The finance department is one of the last areas where a car dealership can make good, consistent money from their customers. Some dealerships even sell vehicles at cost without fuss or haggling in hopes that their efforts will be rewarded in the finance department.
Consumers can secure their financing online through various 3rd party lending services. They can go to the manufacturer websites and get pre-approved. Some car dealer websites even offer 30-second pre-approvals through their own finance department.
Whether a customer has great credit or poor credit, they should all go through the process of securing their financing before going to see the dealership. It isn’t that customers can get better rates at their bank or 3rd party lender than they can at the dealership. On the contrary, car dealers can normally offer a lower rate 9 out of 10 times, regardless of credit.
The issue is, if a customer doesn’t know the rate they qualify for, a dealership is not obligated to offer the lowest possible rate. Knowing the available rates at a consumer’s particular credit condition is an important first step to getting the best rate available.
Most banks and credit unions have a set rate based upon credit. Two people with similar credit scores and other factors such as job time, gross income, outgoing expenses, time of residency, and automotive credit history will get the same rate from a bank or credit union. At dealerships, sometimes the rate is the same, sometimes it isn’t. If the finance manager at a dealership feels that they can make a little more money off the financing by charging a little higher on the rate, they are welcome to do so.
Several Automotive Websites have ways for customers to be able to get their information to the credit department and get a decision very quickly. Dealerships such as Nebraska Honda Dealers and New Hampshire Saturn Dealers go a step further with their 30-second credit application.
Once a consumer knows their rate from outside their dealer, they should apply at their dealership, just to put their information on file and have it ready. It is much easier to fill out credit online than it is having a salesperson asking questions and writing freehand.
From there, the time at the dealership is easy. Find the car, go to finance (who should already have your credit information), let them offer you a rate, and then tell them the rate you can get elsewhere if their rate isn’t lower. Almost 90% of the time, they have a lender who can beat any rate that a consumer brings them.
Getting the best rate isn’t difficult. It just takes a little effort before going to the dealership.