A Dealer Wants Your Car: Should You Sell?

Dealing your ride in a seller’s market.

used car handshake

The COVID-19 pandemic did much more than threaten our health. The crisis threw a wrench into automaker’s manufacturing plans with most canceling or cutting back on their orders. Semiconductor chips were among the supplies automakers reduced. But once the crisis eased and demand surged, the chip inventory was claimed by other industries, thereby severely curtailing automotive output.

With the chip shortage raging, car dealers have little new vehicle inventory to show for it. What vehicles they do get are typically fulfilling customer orders. This also means most models slated for the showrooms and dealer lots are snapped up soon after they arrive. Trying to buy a new ride is a challenge, therefore dealers are turning to used vehicles to keep their fleets active.

As you might guess, used vehicle inventories are also thin. And prices are up. Way up, in most cases. Thus, car dealers are doing something rarely seen before: they’re appealing to the public to sell their cars. That’s right: the world’s “greatest” salesforce wants your ride. And don’t think for a moment you should let your spare vehicle go for a song.

Hold or Sell?

If you have a vehicle to sell, you are in a strong position to negotiate a solid deal. Indeed, used vehicle prices are greatly inflated (especially for pickup trucks). Turn to reliable used vehicle pricing sites such as Kelley Blue Book and NADA Guides for details about your automobile and it is evident that prices are up.

So, should you hold onto your ride or sell? If you need the vehicle, then the answer is no. But if you have one that you aren’t using, then why not take advantage of the seller’s market and make your move?

Here are some matters to keep in mind when selling:

Prep for sale.

Dealers may seem desperate to buy, but they may hold back paying top dollar nevertheless. This is where offering a clean vehicle inside and out is important. Spend some time detailing your ride, making it as attractive as possible. A clean looker will fetch more than a dirty car, every time.

Know its value.

Check KBB and NADA Guides for the fair selling price for your vehicle. The dealer will probably offer you the private party price. Typically, that price includes a range spanning hundreds of dollars. Gun for the top end of the range to maximize your profits. Negotiate well and you’ll sell for a handsome price. And don’t worry: the dealer will turn around and sell your vehicle for a tidy profit.

Shop around.

If one dealer has contacted you, another may want your vehicle as well. The greater the demand, the more likely you will get a sweet offer. Or two. Or three. Just as we recommend searching at least three sites when buying new, do likewise for selling. These days, numerous dealers are putting their requests on their landing pages.

Newer is better.

Although used car values are up across the board, dealers prefer late-model vehicles the most. You might not be able to part ways with a two- or three-year-old vehicle, but what about one that is five or six years old? Again, know your car’s elevated value and negotiate from a position of knowledge, which is your strength.

You Have Options

Although you might fetch top dollar from a dealer, keep in mind that the best deal can be had by selling your vehicle directly to a private party. The spread between a dealer’s price and a private party’s price can be hundreds to well over a thousand dollars, depending on the vehicle. And even if you don’t receive the maximum, you and the buyer may find a happy medium where you both gain a little and give a little.

Photo Attribution

Image by Anastasia Gepp from Pixabay

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

See AlsoBefore Making Your First Purchase: What to Check in a Used Car

Matt Keegan
Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan is a journalist, media professional, and owner of this website. He has an extensive writing background and has covered the automotive sector continuously since 2004. When not driving and evaluating new vehicles, Matt enjoys spending his time outdoors.

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