From time to time, someone comes up with a new car-buying strategy and broadcasts the good news to legions of weary shoppers. One of the latest advisers is Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, a professor of politics at New York University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. Bueno de Mesquita specializes in international conflict, foreign policy formation and nation building, and approaches car buying from his expertise in game theory.
Game theory, Bueno de Mesquita writes, "is a fancy label for a simple idea. People compete, and they always do what they think is in their own best interest." He advises that a shopper call competing dealerships, tell each dealer that she will be purchasing a car at 5 p.m. that day and demand the dealer's best price. He recommends that the buyer then show up at the dealership that has the lowest price, carrying a check for the exact amount, and then drive away in the new car.
Bueno de Mesquita also is a consultant to the CIA and has been noted for his predictions on when Iran would develop a nuclear bomb. And while his advice on car shopping isn't as dramatic as weighing the possibility of world war, it does describe a winner-loser car-buying process.