Advice on Negotiating Dealer Used Car

I'm looking at buying a used car from dealership, 12' camry to be exact with 70k on mileage and it is a Toyota dealership.
I've limited knowledge on cars and never bought a used car from a dealer.

Anyway long story short, went to checked out the car which I'm interested in.
A fleet car from Health (not sure if it is a good or bad thing as the previous drivers probably take no good care of the car) though service history is up to date (half is done by the dealership which I doubt the actual validity of them).

Test drove it, seems to run smooth. Some paint issues on the front quarter panel (looks like dripping wax). Asked about previous accidents (dealer denied any acknowledgement of it, how surprising), promise will buff it out. A small dent on the rear door (looks like parking too close to other cars/car park accident, I'm not too fussed).

Asked about room to move on price, the dealer wouldn't budge, claiming it's the special price (I guess they figured out that I was interested and serious but was just not going to buy then and there).

I presume all dealers have their price and everything is negotiable but is the percentage of discount/negotiation similar to what I would expect from buying a new car? or some dealers will do fixed price on some of their used cars like some of the auction places?

Also, I'm not sure if the 'dripping wax' paint finish on the front quarter panel is a significant issue? Unless it's a written off or stolen, I won't be able to find out. The quarter panel and front bumper appear aligned though.

Thanks in advance.


  • +2

    Never negotiate before you have discussed all of the fees, charges, levies, tips etc

  • +2

    Find a few similar cars u want, then wait to the end of the month - thats when sales reps will do best deals as they either need to make up the number for their monthly figure or are in the commsission sweet zone where they get increased percantage onsales.

    Look for any defect to you want fixed ( paint touch ups, peeling tint, car detailing, stains on upholstery etc a d get that written into the offer to purchase. U may also want to consider Signing up to rac and get a 100 point inspection into the offer for your peace of mind, only $100 or so. Also make sure you get a second key cut.

    Avoid fleet cars,look at log books for private addresses.

    Offer cash if you can - it shows a finite budget and a very serious buyer , also they will try to sign you into finance arrangements to help their commissions

    Above all be prepared to walk away - there will always be another one.

    • Thanks for the advice.

      Was indeed asked how I'm going to finance it. I said I'll pay upfront with cash but leave the finance option open just trying to see where does that lead me. The next thing I knew, I was led into the finance person's room and he was trying to persuade me how getting a car loan rather than taking money from repay facilities in a home loan is going to save me money and such, no thanks but nice try.

      Yah, I guess need to keep a sensible mind in this. As you said, there will always be another one.

      • +1

        Its not too hard…just get one with low km, private owner in Decent cosmetic condition. Get the rac to check mechanics over. And offer 15% off the asking price on the card in the yard - they will try to get you under 10% coz thats their approx margin….it comes to a point where you will get sick of looking and for then sake of a few hundered dollars you should just grab one thats fits the criteria

  • +1

    There is no set percentage mark up. Let's get that out of the way first. It all depends on how long it's been at the yard, and how sharply it's priced online. If it's the cheapest one of that year on Carsales then it's likely there's less than $1k left to play with.

    Sounds like that panel has had some form of paintwork. Nothing surprising for a 3-4yo car.

    Be serious with an offer. If you're not prepared to buy don't be surprised if the salesman is short with you. Don't just try to loosely negotiate, actually be prepared to buy at a given price.

  • +4

    12' camry to be exact with 70k on mileage

    That's a pretty hefty amount on a car that's only 3 years old. I have an '07 Camry with around 100k on the clock. Personally, for a car that's 3 years old, it seems to have a lot of problems, showing neglect. The paint issue shows that it was probably parked outdoors and in the sun permanently, this has consequences for other materials as well, especially plastics and faux-leather.

    A fleet car from Health (not sure if it is a good or bad thing as the previous drivers probably take no good care of the car) though service history is up to date (half is done by the dealership which I doubt the actual validity of them).

    This probably explains why. Fleet cars are usually a bit of hit and miss because people really do abuse them and they really get a belting from the amount of km they go through. Also, note that this is not a car that has been driven many country miles, it's likely a car that's driven almost 24/7 in city traffic, meaning the 70k is likely to be city miles, meaning it has a much greater wear than if it was just taken for a 300km ride every day.

    To be honest, unless you're getting a REALLY good price, I'd move on. It's harder, but always look for private seller cars. I've always had much better experiences with private sellers. You also cut out the middle man and you end up saving. The role of the dealer is to provide liquidity to the market (i.e. assist those who need to sell quick or buy quick). If you're patient, you can find a better deal.

    I would even go so far as to say that you should take a look at an older model that hasn't been beat up so much. Camrys have practically been exactly the same for a few years now. They're super reliable cars, so if you get a good one, it'll last you a good 10 years at the very least if you take good care of it.

    • I agree, 70k for a 3 years old car is pretty high by my driving habits as well and as you said most of which is probably city driving.

  • +1

    The good news is with a Camry you aren't going to let emotion cloud you judgement!
    The niggles you mention would be absent in a lot of private cars at the same price point. As a dealer said to me when I asked for a bit more when I was selling a car " sorry mate, I'm a car dealer. We're all pricks."

  • Recently bought a used car from a dealer. Price was allegedly 14k which they had dropped to 13k (12,999 to be precise). I negotiated down to 11k with reversing sensors thrown in. I bought on the last day of the month and the salesman was quite focussed to sell once it was clear I was serious although bids went back and forth for a while.

    • That's a good one. I doubt I have the same negotiation skill as you do but wouldn't mind to give it try.

  • Even though it is a Toyota from a Toyota dealership it is most likely used car stock they have purchased from an auction. Google the rego no (if it does not have new rego & plates) and you will see where it was auctioned.

    • Oh thanks, didn't know about that. I suspect the sam

  • Dripping wax? Maybe it's been resprayed? If a car has a panel that's a slightly different shade to the others, or looks like it's had paintwork done it could be a sign that it's had some repair work done.

    There's always room to move on price. Don't get emotional with cars - especially common ones like Camrys. There are MILLIONS out there. You've got to be prepared to play the dealer - if he doesn't want to play then walk away. It's only when he thinks he's losing a sale that he'll start negotiating - right now he thinks he can take you for a ride.

    If you DO buy it, then make sure they stipulate "Subject to satisfactory RACV inspection" and make sure you get any used car inspected. They pick up pretty much anything wrong with it, and if there's something significant ie: structural damage that has been repaired you can walk away.

  • /\
    || x2

    walk away

    cars are a dime a dozen and why people (myself included) get attached to one particular car is very strange

    you are looking at paying top dollar (it's from a dealership) for a second rate used car with obvious defects and a seller that's not interested in discussing a price

    I just did a search on carsales and there are 365 Camrys from 2012 from $14k upwards, all under 80000km- not knowing which model etc… you want

    • ^^^^ THIS!

      It's a Camry. It's not a rare limited edition car that only this dealer has and no one else.
      Shop around. You'll find the condition of cars varies wildly for the same model year….as well as dealer's definitions of "Excellent condition" and "like new"

  • Set your won price let say 10% discount then stick to it, if you could get it then get it, if not leave it. Use take it of leave it approach.

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