I am going through the horrible experience that is purchasing a new car. Not only is it the headache of dealing with fast talking salesmen, but this is my first new car purchase. However, my advice is going to apply to all who are considering getting a new car or trading in.
1. Look at the MPG. The United States Government just recently changed the way they measure the miles per gallon so numbers from 07 to 08 are going to drop significantly. The only reason they changed is due to ethanol being added to our gasoline. With oil prices rising I suggest to you all to trade in for a smaller vehicle or a hybrid to save on gas prices. This is where a lot of expenses are wasted is on paying for gasoline in an SUV or a larger engine car when we are only doing errands, commuting, etc. When you start making the millions, then you can think about a larger vehicle if that is your desire, but we are finding ways to get there. This sorta sums up my next point...
2. Trade down! In a oil crisis such as the one we are in, please please trade down your vehicle. Like I said earlier those 15 mpgs in your SUV aren't helping get you to financial freedom. Also, cars are an expense, not an investment. They do not gain value, only lose it the minute you drive off of the lot. Stay small for as long as you can. Do not be embarrassed of the neighbor or friend who goes out and gets that Mercedes, BMW, etc. Saving your money to make you more money is key. Cars will not make you more money.
3. Shop around. This applies at any time you are purchasing a car. These dealers need to sell you a car, don't feel like they don't have to. If they act like they don't want to sell you a car, go somewhere else. Low ball every offer you give them, this way you get the amount you wanted in the first place.
These are simple but important pieces of advice you must adhere to right now. Money is tight in this current economy, and cars are a big essential expense. Thus, cut down on the expense an go smaller/hybrid. You'd be surprised how much more you will keep in your wallet to use toward investments/savings.