How to get a deal when new car prices are surging

Some popular models selling higher than sticker price

SAN ANTONIO – If you have your heart set on buying a new car this year, be prepared to pay significantly more.

Shortages on parts, new car inventory, inflation, and a recovering economy have caused prices to skyrocket. But there are some steps you can take to get the best deal possible.

Some vehicles are so hard to come by that many buyers are paying well above sticker price. For example, Consumer Reports says it has seen the Jeep Compass selling for 15% over MSRP, the Chevrolet Silverado 2500 selling 17% over and the 2021 Kia Telluride selling for 18% over MSRP.

If you don’t need a car, it can pay to wait. But if you can’t wait, Consumer Reports says there are steps you can take to get the best deal possible considering the market.

Your best bet, according to Consumer Reports, is to choose a model that isn’t in such high demand. And, when you are ready to go head-to-head with a salesperson at the dealership, be prepared to negotiate.

“Let the salesperson know you have researched the transaction price for the car and trim level you want,” said Consumer Reports Auto Editor Jon Linkov.

This means you should know approximately what the dealer paid for it and already calculated what you are prepared to pay. If the salesperson can meet your target price, let them know you’ll be ready to buy immediately and if not, you intend to visit other dealerships.

“The salesperson will try to keep the focus on your monthly payment. Insist on negotiating one thing at a time,” Linkov said. “Only after you’ve locked in the price of your new car, should you begin to discuss a trade-in or financing.”

Speaking of trade-ins, since the used car market is also tight, Consumer Reports says your older car will probably never be worth more than it is right now, so there is no reason a dealership shouldn’t give you at least its wholesale value as a trade-in allowance.

If the trade-in discussions become too burdensome, but you’re not willing to pull out of the new-car deal, you can always sell the car elsewhere, including CarMax and online retailers like Carvana and Tred.


About the Author:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.