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Thrill-seekers, beware. Emotional car shoppers who succumb to the excitement of the chase for a new ride, risk buckling into a deal that can leave them in tears.

This is especially true during the holiday season with all its ups and – alas -- downs. Yes, you're particularly vulnerable at this time of year, says your would-be car buying therapist, Dr. Deals of the Week. A little seasonal counseling is in order.

Car sellers, for their part, know very well that your heart will betray you if you become emotionally involved in buying a new car or light truck. That's why the sharpest sellers work so hard to seduce you with an alluring vehicle and a deal to match. When we fall in love, we usually lose our minds at least for a little while.

Thus, focus on remaining emotionally detached when car shopping. To put it another way, avoid going into "new‑car heat". Get giddy after you've made your best deal. Most of all, remember that your feet are your best negotiating tool. There's power in your willingness to walk.

To keep you grounded, and as a holiday warning at a time when the marketplace is rich with end-of-year/holiday deals, here are a few insights into common sales tactics in the car business:

  1. The buddy system: good sales people really do look for a win-win, but don’t mistake that for the sales person being on your side. Sometimes sellers are, indeed, fighting management tooth and nail to get you the lowest price. However, in most instances the seller is working primarily or even exclusively on commission. As the selling price goes down, so does the seller’s pay. Rule: if the seller must leave negotiations more than once to talk to the manager about the deal, walk.
  2. The silent treatment: don’t wait alone for very long while a seller checks with the sales manager or business. Your time is valuable and you don’t have it to waste waiting around alone for the seller to get an answer.
  3. The bump and grind: if the seller returns from a meeting with his boss asking for a small “bump” to the monthly payment you’ve negotiated – say, $50 “to help him out” – say no.
  4. The lowball offer: Beware of the salesperson who quotes a price, only to return confessing “the boss wouldn’t go for it.”
  5. Hostage-taking: do not write a deposit cheque as evidence you’re serious about an offer. That makes you a hostage, tied up from shopping around for a better deal. Agree to a deposit only when the whole deal is finalized.
  6. The limited-time offer: If you come to a price, then ask for time to consider such a big decision, some sales people will say they can’t guarantee that price for tomorrow. You say that’s fine, you’ll find that price somewhere else. Witness the attitude change.

As for holiday deals here at the end of December, Deals of the Week consulted with unhaggle.com, Car Help Canada, carcostcanada.com, and other sources on these offers. Pricing information here is subject to change and dealer discounts vary, so consult your dealer for all the final details, including expiry dates for all offers.

Wieck

2015 Ford Escape 4WD Titanium

  • MSRP: $34,199
  • Freight, dealer prep, air conditioning tax: $1,785
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $2,105
  • Factory discount: $750 (holiday incentive)
  • Taxable subtotal: $33,129
  • Total price with 13 per cent HST: $37,435.77
  • All incentives are available with 1.99 per cent financing for 48 or 60 months, a 2.99 per cent finance rate for 84 months. A $1,250 factory incentive is available with a zero per cent lease rate for 48 months.

Mazda

2015 Mazda Mazda3 Hatchback Sport Automatic GS

  • MSRP: $22,095
  • Freight, dealer prep, fees and air conditioning tax: $1,830
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $855
  • Factory discount: $500 (holiday bonus)
  • Factory discount: $500 (loyalty incentive)
  • Taxable subtotal: $22,070
  • Total price with 13 per cent HST: $24,939.10
  • A $500 factory incentive and the holiday bonus are available with 0.99 per cent financing for 48 months, 1.49 per cent for 60 months, 2.79 per cent for 84 months. A $500 factory incentive and the holiday bonus are available with a lease rate of 1.49 per cent for 48 months or 2.49 per cent for 60 months. A one per cent loyalty rate reduction is available with finance and lease rates.
Hyundai

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 4WD 2.0T Premium

  • MSRP: $32,999
  • Freight, dealer prep, AC tax: $1,930
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $1,418
  • Factory discount: $1,000 (manufacturer incentive)
  • Factory discount: $1,000 (Boxing Day sale)
  • Taxable subtotal: $31,511
  • Total price with 13 per cent HST: $35,607.43
  • A $1,000 factory incentive and the Boxing Day bonus are available with zero per cent financing for 48 months, 0.99 per cent for 60 months, 1.99 per cent for 84 months; or, a 5.49 per cent lease rate for 48 or a 6.09 per cent lease rate 60 months. A 0.25 per cent loyalty reduction rate is available with finance and lease rates.

General Motors

2015 GMC Terrain 4WD SLT SLT-1

  • MSRP: $34,465
  • Freight, PDI, AC tax: $1,785
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $1,910
  • Factory discount: $500 (Boxing Day sale)
  • Factory discount: $750 (loyalty rebate)
  • Taxable subtotal: $34,020
  • Total price with 13 per cent HST: $38,442.60
  • Factory incentives are available with a zero per cent finance rate for 48 months, 0.49 per cent for 60 months, 1.49 per cent for 84 months, or a 0.90 per cent lease rate for 48 months, 1.9 per cent for 60 months.
Pricing information source:

and

. Calculations based on Ontario customers. Please note that while the information above is accurate at the time of publication, incentives are given at the discretion of individual dealers, and may be changed or discontinued at any time. Where noted, "dealer discounts" are negotiated with the customer on a case-by-case basis. Unhaggle Savings are actual discounts received by Unhaggle customers.

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