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Q: How much real haggle room is there on a new car?

Michael says....
That depends on the price bracket of the car, its popularity and even the time of the month—prices tend to be more flexible closer to month- or year-end. To figure out exactly how much haggling room your dealer has, you need to know two things: 1) the car’s invoice price (what it cost the dealer); and 2) any factory incentives available to your dealer. As a general guideline, the best deal is usually three to five percent above invoice price—which usually works out to three to five percent below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for vehicles under 50 grand. Any lower and the dealer will be itching to make back the money elsewhere, by low-balling your trade-in, for example. It might surprise you how little wiggle room there is on most sub-$30K cars. I recently priced out a 2009 Toyota Corolla S with air and automatic. It was listed at $21,295, after destination charges and before taxes, while the invoice price was $19,780, or 7.65 percent less than the MSRP and above dealer cost for this popular car, according to CarCostCanada.com.

Michael Bettencourt test drives more than 100 new vehicles a year and is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. Email him with your car questions at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it