From Ford to Toyota to BMW, automakers’ sales have stalled – plunging to a 26-year low in November – as cash-strapped consumers cut back on spending. But there’s a silver lining if you’re in the market for a new ride. With lots nearly full and salesmen sitting idle, the Big Three and their competitors are pushing big bargains: employee pricing, 0% financing and cash incentives among others. But to be a savvy car shopper, you need a strategy.
Over the summer, it was mostly SUVs and pickups that dealers were finding impossible to move off their lots. That was due to the soaring gas prices, but since the economy cratered in the fall, everything from a Hummer to a Ford Focus is on the table for a bargain, so you are well positioned whatever you are looking for. Fix recommends never telling a dealer how much you want to spend and never saying if you are looking to lease or buy. Also, if you’re looking to trade in your current set of wheels for something new, don’t assume that the dealer is going to give you the best deal. Consider selling the car on your own and then going to a dealer with cash in hand ready to buy.