick with the truck.
  • doublesdoubles Member Posts: 1
    CARNEGOTIATE.COM is a site selling their product about how to buy a new car, but noticed it isn't lniked to dealerships to sell you a car. The $9.95 download was pretty good. :)
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Member Posts: 1,757
    Isn't always amazing that people are always recommending a website on their first post on Edmunds???
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Administrator Posts: 11,140
    Well, all of the info advertised in the download (and more) is available in the Forums and on the main site for FREE - but, if someone wants to pop a tenner for it, go for it.

    I just happen to think that being able to interact with other members in the Forums and ask questions, follow-up questions, and get advice from several people is a better value than a non-interactive guide :)

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  • mitzijmitzij Member Posts: 613
    What next? $10 for a lollypop on your way out of the bank?

    $15 for a brochure about your favorite car? (free at the local dealer)

    I thought there was a line in the member agreement here that we wouldn't advertise...

    Oh yeah, here it is...
    Promotions and Solicitations

    You agree that, except with's prior consent, you will not (either in your Postings or in your profile) solicit or promote any products or services, self-promote, or implore readers to take actions that are intended to further a personal purpose. You agree you will not use information supplied within Forums to do any of the foregoing, via email or any other method. You agree to not gather public email addresses from member profiles for any purpose. You agree not to promote, link to or encourage others to visit auto sites that provide message boards, forums or chats.
  • moostangmoostang Member Posts: 12
    Can anyone give me advice on the best time to buy a convertible? I am really wanting an 06 Mustang GT convertible but do not know whether it would be best to wait until late spring or buy now. Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated. My gut tells me now would be the best time b/c of supply/demand but my pocket book says wait! Any other helpful information is welcome as well! Thank you in advance! Happy new year to all!
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Member Posts: 9,332
    .... *Depending* on where you live .. this time of the year, Yankee territory becomes the FWD, 4WD, SUV, AWD capital of the world ...

    Not too many folks thinkin' "lets buy a RWD convert and drive to Aunt Betty's house 162 miles away in 10 inches of snow" .. so they become pretty stagnant up north ...... that said, let an early spring hit and it will be you and 75,000 others trying to get one and you'll pay the moon ... find a dealer that has more than one, pick a cold snowy day and go-in and make a quick easy deal ....... ;)

  • moostangmoostang Member Posts: 12
    I live in Indiana and I am pretty picky as to what I want -don't know if it will be that easy just walking in and making a deal. I have had the same crappy car for the last 6 years and am finally able to afford what I really want!! Hopefully I can get it together before spring! Thanks for the advice Terry!
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel Member Posts: 19,278
    If you have been in my business you would definatly understand. I wouldn't have either.

    What I don't understand is someone complaining that someone else placing a value on that "lousy" $100. So they want to save $100, you either work with them and get it for them and get the sale or you don't and move on.

    british rover is right. Some deals aren't worth taking.

    It works both ways too (thats my whole point, it works both ways) some deals are not worth taking for the buyer too. As a salesman you cannot forget that.

    2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • rroyce10rroyce10 Member Posts: 9,332
    .... If you live in Indiana there should be a TON of dealers between Chicago and Cleveland that will blow a convert off his lot for a few bucks over, minus and incentives ... it's not like you live in the tropics, come spring that will all change.

    Terry ;)
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