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I really like the new Hummer H3. I want to buy one, how should I approach the dealership to ensure I get what I want and get the best deal?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Patty Streeter,  at AskPatty.com Get information on the pricing! Finding out the invoice price (what the dealer paid for the vehicle) and the sticker price (what the dealer wants you to pay) will give you an idea of how much wiggle room you’ll have when talking to a salesperson. Research a dealer’s website before you visit. Find out whether they have the vehicle you want on the lot. You can also get a great feel for the dealership itself by reviewing its virtual lot. Looking to trade? Run your vehicle through the Kelly Blue Book calculator (or another online trade appraisal guide) to get an idea of its value. When doing this, be honest about the condition of your vehicle – this is your key to getting a fair value for your trade-in. Know your situation. Call your bank or credit union and find out what they can do for you for financing. Get a copy of your credit bureau and find out what your score is. Having these financial aspects already on your mind is helpful when you get ready to finance your vehicle. Ask for recommendations. Ask friends, family and co-workers whether they were satisfied when they bought their last vehicle. This can give you a key to which dealerships are worth your time and which are not. Find a dealership that you are comfortable with. Take a walk through the service and parts departments of the dealership you’re considering purchasing from, as well as the customer areas and showroom. The actual purchase of the vehicle is a small segment of the vehicle’s life – chances are that you’ll spend much more time in the customer areas for service and parts! Don’t be afraid to shop around. One of the most frustrating aspects of being a female car shopper is when a salesperson spends more time addressing the male friend or family member you brought with you. Similarly, if you are harassed or demeaned by a salesperson, whether directly or not, don’t put up with the behavior. You have the right to ask to speak to a manager and request another salesperson. If this fails, or if this isn’t an option, find another dealership! Know what you want – and what you want to spend. Each new vehicle on the market today comes with a dizzying array of add-ons. Options and Packages These options are a great way to get exactly what you want on a vehicle, but will sometimes add to the purchase price of the vehicle. Know what features you really want, and don’t be afraid to decline on the ones you don’t. Be involved. If you’re trading in a vehicle, ask your salesperson (or the person performing the appraisal) to do a walk-around with you. During this, they will point out any issues they see with your trade (including rust, scratches, spots in the paint, etc.) If you’re given a quote for your trade that is vastly different from the value you found through Kelly Blue Book (or another online appraisal guide), it will give you an opening to ask how the figure was arrived at. Don’t feel pressured to purchase on the spot. Frequently, if you finance your purchase through the dealer, they will offer extended warranties, as well as add-on protection plans. Ask how long you have to make a decision for these plans. Many of these plans can be purchased through the dealer up to thirty days after you purchase your vehicle. Take home the paperwork and consider whether this plan will be worth it to you. If you keep these tips in mind, your next car buying experience should be a breeze. Good luck!

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