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Bankrate's 2007 New Car Guide
Dollar$ & $en$e
Status and styling aside, many car-buying decisions boil down to bucks and budgets.
Dollar$ & $en$e
Select a conversation:
Green Pea (salesman):
"Hi, I'm Todd. What's your name?"
  [And phone number?]
Easy Mark (customer):
"Steffani. My rear window defogger is broken and I saw on TV you have zero down on the new model and the payments are even lower than mine."
  [Do they have a pink one?]
Green Pea:
"It's a great deal if your credit is good. Do you plan to trade yours in?"
  [Is she as clueless about the value of her own car?]
Easy Mark:
"Well duh. I mean, the defogger doesn't work and everything."
  [I wonder if they'll still take it?]
Green Pea:
"We're offering some great incentives with our 72-month lease package right now. Would that interest you?"
Easy Mark:
"Sure. Can I drive it home today?"
  [Bills, schmills. I can't wait to show off my new ride.]
Where she went wrong:
Or should we say right? In order of missteps, Ms. Easy Mark 1) expressed displeasure with her current car, 2) indicated she would be leasing from the dealer instead of buying, 3) revealed she would be trading in her current car, 4) bought into an extended lease term sight unseen and 5) indicated she was in a hurry to close the deal.
Even a Green Pea (rookie salesman) can easily pack on extra profit when he's seen your full hand. Remember: Buying a new car involves three separate transactions -- the car price, the trade-in value and the financing.
If you know before you hit the lot the price you're willing to pay, what your trade-in is worth and the financing terms you can live with, you won't be anyone's easy mark.

By Jay MacDonald -- Posted: Aug. 2, 2007

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