Drivers urged to hone negotiating skills

Less than a third of car buyers try to negotiate when purchasing a car, according to a newly released driver survey.

However, a survey of 2,000 motorists commissioned by online automotive marketplace CarGurus found that those who had successfully negotiated a car’s price managed to save, on average, £896.

With combined transactions of new and used cars in the UK totalling over £8.5m in 2022, drivers are collectively forgoing billions of pounds in potential savings by not negotiating.

Buyers aged 18-24 were the most successful in knocking down the price, saving an average of £1,730. This was followed by those over 65, who secured £1,023 off the car’s asking price. Drivers aged 45-54 were the least effective in their negotiations, saving £753 on average.

For buyers that were successful in negotiating, 40% said they compared pricing for similar car models online ahead of time, and 25% refused to budge on how much they were willing to pay. In addition, 18% brought someone with them to help negotiate, while 16% rehearsed the conversation in their head in advance.

Chris Knapman, CarGurus editorial director, said: “Our research has clearly found there are savings to be made for car buyers – even in today’s challenging market – if they’re armed with the right information, and are willing to push through the discomfort to negotiate if required.

“We know for many buyers that negotiating doesn’t come easy, which is why we encourage people to use the power of data to help guide productive conversations with sellers. Preparation is critical to the negotiation process. This includes extensively researching the vehicles at the top of one’s list, considering if a buyer can part exchange their existing car, and being realistic on what makes a fair deal to help negotiations move along as effectively as possible.”