No longer able to get new car invoice?

Last purchases were a 1999 Silverado and 2000 Suburban. In both cases I ‘built’ the car on the MSN automobile website and then printed out what was presumably the invoice cost. With the faux invoice in hand, I then went to the dealer reasonably prepared to purchase.

Now, not so fast. I tried MSN, Car and Driver, Trucar, Costco and USAA. All the sites are now hooked up with dealers. Apparently, absent different info here, you can’t build your car with a third party website and produce an invoice cost. These sites all link you to a dealer which obviously defeats the idea.

The website I found where I can actually build the car seeing all the packages and alternatives for all models is Chevy. And of course you end up with the MSRP.

Is this it?

See what Consumer Reports offers. They have some kind of car buyer’s service that helps you specify model and features you want, and then get offers from dealers.

One thing about “invoice price” is that it does not reflect money dealers get from the manufacturer if the dealer hits the monthly sales goal the manufacturer has set for them. Money made, or missed, from those kinds of incentives is the difference between success and failure for dealers’ bottom lines for new car sales…

Thanks but getting offers from dealers is not want I want. I want to know the invoice cost and then, selectively, visit the dealer(s) I choose. I generally understand the dealer’s potential on the back-end of the sale. IMO, if I get invoice plus any manufacturer incentive and an acceptable APR (<2%), if the dealer wishes to give up some of his/her back-end $ fine, otherwise I’m good.

KBB still will show the invoice, but was showing the options/pricing for the 2017 Silverado. Edmunds has been my go-to for years but they appear to link to Chevy’s site instead of the old build&price option. Ford and others you can still get the invoice price on

I used to use truecar but now that is useless too.

On my last new car purchase, I decided what make/model/trim/color I wanted, then found it online on the dealer’s site inventory. I made what was a reasonable offer, ie a few hundred dollars bellow truecar price and see who wants my business. It worked.

I wouldn’t put too much faith into published “invoice” prices. They are arbitrary, and just another selling tool for dealers.

I also use Kelly Blue Book for new vehicle dealer cost and also my trade-in value. I add $250 to the dealer cost and then show him my figures. So far i have been able to trade this way for about 10 new vehicles. The salesman once told me he liked to trade with me because I did all the homework.

I just tried the KBB. For my purpose it unfortunately will not work. You cannot specific a precise model. For example, the selector will only go as far as Tahoe. You cannot further specify 4wd, LT vs LS, etc. Secondly, they’re only looking at available cars on the lot. I intend to build ours and order. Connie has kept hers for 18 years and mine is 17 years old. The price differential between buying end of model year vs ordering a new model is negligible over time.

I guess the manufacturer’s must have shut out anyone but dealers from having access to their model/accessory/cost databases over time with pressure from their dealers and that’s why any website today just links to a dealer which links to the manufacturer which just displays MSRP on all pricing.


If you can get invoice and MSRP for any related model, apply that percent to your choice. Since the numbers aren’t very meaningful anyway, this should be close enough for your purposes. In recent years the invoice price has crept way up, with actual dealer cost concealed in all the other things that go on.

A simple way is go to the build it yourself feature on the brands website and choose what you want. The site will locate vehicles as close to that on dealer lots. You can negotiate by email or go see the ones you like. You keep vehicles long enough all that matters is that the final price is acceptable to you. No matter what you pay if you tell someone they will always say you paid too much.

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I’ve never understood why people think that dealer invoice is any of their concern. Do you find out what Safeway pays for a can of green beans, what the auto shop pays for an alternator, or what Best Buy pays for a TV? The “dealer invoice” price is as much an abstract number as “suggested list” or “retail”. There’s so much going on behind the scenes between the dealer and the carmaker.

FWIW, we’re looking at a new car purchase and my wife seems to think that the Costco new car program provides you with the dealer invoice price. But that doesn’t make sense to me, especially when every dealer will gladly sell the car to us at that price AND Costco will give us a $700 gift card for using their program. That tells me there’s still some meat on the bone, especially with Costco getting their chunk out of it somewhere along the line.

I also think it’s important to factor in the level of service you’re getting and expecting in the future when buying a new car. Say you have a warranty breakdown on a Friday afternoon. Who’s going to get better faster service? The family who’s bought 4 cars here over the last 8 years or the one who price shops everything and buys from the lowest bidder?

While it might be nice to see the invoice, even though that won’t show you other manufacturing incentives like hold back, it really doesn’t help you much in my experience. Talking to a couple dealers will tell you pretty close what they will be willing to part with the car for. Might be close to invoice or maybe a lot more than invoice depending on a lot of things like popularity of the car. Sure I’ve walked out and gone to other dealers and walked out and then six months later not done much better than if I would have bought from the first dealer. Its called what a willing seller and a willing buyer arrive at.

I agree with @bing. I just got a sales offer of around $29,000 for a car with an MSRP $36,300 and a dealer invoice of $31,000. It was the end of the month and the dealer was trying to hit his sales target to get more money from the manufacturer, so he went well below invoice. The person who posted that he offers the dealer $250 over invoice? Of course that dealer loves him! He is probably paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars more than he needs to.

I used to work for a company that had a substantial fleet of company cars. One of the employee benefits was employees could buy a car for $100 over dealer cost. This was for employees or their immediate family. I was skeptical. Then my Dad wanted a brand new Grand Marquis so I went to the company person administering the benefit. They communicated my request to the local Ford/Mercury dealer they had agreement with. I went in and the VP of sales handled the transaction as there would be no commission paid to his staff. He opened the books and showed me his cost and after seeing that number I had no reason not to believe that was their absolute final cost- all things factored in. It was astoundingly lower than any guess I could have made. Even though they made almost no money on that car, they treated my Dad very well in the ensuing years when he had any issues or just got oil changes etc.

When I buy cars now, I don’t want to waste time negotiating. I do my homework, pick a price that affords them a reasonable profit and make that my bottom dollar, out the door price. I use that prior experience to gauge how much margin they can afford. I usually am done within 1/2 hour and on my way. I told one salesperson, I am a buyer and we can get this done in 15 minutes, you get a reasonable profit and back to business with the next customer quickly. Or we can spend 3 hours quibbling over $500. I spoke his language :wink:

The whole idea of paying below or little over invoice price was actually started by the manufacturers/dealers. They started this type of ad campaign decades ago. Now it’s just common.

Yeah our credit union used to have a deal with dealers around the state for something like $100 over invoice. We ordered our Park Ave that way. Talked to the local leasing manager (not sales staff), listed all the options and the invoice for the options, tacked on $100, and ordered the car. The hardest part was deciding on which color red to order with which color gold pin stripe. I think it took about 45 minutes and a cup of coffee.

How does one determine what a reasonable profit is?

In the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, there are only three Acura dealers, so your choice of dealers is limited. When you get to the point where they won’t move anymore on price and I don’t want to either, then I ask for a little extra from their stock like winter mats, or something. Usually they’ll say OK because it is from their inventory and worth probably half of what they would charge, but seems to work. Then we can both be happy.

I don’t know about now, but getting a car for less than dealer cost was possible due to incentives and rebates to the dealer from the manufacturer.

I use TrueCar to get ideas on typical discounts. That’s what really matters, I don’t care what ‘invoice’ is.