For most Britons, the word "haggle" normally only comes into play when visiting exotic markets in North Africa or Southeast Asia - not in a shiny car dealership here in the UK.

But can you haggle with UK car dealers?

if you are looking for a new car and you want to get the car you need for the best possible price from the car dealer, haggle you must!

And negotiating the price of the car you are looking to buy isn’t just applicable when it comes to used cars, there’s also scope to negotiate money off of the price of a brand new car, as we discover later in this article.

12 Tips on How to Haggle Down Cars Price

What percentage can you negotiate off a used car?

There is no average discount on a used car - it depends on the car dealership, the model you’re wanting to purchase and the car’s history - among other variables. 

How much will a car dealership come down on the price of a new or used car in the UK also largely depends on your skills of negotiation. 

While we can’t determine an average discount, negotiating the price of your next new or used car is well worth it. 

So, here’s our top tips on how to negotiate on a car price…


How to haggle for a used car?

Want to know how to negotiate the car price when buying a new car? Then read on to discover how to negotiate car prices!

Knowing exactly how to haggle for a used car is the best way to get a car at a good price.

The following points should be considered when negotiating car prices:


1. Know the best time to buy a used car: When is the best time to buy a used car?

Before embarking on the search for a new car, it’s handy to know the best time to buy a used car in order to get the best possible price.

September and March can be the best months to buy a used car in the UK, following the launch of new number plates.

Many people tend to part exchange their old cars for new ones, which means that during these months, many car dealers can find themselves with a high stock of used cars that they want to shift. 

As such, you may find that the dealership is more willing to come down on price than perhaps they would normally.


Can certain models be cheaper at certain times of the year?

The best time to buy a used car in the UK can also depend on the make and model of vehicle that you are looking to purchase.

Convertibles are most expensive during the summer months.

Conversely, a 4x4 will be cheaper in the summer months than in the winter.


2. Know the desired model's list price: How do you find out the desired model’s list price?

When it comes to haggling down a car’s price, knowing the price that the model normally sells for will help you in your negotiations.

But where do you find such information?

It's easy to find out a model's list price by visiting the manufacturer's website, or checking big dealership chain websites. Car magazines such as Auto Express also detail this information.

Once you know this figure, you can aim to get a lower price.


3. Decide what specification you need and stick to it

Make your mind up about what spec you need. Know the car features you want and don't allow yourself to be talked down to a cheaper specification.

The idea is to get the car model you want for a discounted price.


4. Use mileage as a leverage:  Can high mileage help in haggling down a car’s price?

When buying a used car from a dealer, the best way to buy a car is to use high mileage as a way to get the price down.

This could work especially well if you see two examples of the same model with different dealers, at roughly the same price. If one car has higher mileage, you can use this as leverage to get the price down.

5. Email dealerships for new car prices

You can skip visiting the showroom in person altogether - and instead email the car dealership.

Simply tell them the make and model of the car you want, then ask for the best possible price.

Be aware this could elicit a barrage of emails and phone calls later on, but it is sometimes a good way to cut to the chase and get the best possible price on a used car - since a customer might easily get away if they're only communicating via email.


6. Understand your old car's value if part-exchanging

Make sure you know the trade-in value of your old car.

The more you can get for your old car, the less hard you'll have to try to haggle down the price on the new car.

Looking to sell your old car privately? Here’s our top tips for getting the best price for your car.


7. Note down what other local dealerships are offering

When negotiating the price you’re willing to pay for a new car, do your homework.

Find out how much other dealers are selling your desired model for, and use it as leverage in haggling down a cars’ price in particular dealerships.

Many dealerships use online selling places to advertise the cars that they have for sale so you don’t even need to spend hours tirelessly pounding the car dealership forecourts in order to find out what the average market price is for the car that you are looking to buy.


8. Be polite, but keep your maximum price secret

Don't let the car dealer know your top limit!

Knowing how much you have available to spend could prevent a dealership from coming down on the price of a used car as much as they would have done if they were not aware of your budget.

With this in mind, when negotiating the car price you should also look to offer the car dealer a price that is lower than your limit…

Why should you offer a lower price than your budget limit?

In your used car negotiation, offer the car dealer a price lower than your limit, and you can negotiate upwards as necessary; you could even find yourself bagging a bargain!


9. Do ask for a discount!

Sounds simple, but it just might work to ask for a discount when negotiating a price for a used car - even if the dealer knocks off a couple of hundred pounds to make the sale.

When asking for a discount when buying a used car from the dealer, be positive and phrase it "What discount will you give me?", rather than "Will you give me a discount?"

If they seem reluctant to bring the price down, say you’ll complete the deal immediately if you get a good price.


10. Don't tell them you're a cash buyer straight off: Why should you not mention you’re a cash buyer immediately, when negotiating a car price?

Paying cash? Don't let the salesperson know this immediately. 

A car salesperson may well bargain the car's price down with a view to selling a finance deal, since this turns a bigger profit. Let them do this, then, later in the process, say you don't need finance.


11. Make an offer, then wait

Tell the car dealership salesperson your offer, then wait until they reply - don’t add anything extra or suggest a different price if there is a stony silence.

Giving the car dealer time to consider your offer rather than rushing in with a revised offer could seal you the car at the original lower price.


12. Used car bargaining: use condition/faults to negotiate

With used cars you have more room for price negotiation since used cars vary so much in terms of condition.

To haggle a price down on a used car, look for:

  • technical faults
  • dents and chips
  • moderately worn tyres
  • incomplete service history or MOT

You have a good amount of consumer protection when buying a used car from a dealer, but fewer rights if purchasing privately or through an auction.

Find out more about what are your rights when buying a used car?

If you're going to be purchasing an older vehicle don't forget to make sure you have relevant breakdown cover in place.

At Start Rescue we not only offer breakdown cover for newer vehicles, but also specifically offer cover for classic cars.


Find out more about our classic car breakdown cover


How to haggle for a new car?

On the other hand, you may also wonder how to get the best deal on new cars, even though there may be less room for negotiating.

A new car's price can always be reduced in the following ways. 

  • Make sure you know the price of the make and model elsewhere as a good base point of what is a 'good deal' 
  • Always test drive the car
  • Use the negotiation tips as listed above when communicating with the salesperson 
  • Don't be forced to take a lower spec version to reduce the price you pay for the car
  • Again, know your old car's value if part-exchanging


Walking away might be ineffective

When it comes to knowing how to negotiate a car price, leaving the showroom in a huff - real or manufactured - is not as effective as it once was for getting the price down.

Since so much vehicle information is available online, both would-be customers and dealers know roughly what the right price is.

However, if the salesperson won’t budge on the car price, you know where the door is.

For more advice on buying a used car check out our buyer's guide to used cars.