We need your help. Tony and I are the worst negotiators ever and we need a new car. This is not a happy combination.

The lease is up on our Mazda 5, and though this has been the perfect family car for us, it can’t tow Tony’s 2,000 pound fishing boat. Now I know I sound like the best wife ever for taking his fishing boat into consideration, but this boat is for his work you see. Truly, in the summer Tony fishes for a living.

This rainbow trout was counted in the creeks of downtown Toronto.

And this sturgeon was caught, tagged and released near Sudbury last summer.


No, we are not allowed to keep what he catches.

We have narrowed down what car we want, but we have no idea how to negotiate a good price. If you can advise us on how to buy a slightly used Toyota Highlander or Honda Pilot, or on how to get a great lease on a Ford Explorer, please please please help!

About Finola

I am an Ottawa area Mom, writer-want-to-be and coffee legend in the making.
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9 Responses to Negotiating

  1. I can ask Andrew… he is awesome with negotiating and cars. Of course he may be so jealous that Tony fishes for a living that he refuses:)

  2. Brie says:

    I have no idea. But I am interested in the Mazda 5. You know, if we ever get a car.

  3. A friend of mine wrote out a contract to buy a van. Left the $$ amount blank. He went round all the dealers who carried his vehicle, left them a blank contract and told him he’d be back at the end of the day to see what figure they’d entered and he would buy from whomever had quoted the lowest amount.

  4. When I bought my Ford Escape, we were in the same boat – terrible negotiators and dreading the whole experience. After we’d narrowed it down to what vehicle we wanted, I just started emailing dealers and told them the exact specs I wanted and asked for their best price. It saved me some time since I didn’t have to drive around everywhere and then get “trapped” in a sales office. I can share the email contacts I have with Ford dealers if that’s the route you want to go.

  5. B says:

    I would recommend looking up dealers online first to see who has what. That way you aren’t wasting time driving around OR being lead to a car you don’t want!

  6. Edwin Lim says:

    I would recommend being clear about exactly which vehicle you want and identifying the options that are most important to you.
    Then I would recommend investing in an online service that will tell you exactly what the dealer cost is for the vehicle you want.
    I would then go into two or three dealerships and triangulate pricing and get a sense of the service level at each dealership. Don’t buy, just spend the time making sure its the car you want and confirming which options are important to you. And of course get a sense of how much their first offer would look like.
    Then, since you in Ottawa, I would call a few Toronto dealership, tell them your from Ottawa and ask them whether they can do better than the best price you got in Ottawa (to make it worthwhile for you to come to Toronto). Best to talk to the Sales Manager, his price will take into account he won’t like pay commission to a sales rep and that he hasn’t had to spend anything to get an incremental deal. There may not be a savings, sometimes a car is just hot and no one is willing to deal.
    Then on the last week of the month (sales people have monthly quotas you know), go back and see the same dealerships in Ottawa and see if they’ll match the best price you got (including the one from Toronto, or one online as well). Then go ahead and buy from one of the Ottawa dealers or Toronto which ever one makes the most sense.

    Hope this helps.

  7. bibliomama2 says:

    Hey, I’m just here to take notes from your brilliant friends.

  8. Sasha says:

    Similar to Julie, when I bought my Civic (in 99) I faxed out requests for tender (on the advice of a friend who had done the same). It was INVALUABLE. Make sure you are very specific on what you want, including all the options/warantee/whatever. We included a dealership in T.O. that we already knew, from my friend’s experience, would offer us their fleet rate. You can then use that number with other dealerships, if they don’t offer it here in town.

    Because no, I can’t negotiate either. It’s pretty impossible when you don’t have the right info. This gets you the info you need.

    Good luck!

  9. Pingback: Road Trip | Finola's Blog

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