Buying a car from a dealership. We all know how it works, and it used to be the only way to get yourself a new vehicle, so visiting your local dealer often seems the obvious first move when you’re looking for a new car.

This isn’t surprising, after all the dealer is the official and appointed representative of the brand. But it’s worth remembering that buying a car from a dealership directly isn’t the only option open to you.

If you’re a member of one of our partner organisations – including RICS, BASC, RIBA, IMechE, Fram Farmers and more – then visiting your local dealer might not even be the best first step. Calling us first to find out about the memberships deals and discounts you’re eligible for is a savvy move, then you can go and look at cars already in the know about cost, and haggling won’t be necessary.

Buying a vehicle through your membership vehicle discount scheme won’t just mean you can rest assured you’re getting the best price (we offer a deal checker service so you can be confident of that), but you’ll be able to make all the important decisions in the comfort of your own home, and not be under any pressure to make compromises in order to take advantage of a limited-time deal.

Best car discounts

Buying through your membership discount scheme also means you’ll not make snap decisions because you’ve been caught up in the excitement of driving the vehicle or seeing it on the forecourt – or because you’ve been offered a ‘great value’ ex-demo or pre-reg car (have a read of our article which explains why new cars are a better buy than nearly-new or used vehicles). Be wise to the fact that you might be more tempted when looking at cars in person – always be prepared to walk away rather than making a rash decision to sign for a new vehicle (if you’re buying in person, remember there’s no cooling off period).

With the no-pressure sales approach offered by your membership vehicle discount scheme, you’ll be able to take the time to choose exactly the make, model, colour and specification of the car you want, based on the information you’re given on cost and lead times. Dealerships will often try to sell you what they have in stock, but with us you have the chance to buy without the inevitable compromises of buying from stock. In addition, you’ll also benefit from our fair and transparent part-exchange scheme if you’d like to (but it’s entirely up to you – you could choose to sell privately if you prefer).

It’s worth being aware that not all dealership salespeople are well-versed in the membership discounts available on vehicle brands – though Volvo and Mitsubishi discounts are accessed through the dealerships themselves, so chances are the staff at these locations will know a bit more about your membership discount scheme.

One thing all dealership salespeople are well-versed in are their own brand and models, so you’ll find them very helpful in this respect, if you have questions about specification. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that they’re likely to be a bit biased, as they have an interest in selling you that particular make – remember that our team of advisers can answer all your questions, and as we offer a wide variety of makes and models, we’re more impartial. We can help you make decisions between brands based on value, specification and lead time, which is a service you won’t find at a traditional dealership.

Buying a car from a dealership

If you get a hint of a pressure sell at a dealership, then be on your guard and be ready to walk away. You may find some salespeople will also try to use tactics to avoid you walking out of the showroom to compare their deals with others. You might hear the old chestnut about it being ‘best to purchase from the dealer that will service it’ (not true; all service department customers are treated equally), or even that there’s a special deal for signing today (our experience is that a deal is never ‘just for today’).

Remember, to qualify for a member discount, vehicles need to be ordered through your organisation’s scheme. Because of the way the discount schemes work (with special additional discounts as a result of the membership as a whole being considered to have the same buying power as a fleet), it’s rare for dealers to be able to match the low prices that can be accessed through your membership vehicle discount scheme.

We’ve had a number of calls recently from members who got talked into buying from their local dealer (sometimes agreeing to a stock vehicle that wasn’t their choice of spec, because they thought they were getting a bargain), and who didn’t realise that their member discount would only be applicable if they called us first. We’ve even heard of someone paying as much as £9,000 over the member discount price for a vehicle that wasn’t even to the spec they wanted, but as they’d signed the order in the dealership already, there was unfortunately no going back on the deal they had committed to.

Our message to you is please get in touch with us before you commit to buying a car from a dealership, especially before you sign anything, so you can find out your best membership prices – our deal-checker service offers peace of mind, as you can be sure to pay the lowest price for the vehicle that you have in mind. We can also answer any questions you might have about the wide range of makes and models available through your member vehicle discount scheme, and provide you with lots of information to help you to choose both the spec and any finance for your new vehicle.