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Los Angeles, CA
Price Range (MSRP): $16,495 (Dart) to $29,995 (Durango)
Dodge offers an exciting lineup of passenger cars and SUVs for 2015, including the Challenger and Charger, which get large updates for the new model year.
The compact Dart is the smallest car in Dodge's lineup but also one of its most flexible with three different engines and numerous trim configurations. Leading the pack is the 160-hp, turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder which returns the best fuel economy in Dodge's lineup, 27/39 mpg city/highway.
One of the most exciting cars Dodge makes is the Charger, which combines the practicality of a full-size family sedan with the fun of a muscle car. This full-size sedan has been refreshed for 2015, with new exterior styling that changes the front of the Charger dramatically.
An ode to Dodge’s past, the Challenger muscle car features retro styling that makes it look similar to the old model from the 70’s. It also gets a large number of changes for 2015, including styling tweaks to the front/rear and big changes to the interior, which adds new features and upgraded materials along with a new dashboard design.
A pair of crossovers also populates Dodge’s offerings. First up is the midsize Journey, which offers five- or seven-seats depending on whether or not you opt for a third-row.
The Durango got an update last year, which changed the styling and added a host of tech options. The three-row Durango seats six or seven passengers, and is one of the best looking SUVs on the road with its unique taillight configuration and high stance.
Wrapping things up is the Grand Caravan minivan. The second- and third-rows of the Grand Caravan conveniently fold flat into the floor when you need more cargo space and the seven-seater still features Chrysler’s powerful Pentastar V-6 under the hood.
The Avenger has been discontinued for 2015.
Zero percent financing, employee discount, cash back, out-the-door price tags...
Most dealers work hard to offer the public competitive prices. These incentives can grab your attention, but they can also obscure the actual terms you're getting on your purchase.
How can you fully understand incentives to get the lowest possible price on your car?
Most state franchise laws prohibit manufacturers from selling cars directly to the public, so the dealer will be your middleman. But in terms of financing and insurance, you can choose a bank or the dealer directly.
How can you determine what's in your best interest?
Destination charges, taxes, license and title fees, advertising fees... When going to a dealership, you must ask for an explanation of any fee you don't understand. But you need to choose your battles wisely. Your local car dealer may have taken a loss or slim profit along the way, and your fighting over something like a doc fee when the deal is nearly wrapped up may be counterproductive.
In any case, there are many fees and charges in the sale process: some inevitable, others questionable.
How do you tell them apart?
If you currently own a car, it probably represents profit. The question is, whose profit will it be?
With few exceptions, you'll get the most money for your used car by selling it privately. That's because dealers pay wholesale prices — not retail prices — for used cars, and they sell them at retail.
Your current car's value can be used to lower the price on your new car. However, most people underestimate their used car's value when going to a dealership.
How can you maximize your value?
The car manufacturer holds back a fraction of the price of all vehicles the dealership sells. Then, it returns the money to the dealership, usually on a quarterly basis.
Dealer holdback began its life as a safety net that ensured the manufacturers would have a security deposit of sorts if a dealership missed payments, and the dealerships would have money on hand to cover overhead costs when the holdback was returned.
How can you take advantage of dealer holdbacks to get the bottom line price?
Unlike consumer incentives, dealer incentives are factory-to-dealer incentives that reduce the dealer's true cost to buy the vehicle from the factory to below invoice.
Manufacturers offer these incentives on a regional basis to generate sales on specific models. These incentives are sometimes referred to as "spiffs," and they can touch off competition among dealers to move slower-selling stock.
For instance, a dealer incentive may kick in when a certain sales target is reached, with each subsequent sale resulting in a higher factory-to-dealer rebate.
How can you benefit from that?