Tips for negotiating with a car dealer

Tuesday April 9 2019

When you start visiting dealers, focus on the

When you start visiting dealers, focus on the vehicle you want, not the one they want to sell you. File photo 

By Roland D. Nasasira

Negotiating when buying a car is not easy since there are high chances of being misled.
Edson Atwiine, who bought his Toyota Camry at Shs18m in 2015 from a bond in Kyambogo, Kampala, says one of the mistakes that prospective motorists do is walk to one car bond, choose a car and pay without bargaining.

“When I was buying my car, I took time and visited five bonds to compare prices. When I discovered that the cost of the car was within the same range of Shs20m to Shs25m, I zeroed down on one dealer and the bargaining process started. The asking price was Shs25m but we ended up agreeing on a mutual cost of Shs22m,” Atwiine recalls.

The advantage of visiting more than one bond before paying for the car is that it provides you with information that you would have missed out on. For example, you could miss out on the same car you want with a lower mileage which can serve you longer and end up paying for one with a higher mileage.

Terms of payment
Overtime, terms of payment for a car are introduced because of the fact that some prospective motorists do not walk to the bond with all the required moneys in a lump sum. Different cars have different costs while dealers have also come up with different terms of payment to attract customers.
Mathias Kakwenda, a car dealer in Kireka, Kampala, says it is possible to drive a car of your choice even when you have not paid the full amount asked.

“If the car you want costs Shs30m, there are provisions to pay for 70 or 80 per cent of Shs30m and discuss with the dealer terms of paying the balance. Usually, they will ask you to pay a given amount, say Shs700,000 per month for a given period of time not exceeding eight months,” Kakwenda explains.

He adds that if the payment period elapses before you complete payments but have been consistent in remitting your monthly installments to the dealer and there has been constant communication, some dealers extend the grace period until you complete payment because the communication yielded trust.

Bank arrangement
In this arrangement, the bank pays for the car of your choice from the dealer and you are tasked to deposit a discussed monthly amount to the bank until you complete payment. The paper work (logbook and car card) are only transferred into your names upon completion of payments.

Know the car
Before you walk to the car dealer’s premises, Abby Ddungu, a car dealer, advises you to equip yourself with knowledge about the car you wish to buy. This includes the local or current cost of the car because the cost of different cars fluctuates almost all the time. For example, before the ban on importation of cars older than 15 years was introduced, a Toyota Premio cost approximately Shs27m from local bonds; but after the ban was introduced, the same car now costs approximately Shs32m.

“You can carry out an online check to find out the cost of the car when you import versus buying from the bond. If you find that importing is cheaper, find out the pros and cons of importing before making a final decision on where to buy your car,” Ddungu advises, adding that when a dealer notices that you are ignorant about what you want, they will take advantage.

Check for paper work
Legal, ethical and professional car dealers ought to have or sell you a car whose chassis and engine numbers and car colour matches the information in the logbook.
“If the chassis and engine numbers are different from those on the logbook or car card, it means that either the car or logbook or car card is not genuine. Do not accept whichever explanations the dealer gives you pertaining to the differences in figures. It is advisable to always verify this information before driving out of the bond to avoid being caught out by the law,” Ddungu advises.

Kakwenda also advises that other paper work to understand is whether there are any related costs to buying the car and that you also have read all the documentation before appending your signature to the deal. Seal the deal with a knowledgeable friend or relative as a witness.