Responsible car shopping

Renault Clio

I spent most of Saturday traipsing around Parramatta looking at the different new cars you can get for $20-25 thousand Australian dollars.

If you are also in the market, you could do worse than buy one of these:

My surprise of the day was discovering how good the Renault cars (Megane sedan and Clio Privilege) were, and how poor the service was at Hyundai.

My credit union has published a guide called Buying a car on your terms. The section under negotiation is reprinted below:

Negotiating

There are three things you should be when dealing with a seller: honest, friendly and firm.

Remember that a dealer is in the business of selling cars and is, presumably, good at it. Some private sellers are also pretty persuasive. But remember that it’s your money and your decision. Don’t be talked into something that doesn’t make sense. And never allow yourself to be hassled by aggressive techniques. If you don’t feel comfortable, leave. If you do stay, perform a thorough road-test, do the other checks, and start negotiating.

Buyers can be as guilty of bending the truth as anyone else. A surprisingly high number are afraid to say “it’s too dear” or “no, I’m not interested”. Instead they pretend they will come back later. This is a waste of everybody’s time. If you say “I like the car but unless you can do better on the price, I think I should keep looking”, you may find that the seller is prepared to accept less.

Another thing worth doing is to leave your name and phone number. It shows you are serious and gives the other party the opportunity to phone you later if they change their mind about accepting a lower price.

Don’t be rushed. Hasty decisions are often poor ones, and there are very few offers in the car world that won’t still be available in the morning. A night’s reflection can do a world of good.

Budget

While I’m here, I might put a plug in for the online budget calculator at Infochoice. Simple, but a handy help to figuring out where your money goes. Remember, though, garbage in = garbage out.

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