Can you pay less than MSRP to buy new car?

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Dear Driving for Dollars,
For cars made by manufacturers that we don’t hear are in financial trouble, what percentage off the sticker price should I target?
— Mac

Dear Mac,
There’s no set percentage to aim for when negotiating a deal on a new car. Certain models of cars from the same carmaker can be very popular and therefore not available at much of a discount off MSRP, or manufacturer’s suggested retail price. At the same time, other models from the same carmaker might be slower sellers and therefore available for a lot less than the sticker price.

That said, most cars can be purchased for less than sticker price if you do a little research first and negotiate well. Start by looking for the invoice price of the new car (what the dealer paid) on a third-party, vehicle information website and what the cars are selling for in your area. Use the Internet to research what rebates and incentives are currently available for that new car. Armed with that information, you can then visit a dealership and negotiate a fair price.

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If you have a car question, e-mail it to us at Driving for Dollars. Read more Driving for Dollars columns and Bankrate auto stories.

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