Car Price Secrets

The Secrets to Your Lowest Possible Price on a New Car

Car Price Secrets
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Did You Know Every New smart fortwo Has a Secret Price?

It's the low price dealers offer Internet shoppers...

Discover the Dealer's Secret Price

2016 smart fortwo

Price Range: $14,650 to $18,480 Your Price: Ask Us

I thought I'd try your free services since I didn't want all the drama and stress of negotiating the price. It worked! It was so easy to save money and I love my new car!

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Los Angeles, CA

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2016 smart fortwo Overview

Smart's ForTwo microcar has been around these parts since it debuted as a 2008 model, and it's seen few changes since then. Next year, a redesigned ForTwo will debut in the U.S. and the bite-size microcar will get plenty of new bits and pieces. Smart, whose parent company is Mercedes-Benz, says this globally designed ForTwo went through the same development program as the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

A Mercedes-Benz spokesperson confirmed that the turbocharged 90-hp engine as well as manual and automatic transmissions are coming stateside. A new dual-clutch automatic manual transmission and a traditional manual transmission are big steps away from the model's current, unruly single-clutch automatic transmission. Execution is everything, so driving the next-generation ForTwo will be the big tell-all.

Exterior
Smart's signature grille is larger for 2016 and filled with a honeycomb pattern that's available in white, black and silver. New exterior colors include a matte white and Lava Orange metallic that mix with new side accent colors of silver or Lava Orange. Larger headlights have an available LED & Sensor Package that incorporate a pulsating-headlight welcome function when the ForTwo is unlocked. The body is now composed of more ultra-strength steel in the substructure and sidewall to meet more stringent crash tests.

Interior
The interior sports a much more contemporary and playful layout this year. Brightly colored contrasting surfaces complement interesting features like the magnifying-glass climate control and floating touch-screen. Smart says a textile surface akin to the mesh found on sports shoes lines the dashboard and door center panels.

Passion, Prime and Proxy trims offer various levels of content, though what they're called once the car debuts in the U.S. might vary. Standard features include LED daytime running lamps, cruise control, exterior temperature indicator, trip computer and monochrome LCD display. Extras include a leather-wrapped steering wheel, instrument cluster with 3.5-inch color display, heated seats, JBL sound system, touch-screen-based navigation and more.

Under the Hood

Smart's global specifications outline three engines and two transmissions for the European market:  naturally aspirated 60- and 71-hp three-cylinder engines plus a 90-hp, turbocharged three-cylinder. The six-speed dual-clutch automatic and five-speed manual transmission offerings are of significant note because of how poorly the previous single-clutch automated manual transmission performed in our testing.

We're glad to see that transmission bite the dust. Slow shifts and clunky operation impaired acceleration. The turbocharged engine and both transmissions will be available in the U.S., and we hope fuel efficiency improves with that engine over what’s currently available. The current version's 34/38/36 mpg city/highway/combined EPA rating isn't impressive given its microdimensions.

Ride quality also gets attention as Smart aims to make the suspension more comfortable. Smart says the front axle design takes inspiration from the previous C-Class, while the tire sidewalls are taller to enhance ride quality. Smart has done all this work while saying it preserves the ForTwo's tight turning circle. Plus, those with sporting purposes can choose an optional Sports Suspension Package with stiffer springs and a lower ride height.

Safety
Global efforts in meeting stringent safety standards prompted Smart to further develop the ForTwo's safety structure with more ultra-high-strength steel and maximum-strength multiphase steel. Smart says it used the Mercedes C- and S-Class in car-to-car crash-testing to evaluate frontal collisions with larger, heavier cars.

Standard safety features include driver and passenger airbags, a driver's knee airbag and side-impact head and thorax airbags mounted in the seats. A new Crosswind Assist feature helps keep the ForTwo stable in windy situations; when the car starts to drift, the system activates the brakes to help straighten the car along with driver input. A forward collision warning system and lane keeping assist are notable optional features not offered by many competitors.

Overview courtesy of Cars.com

Car Buying Secrets

Consumer Incentives

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?

Finance & Insurance

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?

Additional Costs

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?

Trade-in Value

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?

Dealer Holdback

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?

Dealer Incentives

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?

Get your free quote above and we'll tell you these secrets.

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