Madam Wheels’ Top 10 Tips to help you drive away happy

Madam Wheels’ ‘Top 10 Tips’ to get you into the car you love


SO, HOW do you go about buying the car you love with the best conditions attached? You know you’re into luxury and you’re ready to move on from the brand you’ve automatically bought for the past five vehicles. But what to choose? 

As a woman, you may not be aware of this but the competition for your attention in the automotive industry is fierce. We are calling most of the shots when it comes to car purchasing decisions and ] the offerings in Australia today are world-class. Anything goes, if you know who to talk to, and in these days of economic prosperity, our automotive appetite appears to be insatiable.

‘It’s been gratifying to watch the cultural shift in response to high-profile misdeeds against women. But that’s unlikely to change things anytime soon on the car showroom floor.’

On that basis, you’d think car salesmen would more or less genuflect every time a woman walked into their showrooms (and I know one or two in Melbourne who almost do, actually). The fact they don’t and that any enthusiasm for actually helping women buyers can be bizarrely absent from the negotiation can lead to women ending up with cars or options they didn’t really want. Buyer’s remorse is a horrible thing. Expensive, too, for those who immediately start thinking of swapping the thing out for the one that got away.

Globally, it’s been gratifying to watch the cultural shift in response to high-profile misdeeds against women. But that’s unlikely to change things anytime soon on the car showroom floor. Sorry, ladies. That’s simply a fact. You know how hard it is to teach an old horse new tricks. And when they’re from Mars, well … just saying. 

In the face of this dull reality, your best defence really is offence - get armed and be dangerous. Scare the buggers. I promise you, it’s not hard to do. It simply requires a little research and preparation. A little fake-it-till-you-make-it. Unless you’re desperate for the car (which you ABSOLUTELY can’t reveal, see Point 1), be as nonchalant and bored as you like. 

Acting classes? Not a bad idea. And how fun would that be, anyway, as a side interest!! In the meantime, here are my top 10 tips for negotiating your way to a better deal.

Madam Wheels’ top tips to get women into the cars they love

1. Go into every dealership knowing that woman are in a position of power. There’s massive competition between car brands for the woman buyer. Sales is a psychological game. Don’t be a pushover. Say no until they say yes. And if they don’t say yes, say you’re moving on to the next dealership. Make them work for your business. And do the follow-up negotiations over the phone to take the sales bluster out of things. It gets irritating.

2. Choose the largest dealerships in the brands you’re interested in. The cost of running those businesses is huge, so they need to move metal - 200 cars a month in some places. Sales staff usually have quotas which, if they don’t reach, they don’t get paid. The pressure is on them to perform.

3. Have at least three different dealerships in play, even if you want a particular car, and even if one of those dealerships is in a different state. If the locals know you’re willing to shop around, they’ll be more likely to deal.

4. Keep the emotion out of things. Don’t EVER reveal you’re in love with a car, even if you are. If you start talking leather finishes, paint colour and the earliest-possible delivery date, the only thing the salesman will hear is, “Ka-ching!”.

5. Avoid buying a car when it’s first coming to market. If you can wait until showrooms are fully stocked, there will be more prospect of a better price and conditions. Dealerships will generally do a much better deal for you if the car’s in stock. If you can see three on the showroom floor, there’s probably another five out the back. They’re paying finance on a lot of these cars so the longer they sit in the showroom, the more it’s costing them.

6. Understand the competition, and play one brand against the other. If a sales guy’s good, he’s going to ask you, “So, what other cars are you looking at?” If you’re considering a Range Rover, you wouldn’t say a Toyota Kluger, because they’re so different. But if you say you’re looking at an Audi Q7, they’ll think, “Ok. So I’m up against Audi.” Be informed.

7. Do your research. That’s easy to do these days with so many websites competing to get auto news to market first.
carsales.com.auautoevolution.com and carbuzz.com are my top-three picks. 

8. Don’t add options to a new car if you can retro-fit them after purchase. GST and stamp duty are applied to the total cost of a new car, then the Luxury Car Tax of up to 33 per cent is applied on top of all that. If you want a $1000 roof rack, add it after delivery or it will end up costing you more like $1500 as part of the deal. Factory-fitted options are the only one you’ll need to factor in. Get the rest built in at the first service.

9. Be firm but nice. Play to the ego. Remember, sales is a psychological game and salesmen are just as human as the rest of us (for the most part). They can be softened into giving a better deal. Of course, they’ll be hoping for referral business as a result which could earn them much more in the long run.

10. Make sure everything you negotiate is written down. If you want mats in your car, ask for them and have the details documented. It’s annoying when you’ve paid more than $200,000 for a car and, when it turns up, the mats are missing. Make sure you get them.