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I have never owned a car before. I am college student and I work part time. I have $1,000 with which to purchase transportation. I have almost no credit history. I don

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Patty Streeter,  at The fall is one of the best times of year to get the best deal on makes and models in stock at dealerships as the 2008 models move onto dealer showrooms. If you are planning to shop soon for a new car or truck, here are 11 tips to help you get the best possible deal. A new car is second only to a home as the most expensive purchase many consumers make. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, the average price of a new car sold in the United States as of June 2006 was $28451. That's why it's important to know these car buying tips. Tips for buying a new car: New Car Buying Tip 1: Think about what car model and options you want and how much you're willing to spend. Do some research. You'll be less likely to feel pressured into making a hasty or expensive decision at the dealer and more likely to get a better deal. New Car Buying Tip 2: Check publications at a library or bookstore, or on the Internet, that discuss new car prices and features. These may provide information on the dealer's costs and invoice prices for specific models and options. New Car Buying Tip 3: Shop around to get the best possible price by comparing models and prices in ads and at dealer showrooms. You also may want to contact car-buying services and broker-buying services to make comparisons. New Car Buying Tip 4: Plan to negotiate on price. Dealers may be willing to bargain on their profit margin, often between 10 and 20 percent. Usually, this is the difference between the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) and the invoice price or even invoice price if you shop close to the end of the month. New Car Buying Tip 5: Because the price is a factor in the dealer's calculations regardless of whether you pay cash or finance your car -- and also affects your monthly payments -- negotiating the price can save you money. Even better is to have your financing already completed and obtaining multiple loan offers to review and select allow you to not only save money on the financing, but have more opportunity to negotiate a better price of the new car. You can pre-qualify for a new car loan at the AskPatty Auto Finance Center, your own bank or your credit union. New Car Buying Tip 6: Consider ordering your new car if you don't see what you want on the dealer's lot. This may involve a delay, but autos on the lot may have options you don't want -- and that can raise the price. However, dealers often want to sell their current inventory quickly, so you may be able to negotiate a good deal if an in-stock car meets your needs. Negotiations often have a vocabulary of their own. New Car Buying Tip 7: Invoice Price is the manufacturer's initial charge to the dealer. This usually is higher than the dealer's final cost because dealers receive rebates, allowances, discounts, and incentive awards. Generally, the invoice price should include freight (also known as destination and delivery). If you're buying a car based on the invoice price (for example, "at invoice," "$100 below invoice," "two percent above invoice"), and if freight is already included, make sure freight isn't added again to the sales contract. New Car Buying Tip 8: Base Price is the cost of the car without options, but includes standard equipment and factory warranty. This price is printed on the Monroney sticker. New Car Buying Tip 9: Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price or Sticker Price (MSRP) shows the base price, the manufacturer's installed options with the manufacturer's suggested retail price, the manufacturer's transportation charge, and the fuel economy (mileage). Affixed to the car window, this label is required by federal law, and may be removed only by the purchaser. New Car Buying Tip 10: Dealer Sticker Price , usually on a supplemental sticker, is the MSRP sticker price plus the suggested retail price of dealer-installed options, such as additional dealer markup (ADM) or additional dealer profit (ADP), dealer preparation, and undercoating. New Car Buying Tip 11: Before you start shopping for an auto, you'll need to do some research. Spending time now may save you serious money later. Think about your driving habits, your needs, and your budget. You can learn about car models, options, and prices by reading newspaper ads, both display and classified or by going online to a site that offer extensive content (such as our auto research page)

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