Buying a car: How to negotiate prices

Haggling doesn’t tend to come naturally to Irish people. We’re often too polite when it comes to socially uncomfortable scenarios like talking about money. But it’s important to remember that professional sales agents, such as the kind you meet at your local dealership, are entirely comfortable with bargaining. And if you’re not prepared to manage the negotiation process, you can be sure that they are. To be certain you’re getting the best deal possible, keep the following handy tips in mind.

Don’t pay the sticker price

First and foremost it’s important that you approach any potential deal with this mentality. While the sales agent would love if they could get you to fork out the full amount on the sticker, they really aren’t expecting that to happen. The sticker price isn’t the amount the dealer thinks is fair, it’s the amount the dealer thinks they can get away with.


Shop around online and in other local dealerships to get an idea of what might be a fair price for your chosen vehicle. You can use this information to help lower the price when you go to buy the car for real.

New Vs Old

The newer the car the less room there is for haggling. If you have your heart set on a brand new motor you may have to accept the probability that there’s not much chance of lowering the price. Your sales agent will be far more inclined to lower their asking price if the car is two years old or more.

Floor and Ceiling

Your floor is the price you’re hoping to pay. Typically this would be 5-10% lower than the fair price indicated by your research. Your ceiling is the maximum price you’d be willing to pay. It’s up to you to set your ceiling but it should certainly be a few hundred euro lower than the initial asking price.

Make an offer

The sales agent may ask you how much you’d be willing to pay per month. Insist that you don't want to talk about financing until you've agreed on a final price. Give them your floor offer and tell them that you’ll take the car today if they accept it. Sales agents are used to pressing the hard sell; if there’s any sign of uncertainty on your part it could compromise the entire deal. Stay strong!

Make a counter-offer

The dealer is unlikely to accept your initial offer. They’ll probably come back with the sticker price or with a slightly lower offer. Inform them that after shopping around and taking the market average into account, you feel as though your first offer is fair. If they refuse to budge, reluctantly increase your offer by a couple of hundred. The sales agent may come back with another offer, perhaps a special “discount” just for you. This is often simply plucked out of the air so unless it brings the price down to what you think is a fair valuation, don’t fall for it.

Decision time

If you reach your ceiling and the dealer still won’t accept your offer, it’s time to walk away. Politely state that you think your offer is fair, leave them your number and ask them to call if they change their mind. They probably will. If they accept your offer then congratulations! You’re the proud owner of a new car that you’ve purchased at a fair price.


The majority of add-ons are completely unnecessary. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you avail of these services but it might be wise to avoid them altogether and stick to the agreed deal and the agreed price.

And that’s about it. If you have any further questions our dedicated staff would be delighted to hear from you.

All the best,

The Team at