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CNN Today

Industry Watchers See Buyers' Market on New Car Lots

Aired January 20, 2000 - 2:18 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDRIA HALL, CNN ANCHOR: How would you like to be riding around in a shiny new car? Well, we hear there's no better time than right now to go out and get yourself one. But before you do, there are a few things you'll need to know.

Here's CNN's Allan Dodds Frank.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALLAN DODDS FRANK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the time, say industry watchers, to shop for a new car. New vehicles are more reliable than ever, factory warranties last longer, and there are far more cars for sale right now than there are buyers.

JACK NERAD, EDITOR, DRIVINGTODAY.COM: It's definitely a buyers' market, and you can very easily vote with your feet by walking out a dealership at any time and feel confident you're going to get as good or a better deal the next day, the next week or the next month.

DODDS FRANK: To get the best deal in the showroom, consumer advocates suggest doing research before you get there: First, look up the invoice cost, which is what the dealer pays for the car, including all its options. Then, check the sticker price; that's how much the dealer is asking for the car. The difference between invoice cost and sticker price is your negotiating room. Watchdogs recommend starting negotiations by offering the invoice price.

PAIGE AMIDON, "CONSUMER REPORTS": A brand new model that's just come out that's in very short supply, you're not going to be able to buy it at invoice. And in those cases, you may have to pay 4 to 6 to 8 percent over invoice.

DODDS FRANK: Check for consumer rebates offered on some models automakers want to move off the lots. Do the same with dealer incentives and hold-backs, which encourage dealerships to move certain models. Good negotiators will use this information to slash prices. Most research can be done on the Internet, using sites such as Edmunds.com. But there may be some risks.

AMIDON: You have to be careful that that information is complete and up-to-date.

DODDS FRANK: "Consumer Reports" offers a complete research service by mail or fax for $12. Finally, some car-buying experts suggest getting several quotations by faxing four or five dealers the exact make, model, engine and options you want.

That's "Your Money," Allan Dodds Frank, CNN Financial News, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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