Car Dealers Have Some of the Best Advertising Techniques

An Introduction to the Car Buying Guide

"Just click here and this beautiful convertible can be yours for $1 under invoice. Unbelievable! And we've got 0% financing. Even more unbelievable! And we'll give you a free computer when you buy from us! And we guarantee the value of your trade-in!

Listen to the hype—whether it's on TV, online, or in print—and you'd think saving money on a vehicle is as easy and fast as flipping the TV remote. Wrong!

Did you know a dealer or online auto service can sell or lease you a new set of wheels for exactly what the dealer paid the manufacturer and still make $500 to $1,500 on just the car itself?

Did you know that "Zero Percent" financing may cost you more than financing at a bank or credit union—even if the bank or credit union's rate is 7 percent?

Do you hate dealing with dealers and are considering buying or leasing a vehicle online—or from a buying service—just so you won't have to deal with the dealer yourself? Guess what? You have to deal with a dealer, even if you use a buying service! All new vehicle sales—repeat, all—have to involve a dealer.

Do you think the Internet has made it safer for you to research and/or acquire a new vehicle? Think again! Since 2008, the entire auto business has been ripped apart, reinvented, and re-launched. "In an instant, your privacy, your money, and your good credit can be stripped away—and that's if you're dealing with the 'good' car guys!" That quote, from the new edition of my book Don't Get Taken Every Time, sums it up. (Read the Intro (PDF) and Chaper 1 (PDF) of the book.)

That's why I've written this special buying guide for you. For over twenty years, I've tracked the inner workings of the auto industry. As President and co-founder of the non-profit Consumer Task Force for Automotive Issues, and as co-founder of the Privacy Rights Now Coalition, I've pretty much seen it all when it comes to wacky sales gimmicks, deception, and consumer abuse. And, it's my sworn duty to keep those things from happening to you!

And will this guide work! If you follow this guide, you can probably keep thousands of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket rather than the dealer's.

A major promise up-front: This guide is about educating you, not trying to hype you. This guide provides you an oasis from the pressure, confusion, and deception that is rampant in the auto industry and on the Web. And it gives you straight answers.

We can make that promise because our goals are different than the other players in the auto industry. A dealer or their finance sources have two objectives: to sell you their product or service (whether or not it's the right product for you), and to sell it to you at the maximum price you will pay. Our job, on the other hand, is to make sure you buy what's best for you, and to make sure you pay the least for it.

Thanks for reading. Your pocketbook, as they say, will thank you.


Read the online guide here.

Table of Contents

  1. What's Really Happening—Dealership Tactics
  2. Buying a Vehicle the Information Edge Way
  3. Research Before You Shop
  4. Buying a New Vehicle—The Right Way
  5. Your Second Visit to the Dealership—Negotiating the Right Way
  6. Buying a Used Car
  7. Leasing a Vehicle
  8. The Reward