So you went down to your local Honda dealer and found a vehicle you absolutely loved. You negotiated an agreeable price, got top dollar for your trade, and feel pretty good about the deal. Then you notice the supplemental sticker, a piece of paper that lists this Honda dealer’s add ons. Almost out of nowhere, your dream car has a price that’s out of reach due to add ons you may not have actually wanted.
Whether you’ve run into this situation before or you just want to be ready for when it happens, here are some tips for negotiating dealer add ons during your next purchase.
What Are Dealer Add Ons?
Dealer add ons, or dealer-installed options, are any accessories or add ons a dealership installs on a vehicle after they receive it from the manufacturer. These add ons could include things like window tinting, floor mats, splash guards, security systems, roof racks, and so on.
You typically won’t see these add ons listed on the vehicle’s MSRP or the price tag. Instead, the dealer will add a second sticker: the supplemental or addendum sticker. Dealerships often add these items because they have high profit margins, and shoppers often don’t try to negotiate them.
What makes these add ons especially tricky is that the modifications are already installed. Often, the make, model, and color that a buyer wants are only available with these modifications. In some cases, the add ons are worth having, but that isn’t always the case.
Keep in mind that it’s not just the aforementioned hypothetical Honda dealer that adds these modifications into the price. Practically every auto dealership can and will do this. The question is if they’ll work with you once you’ve noticed.
Negotiating Add Ons
Not all dealer add ons are bad. There are plenty of modifications that you might actually want. Having all-season floor mats or window tinting might be highly desirable options. Don’t hesitate to get the add ons you want. In fact, if the work is already done, that’s more time you get to enjoy driving your new car instead of having the add ons completed somewhere else.
If you don’t want these add ons or find that they are severely overcharging for them, you may have to stand your ground.
A good defense against unwanted add ons is a strong offense. Start by calling the dealership ahead of time and asking if it is equipped with any dealer add ons. If so, find out what is included and how much it costs. See if the sales team can show you the car without the add ons. If every car on the lot has add ons, you might want to shop elsewhere.
Talk to the salesperson and tell them that you will buy the car if the add ons are removed. It’s unlikely that they will do this, but it gives you a stronger starting position during the negotiations since you let them know the add ons hold no value to you.
When it comes time to negotiate a car that has a number of add ons, look at the cost of each item. You can assume that each add ons costs the dealership half of what they are charging for it, so start there. Another option is to call multiple dealers and get a total price for the car you want, including add ons. Then you can compare what other dealers are offering and ask for their best final price.
Even in a market where every Honda dealer has the upper hand, you are never forced to take and pay for add ons you don’t want. It might mean, however, not getting that specific car at that point in time. Keep at it and know what you’re willing to spend. You might decide to accept a few add ons that you wouldn’t otherwise want, but at least you won’t go down without a fight and possibly a few victories.
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