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Honest John: How to buy a car from a dealer

Time 9:52 am, September 16, 2013

4926HONEST JOHN has teamed up with to provide customers with a few top-tips on how to get the best deal for their new car.

Having been answering customer enquiries in the Daily Telegraph for more than 18 years, Honest John says before you go out into the market it’s vital you ‘do your research’.

‘The internet is a great friend to anybody buying a car now,’ says Honest John. ‘Customers can look up every car, they can look up what goes wrong with them, they can look up what people are asking for them and they can know where they are before they actually enter the dealership.’

While research is of strong importance, Honest John also believes that working out your personal budget is key to getting the best deal. ‘Work out how much you’ve got to spend and how much you can comfortably afford to spend on a car,’ he explains. ‘The last thing you want to do is saddle yourself with a big debt on a depreciating asset.’

Next on this list is making sure you plan before you visit: ‘Go into the dealership with a plan, don’t wander in aimlessly,’ he explains. ‘You’ve got to know exactly what you want from the car, what you want its running costs to be, what you want its insurance to be and most of all, how much you’re going to pay for it.’

Then there’s the test drive. How many buyers actually put a lot of thought into their first drive of a potential new vehicle? Honest John says when you go out on a test drive, ‘you’re trying to find out how you get on with the car’ and it’s wise to stop on your route.

‘The second time you drive a car, you find out things that you didn’t realise the first time – you feel much more familiar with it the second time.’

Finally, Honest John says go in ‘clued-up’, because ultimately, dealers ‘know a lot more about negotiating than you do’. He says that by researching prices that private sellers and other dealers are asking for cars, you’ll be in a much better negotiating position.

Do you agree with Honest John, or do you have a different view? Tweet us at @cardealermag with your thoughts.


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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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