TADA

Trillium Automobile Dealers Association

Serving the interest of Ontario New Car
and Truck Dealerships for over 100 years

Ten steps to take when buying a new car

Created on Saturday, 18 December 2010

Some car buyers spend months researching and shopping for the best deal. Others make quick decisions without thinking twice about what they're buying.

In fact, based on trends and experiences, many car buyers today don't shop for particular makes and models anymore. They look for price, often asking us what they can buy for a specific monthly payment (regardless of the make or type of vehicle)! In other words, the payment is the driving factor, not the product.

When purchasing a new vehicle, consumers owe it to themselves to be fully engaged in the process. They should consider all aspects of their purchase — not just price.

For those who are in the market for a new vehicle (particularly first-time buyers), here are 10 easy steps to make the car buying process go smoothly.

  1. Affordability. First, calculate how much vehicle you can honestly afford. This may seem self-evident, but prudence goes a long way. If you need to borrow, determine the maximum you can pay monthly without affecting other obligations such as mortgage, rent, food and utilities.
  2. Needs versus wants. You may want a sports coupe, but a crossover may be more practical. Determine your driving habits, lifestyle, and work backwards from there. Buying the wrong vehicle may make for an unpleasant ownership experience.
  3. Research. Newspapers, magazines, manufacturer's brochures and the Internet contain a wealth of information. Read consumer reports and vehicle reviews. Talk to friends and colleagues about their vehicles. By the time you're ready to buy, you should have narrowed the choices to the products that meet your specific needs.
  4. Insurance. Get a quote on insurance coverage for the specific makes and models you are interested in. Don't wait until after you have selected a vehicle. Insurance costs should always be factored into the affordability equation.
  5. Choosing a dealership. Consider location, staff, cleanliness and reputation when choosing where to buy. All new car dealers are anxious to "earn" your business. You should feel comfortable with the facility and the staff, and how they respect their customers.
  6. Test drives. Never buy a vehicle without driving it first. Turn off the radio and avoid all distractions (cell phones, conversations). Use this opportunity to ascertain how the vehicle handles and performs in various driving conditions.
  7. Incentives. These are meant to attract buyers with time-sensitive offers on specific models. Consumers should always read the manufacturers' or dealerships' printed materials, which should include eligible models, the cost of borrowing, down payment required, administrative costs, etc.
  8. Price. Nobody wants to overpay and yet price can sometimes stand in the way of a fair deal. A fair price is one where the dealership, the salesperson and the customer are satisfied. Be realistic (see affordability). The agreed price will be the basis for calculating monthly finance or lease payments.
  9. After-sale service. Familiarize yourself with the Service Department. Before the sale is finalized, a visit there will be a good indication of the care and attention that is given to customers and their vehicles. The new vehicle delivery process will then likely include a re-introduction to this area of the dealership and the after-sales service support you can expect.
  10. Taking delivery. Try to schedule your pick-up for a weekday, as opposed to a Saturday. Ask your salesperson how much time is needed to complete this process (one or two hours will usually suffice). If you're trading in a vehicle, ensure that it's in the same condition as when it was appraised. Inspect your new vehicle thoroughly. Inform your salesperson about any physical or mechanical issues, or defects.

This step-by-step process will help put you behind the wheel of the right vehicle, which will be both affordable and meet your needs.


Go back to Cohen Editorials 2010 »

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