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Jun 21, 2010

Step 6: Driving a Hard Bargain (Buying a Car)

Back: Step 5 - Evaluation (buying a car)

My evaluation complete, I was ready to march into the dealership and drive a hard bargain for my car of choice, the Suzuki Swift. This meant not only getting the lowest price, but also getting the most value, which translated into:
  1. Minimizing the trade-offs of choosing the Suzuki over the Jazz and Yaris.
  2. Loads of free extras.

Minimizing Trade-offs:
From my evaluation I knew that the Jazz and Yaris were better in the following respects:
  1. The Jazz had the most spacious trunk, followed by the Yaris
  2. Both the Yaris and the Jazz had a full-sized spare, unlike the Swift's "compact" spare.
  3. The Jazz's speakers sounded better better than the Swift's.
This knowledge was useful because it allowed to me exert pressure on the dealer by highlighting the strengths of rival options whilst avoiding the points I was already sold on:

"I like the Swift, but some other cars I looked it have more space in the trunk -- what can you offer to make up for the fact that I can't fit my desktop computer in the trunk of this car?"
"The Swift is a fine car, but the sound system in some other cars is much clearer. What can we do to get better speakers in there?"

Note: the object is not to demand the unattainable, but exploit the weaknesses of your preferred option in order to minimize its trade-offs. This also helped to keep me from becoming enamoured of my first choice, which would have played into the dealer's hands.

Getting Loads of Free Extras:
In order to get loads of extras, I'd have to use good-old-fashioned haggling. There are a few things that made this difficult for, the two most pertinent being:
  • Experience in negotiations: the dealer negotiates a car's final price every day, whereas for me this is a journey into unfamiliar territory.
  • Recall under pressure: It's hard to remember everything when you're in the spotlight. Just think of any TV game show...
Enter bCisive Online, again:

Since bCisive Online had helped me to work out my car of choice, I decided to use it create an inviting checklist for the final negotiation:

Now here's a checklist I can follow under pressure!

Because bCisive Online does not rigidly conform to a particular methodology, it gives me the freedom to build a map to suit my purpose. This time, rather than use it to weigh up my options in pursuit of a decision, my bCisive Online map served as a road map for the journey to the dotted line.

After an intense session of haggling, we finally agreed on the following;

How much did I pay? To be honest, I slightly exceeded my self-imposed limit of $17,000 , but I got value for money. Had I been on a strict budget, I'd have been well placed to determine what to leave out and what to drive hard for.

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