Hi folks, I managed to salvage this from my most recent post, which I was editing to include all this into, but was prevented from posting because it took me more than ten minutes to make the edit. (I have been on internet forums for decades and have never heard of such a thing before. Seems very weird to me.)
Anyway, I wanted to describe this process for purchasing new vehicles, which I learned about when making my recent Niro purchase. Some folks here have alluded to the general concept of getting dealers to bid against one another, and that is exactly the way to go about it.
I used the CarBargains.com service, which uses the same technique championed by James Bragg on fightingchance.com. This involves getting dealers in your area to submit written, binding bids. You can do it yourself if you have the time, but I don't, so I paid the $250 to CarBargains to do all the legwork for me. It's the only leverage you have-- if you walk onto the lot to haggle with a salesperson, the only leverage you have is to walk away.
"Invoice" prices are a sham. Dealers have been hiding profits in invoice prices since the internet came into being, and keep finding new ways to do so as time has gone on. Why would a car dealer ever release to the public what they paid to put the car on the lot? No other seller of goods does that. Ever notice that the difference between MSRP and "invoice" keeps getting smaller and smaller? (I hadn't. But I have all my records for five new car purchases going back 20 years and sure enough, it's true.) The fact is that even the dealer doesn't know on the day the car is sold what it cost him to put it on the lot, because it depends on how well they hit their sales targets for the month or quarter and how much of a bonus they get back from the manufacturer because of it. It's all about moving units.
Services like TrueCar etc all have arrangements with their "preferred" dealers and get a few hundred bucks for every successful sale they refer. They are not there to help buyers, they are there to make their own money. Dealers who have a customer who came from TrueCar or a similar service armed with the "best price" and "what others near me paid" know they have a fish fully hooked. Only by making dealers of the same brand compete against each other can you be in charge of the deal.
In addition, you can check out the profit reports published by AutoNation, who are publicly traded and so must publish this info for their shareholders. The screengrab below comes from their 2017 annual report. It shows that new car sales accounted for almost 57% of their revenue, but only 17.5% of their *profits*. Finance, insurance, parts, and labor accounted for almost 73% of their profits!!! Pretty interesting...
Required reading at the Academy: James Bragg's five-part series on this process. I will never buy another car any other way again, that's for sure. You never deal with a salesperson at all, only with the managers who are actually empowered to set a price. Read it here: https://clark.com/cars/eye-opening-t...invoice-price/