Buying services

I am approaching the time to buy a new car. I am not looking forward to it. In my town, one automotive group has franchises on all the Japanese makers except Nissan, all the German makers and all the Korean makers. Does the word “monopoly” come to mind?
With the car market in its current weird state, does a buying service help much? Does it cut down on the junk fees some dealers charge? I would have easy access to services from Consumer Reports, USAA, Edmunds and Costco.

I have heard of people having a very good, no-hassle, experience with Costco’s buying service, but I can’t attest to it personally.

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Might want to check with credit union or other as suggested. There are for profit services though in addition to those offered to members.

We bought our 86 Buick with the reference from the credit union. Local dealer, see the fleet manager, list all the options you want, and add $150 to the dealer invoice. Wait for delivery. No muss, no fuss. I don’t know if they still do that or not.

Now for Acura, they only have 4 or 5 options so just select the model and color and it’s in stock. Still have to agree on price though, but just keep saying no and everything is fine. Once I’ve decided on a car, I’ve hardly ever spent more than a few hours wrapping up the deal. Bought my Pontiac during lunch. Doesn’t have to be hard.

Find out by going to the Costco web site and see what they say. I’d use them.

Here’s a great site that reviews the Costco Auto Buying service.

Costco Auto Buying Program Review - CarEdge

It was interesting to read the wording below from that link:

Let’s start by being brutally honest about what the Costco Auto Program is … It’s a lead generation service for participating car dealers. Not too dissimilar from services like TrueCar, Costco’s auto buying program has a network of participating car dealerships that pay a monthly fee to get access to leads from Costco. The program is actually not run by Costco at all, instead it is operated by Affinity Auto Programs, Inc, a company that specializes in creating buying experiences for different brands (i.e. Navy Federal Credit Union, and Costco, etc.).

In return for paying to be a part of the program, these dealers gain access to the leads that Costco is able to generate from their millions of members.

At its core, the Costco Auto Buying Program is a matchmaking service that dealers pay to get access to. Plainly, if you’re looking for the best possible car deal, you shouldn’t expect it from the Costco Auto Program.

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You might increase your shopping radius and visit several dealers within, say, 50 miles of your home. Shopping in the closest large market might help if that radius isn’t big enough. Start shopping online. You might also check online resources like Consumer Reports and see what they say about discounts near your zip code.

When I bought my NX 450h+ in the autumn of last year, most dealers were still adding a $5k (or more!) markup to the sticker price. By driving 70 miles, I found a dealership that didn’t add anything to the sticker price, and that offered me a much better trade-in value than the other dealers. The bottom line is that I saved ~$7,500 simply by driving 70 miles.


Just a thought…
you can check online at dealers in your state and nearby states for the best price. then ask if you purchase the car through them if they will ship the vehicle to the dealership closest to you. I am not sure if there is a fee to do that but, if there is maybe you can work it into the deal. also, now is a good time before the end of the year to purchase a 2023 vehicle. dealers want to get rid of their 2023 vehicles with 2024 about to start. also, it is the end of the month too, so they want to maximize their sales for the month.

We’ve bought 2 cars from Carvana, and had great experiences overall.

You do pay a little more for the car, I’ll admit. But their selection is amazing, and they deliver the car to your driveway, as well as pick up your trade-in (if any).

As you might expect I have only a little new car shopping experience. But I didn’t find it overly difficult. The biggest problem was the dealership didn’t have a car on their lot with the options I wanted, no A/C, no power-windows or power-door-locks, and manual transmission. . But eventually they found one at another dealership.

These are the principles I used

  • Keep it simple. You are only buying a car, no trade-in.
  • Tell them upfront you plan to pay in full w/cash, then show them your bank statement to prove you can do it. Or show them a statement from your bank that you qualify for a car loan to a certain amount.
  • And tell them upfront you aren’t interested in any changes to the car beyond how it comes from the factory, no undercoating, etc. You may have to remind them several times.
  • Then it is just a flea market deal, negotiating for an out-the-door price that works for both you and the dealership. You have as much of a right to say “no” and they do, no need to feel embarrassed.
  • Be aware they sales-staff do this every day and know some tricks. One big one they use when selling to a couple is to play the husband against the wife. If you are buying the car as a couple, it works best to deal with the salesman alone, by yourself, then consult w/the spouse afterward before agreeing to a deal…

Isnt Carvana only used cars though?

