What's a proper discount for a new "demo" car?

I’m close to closing a deal on a new Ford Escape Limited 2012, fully loaded. After we agreed on the price they told me that the dealership owner’s wife has been driving it, it has 2100 miles on it, and knocked $400 off the price. My dad says “Forget it, it’s now a used car. They should take $4000 off the price”. I think that the reasonable amount would be somewhere between $400-$4000, but don’t know what is a reasonable offer. It will be as good as any new car, and if I can get a bit more off that’s a better deal.

Of course there are no more comparable 2012s in stock (between color & features).

What should I do? I’m on my way to the dealership right now!

Clarification is needed here. Do you mean that they are taking $400 off the sticker price, or do you mean that they are taking an additional $400 off of a price that was already discounted from the sticker.

Only very foolish or very naive people pay sticker price for a car, and it is not unusual to pay at least 5% less than the sticker price on a brand-new car that has only been driven from the car carrier truck to the dealer’s storage lot. On my 2011 Outback (a very hot-selling vehicle that took a little over 2 months to obtain as a special-order vehicle), I was able to get 7% off of the sticker price.

And, just because you were told that the car was driven by the owner’s wife, that could be as valid as the “only driven to church by a little old lady” stories. In reality, the vehicle could have been abused by scores of car shoppers during its 2,100 miles.

I don’t know what the sticker price for this used car actually is, but I think that you should be shooting for a bare minimum of 10-12% off of the sticker price. And, if there are no comparable un-used Escapes in your area, just order one to your specifications. I have not bought a car from dealer’s stock since…1971…and I don’t plan on ending my practice of bargaining for a great deal, ordering the vehicle to my exact specifications, and paying good old US dollars in cash in order to avoid being raped with finance or leasing fees.

The price we settled on was a good 10% below the MSRP. That was with the understanding that it was NEW, not a demo. It really has been driven by the owner’s wife (given the back & forth about tracking it down), but I don’t have any way to know what kind of driver she is.

The issue now is- how much MORE should be taken off the price due to the extra 2000 miles.

How much “wiggle room” a dealer will have is dependent to a great extent on the actual sticker price of the car. Can you tell us what the sticker price of the car actually is?

If the deal actually gives a $400 price cut for the 2100 miles it would seem like a good deal. You can be sure that if there was the slightest click, jiggle, whistle or shimmy in the vehicle it was taken care of in the first 1,000 miles. Or so it would seem with the dealers that I know.

Orig MSRP: $32,365
orig offer to me: $29,550

Most recent offer to me: $29,150

Personally, the most that I would pay for this used car that has already depreciated is ~$28,500.
However, some people would still consider it to be overpriced at that amount.

Technically it’s not used as it’s never been registered. But I just don’t know how much $ is a fair and reasonable discount for the 2100 miles. Just drove it - seems great.

You are incorrect about the car not being used. A dealer demonstrator is technically considered a used vehicle and it gained that status the day it was placed into service; meaning the date it became a demo.
The warranty period also starts on the date it was placed into service.

You are not buying a new vehicle and any negotiations should factor in the loss of some of the warranty period too and your dad is correct.

Ok, so I’m in with the Gen Mgr- he came down more. What’s the true meaning of the invoice total & holdback?

In Maryland, any car with over 400 miles is a used car. I bought one with 425 miles a couple of years ago, and it was priced $1000 below another, comparable new car with less mileage. BTW, the MSRP on that car was $17,500 or so, and you should get a similar discount as a percentage of your MSRP. I would look at the dealer’s web site and check their used car inventory for similar used 2011 Escapes. Actually, any deler’s web site will do. Add a few hundred bucks onto that price and make them an offer. If they say no, walk out. Tell them if they become serious about selling it they can call you.

When the GM says “no I can’t make that deal” then come up $100 and close the deal. Noone can tell you a “fair” price at this point. The demo status does mean you should get some money off, how much is a negotiation.

It’s been hours, but I managed to get the price down an addl $1750 and am the proud owner of a new (to me) car!

You did very well with your negotiations.

Congratulations, I think that is a fair price given the info.

Congratulations. You might be the first topic on the agenda at the next sales meeting. Salesmen enjoy a good war story.


A car warranty is for x amount of miles and x amount of months. The warranty expires at the maximum miles or months, whichever comes first. The miles are pretty clear cut to understand.

The months that the car is covered by warranty start at the car’s “In-Service” date. (I just now noticed that OK4450 discussed this same issue) What is the In-Service date of this vehicle ? 2012 vehicles have not been out for more than a few months, so it shouldn’t be a long time ago.

I buy manufacturer’s “Certified Pre-Owned” cars that are about a year old and about 10,000 miles on them and expect to pay about 2/3 the price of a new one. The one I bought last fall had included for free an extension of 12 months and 12,000 miles to the new car bumper-to-bumper warranty (extended to 48 months/48,000 miles) because it was certified. Of course the car had the remainder of the 60 month/100,000 mile drivetrain warranty. All warranty coverage ran from the original In-Service date.


Automobiles seem to be more expensive today in every aspect. In 1965 I bought a 1 year old Plymouth Valiant with less than 15,000 miles on it for $1,700 less a trade in and paid about $75 a month for 18 months At the time I was earning minimum wage and going to school. What could a high school senior buy today and pay for in 18 months w/ payments equal to a weeks take home? And gasoline was 25c a gallon. Is life getting a great deal more difficult these days?

It seems to me that the dealer got the better end of this deal, JenIsis. According to Edmunds.com, you paid $700 below what others pay for a new Escape Limited with the same MSRP. Did you know that there is a $2500 rebate on a 2012 Escape Limited? With the usual discounts offered on the base truck and options, this would bring the price down to about $28,100 (you paid $27,400). Since this is a used truck, you would not be entitled to the rebate and it never would have been part of the conversation. If you had known about it, you might could have used the rebate as a lever to get a lot more off this truck. I’m not trying to give you a hard time, but to educate you. There are a lot of useful resources on the web - I got this information from Edmunds.com. If you use them, you can be a well educated consumer and the dealer can never put one over on you. They made you think that you got a great deal, but it really isn’t. It’s certainly not a terrible deal, as it would have been without the extra $1750 off. But you are young, and doing much better than I did at your age. In 10 years when you are ready for another vehicle, you will be better armed to get an even better deal.

Free enterprise. You gotta love it…Everybody got what they wanted…Including the wife of the man who owned the dealership…What more could you ask for??

But lets change the story…The car was sold and two months later it was repossessed with 2100 miles on it…Sold at auction, how much would it bring?? A simple twist of fate…