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Bought a new car? Now get ready to negotiate

Cadillac SRX.

General Motors

Once the new (or used) car buyer settles on a price, the negotiating isn't over – it's only beginning.

If you have a trade-in, the deal on that needs to be negotiated. How much is that old car worth? Canadian Black Book can help here.

Black Book has been in the game of chronicling used car values for 50 years, using auction and dealer data to tabulate used vehicle values and to predict future ones. The site has a free valuation tool and if you have a trade-in, you are advised to use it before settling into the give-and-take on a trade-in. Knowledge is power.

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Next, get ready to do your job in the finance and insurance office (F & I). Almost everyone – 90 per cent – who buys a new vehicle arranges the loan in the F & I office, says Dennis DesRosiers of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants. Sixty per cent of financing for used vehicles is done in F & I, as well. F & I, says DesRosiers, is a place where dealers are making "record profits."

The F & I office is not just where loan deals are done. It's also the place where finance managers encourage buyers to loosen their "purse strings for the myriad of products being sold," says DesRosiers. You'll be offered creditor insurance, gap insurance (coverage to cover the difference between what your used car is worth and the loan amount left), satellite radio subscriptions, fabric protection, rust proofing "and a dozen other products," says the auto analyst.

There is talk about regulating some of these products out of the market at the provincial level, he says. Some provincial regulators "view some products as more of a scam than a product that benefits consumers," says DesRosiers. Perhaps. But if you are buying a new vehicle, you'll need to navigate the F & I path.

Remember that you always have the option of striking your best overall deal, then asking for a 24-hour period to reconsider it. A good and fair offer today will still be a good and fair offer tomorrow. Never rush into a contract that will be on the books for years.

As for the price of a new vehicle itself – the starting place in your purchase journey – the offers are heating up with spring just a month away. Hyundai Canada has boosted incentives on both the Sonata mid-size sedan and the Elantra GT four-door hatchback. In the case of the Elantra, the factory money is up to $2,000 for cash buyers, $1,500 for those who take zero per cent financing for 24-72 months.

Nissan, meanwhile, has $2,000 in factory cash on the Altima mid-size sedan, Cadillac has a $1,500 incentive in play that can be combined with 3.49 per cent financing on the SRX crossover, and Volvo has a $2,500 sales sweetener on the XC60 crossover.

Deals of the Week consulted with unhaggle.com, carcostcanada.com, and other sources on these offers. As usual, pricing information here is subject to change and dealer discounts vary, so consult your dealer for all the details, including expiry dates for all offers.

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2014 Cadillac SRX AWD four-door Luxury

  • MSRP: $50,085
  • Freight, dealer prep, air conditioning tax: $1,835
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $2,000
  • Factory discount: $1,500 (manufacturer incentive)
  • Taxable subtotal: $48,420
  • Total price with 13 per cent HST: $54,714.60
  • 3.49 per cent financing for up to 84 months available with a $1,500 factory incentive

2014 Nissan Altima. Nissan Nissan

2014 Nissan Altima four-door sedan I4 CVT 2.5

  • MSRP: $24,898
  • Freight, dealer prep and air conditioning tax: $1,710
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $1,000
  • Factory discount: $2,000 (manufacturer incentive)
  • Taxable subtotal: $23,608
  • Total price with 13 per cent HST: $26,677.04
  • 0.90 per cent financing for 48 or 60 months is available, but not with factory incentive

Hyundai Elantra Hyundai Hyundai

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT GLS automatic

  • MSRP: $22,599
  • Freight, dealer prep, AC tax: $1,650
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $600
  • Factory discount: $2,000 (manufacturer incentive)
  • Taxable subtotal: $21,649
  • Final price: $24,463.37
  • Cash incentive of $1,500 is available with zero per cent financing for 24-72 months

Volvo XC60 Volvo Volvo

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2014 Volvo XC60 AWD five-door 3.2 Premier

  • MSRP: $46,500
  • Freight, PDI, AC tax: $2,240
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $2,000
  • Factory discount: $2,500 (manufacturer incentive)
  • Taxable subtotal: $44,240
  • Total price with 13 per cent HST: $49,991.20
  • Cash incentive of $1,750 is available with 2.90 per cent financing for 48 or 60 months

Pricing information source: unhaggle.com and carcostcanada.com. Calculations based on Ontario customers. Please note that while the information above is accurate at the time of publication, incentives are given at the discretion of individual dealers, and may be changed or discontinued at any time. Where noted, "dealer discounts" are negotiated with the customer on a case-by-case basis. Unhaggle Savings are actual discounts received by Unhaggle customers.

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About the Author
Senior writer, Globe Drive

In 25 years of covering the auto industry, Jeremy Cato has won more than two-dozen awards, including three times being named automotive journalist of the year. Jeremy was born in Montreal and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. More

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