Not to be disagreeable, but I disagree. Never let them know you are paying cash. You’ll get a better deal if they think you’ll finance. A couple together is a way to bounce issues off each other so the sales person thinks they are losing the sale. Don’t have black, well the wife wants black, etc. get to the bottom line stalemate and go get a cup of coffee and let the wife commiserate with the sales person a little. You don’t deal with add on options until the end and just keep saying no. It is a mistake to be particular with the options because they will try to get you into a car from the lot instead of ordering. They are paying interest on lot cars.

All in all though I try to be upfront and honest and not play games while giving the impression that cost is a big factor.

We usually go together but I have bought several alone and the wife bought one alone. I considered it necessary big boy training so that she could get along without me if need be. If I could only get her to run the snow blower and lawn mower . . .


Yeah. Sorry, I didn’t realize this was a new car discussion.

That may be true in many–perhaps most–cases, but it certainly wasn’t the case when I bought my last 3 cars. The earlier two car purchases included a bit of haggling until we got to the final, bottom-line price, at which point I was asked how I wanted to pay.

With my vehicle purchase last autumn, I was told up front that the sticker price is what I would have to pay (ergo, no dealer mark-up), and after we completed the purchase contract and I gave them my deposit check, I was asked about my method of payment.

With supply returning to prepandemic levels and below market financing / rebates returning I’m with Bing, keep the vehicle price and financing entirely separate.

The smart buyer walks into the dealership prepared with a fair price for the vehicle AND a financing commitment from their Bank / Credit Union.

But if you use a buying service you will not have the thrill of the sale as the dealers try to sell you all of these add-ons… Most are of questionable value, some you might want and even though the dealer might charge more, you can finance them over the life of the loan… So, like the old says goes, “Let the Buyer Beware…”

Extended Warranties, Rear-Seat Entertainment Systems,

Paint and Fabric Protection, Key Protection, Anti-Theft Window Etching,

Gap Insurance Coverage, Nitrogen-Filled Tires,

Credit Insurance Products (like disability or death coverage…),

Factory Roof Rack Accessories,

Windshield, Tire & Wheel, or Dent Protection (like mini-collision or comprehensive insurance…),

Tire and Wheel Packages (when the dealer took off the original factory wheels and tires and installed uber-expensive bling wheels…),

Window Tinting and Clear Film Protection, Car Alarms, and Tracking Systems,

Extra, Redundant Fees(the dealers often add a “second” delivery fee on even though the original delivery fee in already listed in the window sticker…)… and even Made-Up Fees (documentation processing or conveyance fees and advertising fees. They also might try to tack on dealer prep or pre-delivery inspection fees, loan payment fees and market adjustment fees.)

Gee, did I forget any?


Dad had the Honda dealer that Costco’s program sent him to try to make up the discount twice over or more on add on’s and warranties, Got the Costco Pricing but it wasn’t as simple as he was hoping. We’d shopped that dealer before but going to them directly. Costco encouraged him to call if he needed backup but ended up declining everything and getting the new CRV for the agreed out the door price. Back in 2019, The people who run Coscto’s program are great at reaching out to the customer and offering support. But it’s only as good as the dealer’s they send you to. Dad’s still happy with his 2019 CRV but it’s unlikely he’d go back to that same dealer again.

Not only is Carvana dealing with only used cars . . . they’re also in SERIOUS trouble and may not be around much longer

I wouldn’t touch Carvana with a 10-foot pole

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How about “additional dealer markup” and “nitrogen tire fill”.

These dealer actions are the reasons I will not either lease a car or finance a car through the dealer. The pages of fine print will surely be totally to the dealers advantage. This whole process is also why I rarely buy a car. I just got rid of my 1995.

The whole dealer process is designed to be painful and drag out the transaction to wear you down. I never relinquish anything from my control during the process so I can get up and leave at any time…

My last used purchase was actually pretty decent. The dealer paid salespeople a salary that did not include sales incentives, the F&I guy was reasonable and took no for an answer. When he pitched the dealer fee, it was $300 and included a full tank of gas, 3 future oil changes and a lifetime power train warranty through them and a few other niceties that I decided were worth the price.