Figuring Out Your Needs and Wants

There is a lot of information out there to help you purchase a vehicle and get the best deal. Some of these guides have a lot of useful information. A lot of these guides have some bad advice. Of the ones I’ve read, I notice one thing that is consistently missing: Figuring out your needs and wants.

This may seem like something that doesn’t need much thought, but I’ve worked with a lot of customers that aren’t sure what they are looking for or forgot about something important when they picked out a vehicle. One of the first things a good salesperson will do is to thoroughly investigate the customer’s needs and wants. And this is something that our professional sales staff can help you with.

Even if you are fairly sure you want a specific vehicle, it’s a good idea to take a thorough look at your needs and wants to make sure you are looking at the right vehicle.

A good place to start is to look at what you are trying to accomplish more broadly. Some great questions to ask yourself are:

1)    Looking at the vehicle you are currently driving, what would you like to be different? What would you like to be the same?

2)    How many passengers does your vehicle need to accommodate? How many drivers will be using the vehicle, and how often will the other drivers be driving? You may do most of your driving by yourself, but do you need a vehicle that your daughter and her three friends can fit in from time to time? Do you need a vehicle that can comfortably seat the whole family for a yearly family vacation that requires a long drive?

3)    How much cargo does your vehicle need to be able to carry or tow? If you are hauling or towing anything heavy, how much does it weigh? If you need a vehicle that can tow your boat, knowing the wet weight of the trailer and boat is going to be important. If you are aren’t hauling anything where weight is an issue, is space an issue? Do you need a vehicle with enough space in the trunk to fit two sets of golf clubs? Do you need a vehicle big enough for two kids and their baseball gear?

4)    What kind of driving do you do in terms of distance and driving conditions? If you are out in the country and need to drive 40 minutes to work everyday, you might want to consider four wheel drive or all wheel drive. If you have a long commute to work, there are some people that want something with good gas mileage while other people want something that has enough space for a comfortable drive. If you have a long commute or drive long distances for your job, you might want something that has cruise control, bluetooth for your phone, and satellite radio.

5)    What kind of budget do you have to work with? Are you financing or paying cash? Do you have equity in your trade or negative equity? Do you have money that you can use for a down payment if you are financing? One of the things that surprised me when I first started working in the car business is that the least expensive car on our lot is not the vehicle with the lowest payments (a 12 year old vehicle with 150,000 miles is difficult to finance for 60 or 72 months, the bank would prefer to finance for 36 or 48 months which can cause the payment to be higher than a more expensive vehicle).

6)    How long do you plan to keep your vehicle? If you only keep your vehicles for two or three years before buying a new one, leasing may make more sense for you. If you plan to keep your vehicle for a long time, you probably want to start with a vehicle that is newer with lower miles instead of an older vehicle that is going to cost a lot to maintain.

7)    Which types features are most important to you? Most buyers have one thing from the following list that is most important to them: safety, performance, appearance, comfort, economy, dependability. If we know which types of features are the most important to you, we can suggest vehicles and features that you may not have considered.

8)    What problems are you trying to solve? Most buyers are trying to solve a problem when they start looking to purchase a new vehicle. Are you upside down in your vehicle and looking for a vehicle that is going to put you in a better position for future purchases? Do you need something inexpensive, but safe and reliable, for a teenage driver in the family? Do you need a larger vehicle to accommodate a growing family? Do you have credit problems and need a reliable vehicle to get you to work and around town?

Once we have figured out what you are trying to accomplish and which types of features are important to you. It’s time to start thinking about specific needs and wants. Again, this is something that our professional sales staff can help you with.

Or, if you prefer, you can do this yourself. Because it’s easy to forget important things once you get to the dealership, it’s a good idea to make a list of your needs and a list of your wants. For each of your needs, ask yourself if this is something you must have or if it would be a deal breaker if a vehicle doesn’t have a certain feature. If it’s not a deal breaker, move it to your wants list.

Most buyers are price or payment conscious. It’s a great idea to look at pricing for a vehicle that just meets your needs, but not your wants. You may even want to drive a vehicle like this to see if it is something you would be happy with. Then take a look at pricing for a vehicle that meets all your needs and wants. You may want to also drive this vehicle to help you decide if the additional features are worth the cost. Even before driving anything, this process will give you a price range to look at to help you decide if some or all of your wants are worth the additional cost.

If your salesperson knows what you are trying to accomplish with your vehicle, it makes it much easier to find the right vehicle that meets your needs. Our sales staff can make suggestions that you may not have even considered.


If you are ready to sit down and figure out your needs and wants, give me a call at 812-331-2200 and ask for Robert Kobey.