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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-truth-about-dealer-invoice-price/
 

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Truecar has more than one marketing scheme. It can be by volume, or by period, and dealers often switch or take a holiday. In any case, none of the background business processes are that important to understand, only what the lowest cost you can find. Plus for some, reducing the pain of haggling. For me, Truecar got me right at $3,000 off MRSP on my LX with tech package. I knew from reading here that was within $300 to $500 of the lowest possible price. I thought that was fair, as most appear to have paid more. Just because a middleman is making a profit (like Truecar) does not mean it doesn't add value. I could have shopped around more, but I didn't think it was worth my time, I already put a ton of work into new purchases - I started on the Ioniq/Niro forums April 2017 for an end of January 2018 purchase!
 

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I got the "Fighting Chance" package (heard about it on carbuyingtips.com) and used James Bragg's technique. I ended up buying it 1 1/2 hours north of where I live, but I saved over $3000 by doing it. :)
 

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Right, I have never bought into the invoice price thing, they've been scams since the old newspaper adds of "$500 below invoice!". Totally bogus. When I first started looking at buying, the price of the "Good deal", or discount price printed from TrueCar and another one I can't recall, was higher than what I could buy the car for with my own bargaining. Same with the Niro price. I'm certainly not going to pay for some 2nd party writer's buying kit or packgage. I guess it would be worth it if you don't want to/can't negotiate satisfactorily. A lot of people can't, theyre up against a dealer who's fulltime job and training is to win at bargaining that you only do every few years or never have.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
For me personally, I do not have time to go from dealer to dealer until someone takes my offer-- my schedule is insane. I want it done preferably without having to set foot on a car lot until the deal is done and I am arriving to take possession. And with Bragg's method outlined in the link I posted, doesn't cost a thing. Although speaking to Mr. Bragg on the phone was a ton of fun!!
 

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In the past, I’ve done the email several dealers with my offer and go with the one that comes back with the lowest bid. But it’s been a few years since I’ve bought a car and the dealers seem to have adjusted to the upheaval that easy access to pricing on the internet has caused. Now it’s a lot harder to find the email of the “Internet Sales Managers” so I got impatient and decided to try my luck just going in.

This was on a Subaru CrossTrek which is an in demand vehicle. I offered a lowball price of $26,000 expecting a counter offer but the sales guy said no way and then the manager went into the I’ll be losing money, yada yada yada. I raised my offer to $27,000 and I told him I’ll take the car today but he said this was a $30,000 car and wouldn’t budge. Needless to say, I walked.

Then I tried using TrueCar on the CrossTrek and I was getting high $20,000s on the mid level trim and that was before dealer fees and taxes. I moved on to the Nissan Kicks and got an offer of $21050 on TrueCar so I emailed the dealer with out the door and he just emailed back that we were too far apart again and didn’t bother with a counter offer. I got the impression that he wanted $24,000 for it. No way. Next I emailed this dealer and another dealer trying to put them against each other, telling them my offer and that I’ll go with the lowest offer. I have not heard from either one.

So now we’re at the Niro. I did the TrueCar search in it and I’m planning on going the multiple email route from the start and see if that gets me any better results. What am I messing up on? Am I offering too little and they’re not taking me seriously?
 

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If you do the TrueCar search and sign up, you will get emails from the dealers directly. In my case (maybe most cases), the email offers were lower than the TrueCar website price (perhaps to push you). Based on what I read here, $3,000 off MRSP for my LX with tech was within $500 of the lowest price paid. I didn't think further negotiation was needed to get it down further. As it happened, the best deal kind of went sour (two hours away) and I called a dealer just an hour away and they agreed to match the price inside of five minutes on the phone on the identical car (just off the truck - fastest sale for them ever). No hidden costs - the first dealer tried to add on a bunch of crap.
 

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If you do the TrueCar search and sign up, you will get emails from the dealers directly. In my case (maybe most cases), the email offers were lower than the TrueCar website price (perhaps to push you). Based on what I read here, $3,000 off MRSP for my LX with tech was within $500 of the lowest price paid. I didn't think further negotiation was needed to get it down further. As it happened, the best deal kind of went sour (two hours away) and I called a dealer just an hour away and they agreed to match the price inside of five minutes on the phone on the identical car (just off the truck - fastest sale for them ever). No hidden costs - the first dealer tried to add on a bunch of crap.
Thanks for the input. So you paid dealer fee plus tax and tag on top of the TrueCar price? Or did you try to get that included in the quoted price?

PS, I did register for TC and got a bunch of quotes.
 

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Dealer fees ($200) were included in the email received. Nothing hidden. Tag and tax has nothing to do with the dealer other than they collect taxes in my state at point of sale. Only thing I negotiated was not paying for the port provided stuff like floor mats. Didn't want them, but the dealer wouldn't keep them either. Both the original dealer and the second dealer were fine with removing those charges. Between the TrueCar price, the removal of those add ons, and a substantial amount ($5,000) charged on a rewards card (2% rebate) totaled right at $3,000 off.
 

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I used Costco Auto and was very pleased with the results. I wanted the PHEV EX Premium in pearl white, MSRP $36000. Costco directed me to a specific salesman in a local dealership, over the phone he said it would be $33800 plus tax and title which was paid to California. I got a Costco confirmation in writing. No negotiation, I just politely declined all extras for financing, "installed security system", paint protection, extended warranty.... etc.
 

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I recently purchased a 2018 Kia Niro LX with the technology pack. (Smart cruise and lane assist). The dealer texted me that they had a flash sale for $19,160. When I showed up the next day, they didn't want to honor the price. I ended up getting them to honor it as it was just a day later. But I later asked why they didn't want to honor it. They said marketing messed up and doubled the Kia incentives. Awesome, so glad they messed up.

I recently saw a 2018 Kia Niro LX base (blue, no options), listed on their website for around $18,700.

Still love my niro though and happy to have it.
 

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Those are great prices! Those incentives can be misleading though. I didn't qualify for any. Could have done the lease, to get $500 off, and then paid it off in full a month later, but that seemed like too much of a hassle.
 

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Those are great prices! Those incentives can be misleading though. I didn't qualify for any. Could have done the lease, to get $500 off, and then paid it off in full a month later, but that seemed like too much of a hassle.
Say you spend an extra 3 hours at the dealership for the lease obn top of the time it took to actually buy the car then an extra 2 hours of hassle paying it off a month later. That's 5 hours of your off time for $500. If I figure this right, that comes out to being paid $100 an hour for 5 hours of your off-time. I wish I were in your position to pass up being paid $100 an hour for 5 hours of my off-time. :)
 

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Say you spend an extra 3 hours at the dealership for the lease obn top of the time it took to actually buy the car then an extra 2 hours of hassle paying it off a month later. That's 5 hours of your off time for $500. If I figure this right, that comes out to being paid $100 an hour for 5 hours of your off-time. I wish I were in your position to pass up being paid $100 an hour for 5 hours of my off-time. :)
The dealership where I bought said I couldn't pay it off a month later to get the finance $750 incentive - said I would have to carry a minimum $10,000 balance for at least 3 months. I believe that violates the no prepayment penalty clause, but at that point I was just too tired out to argue any more.
 

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Say you spend an extra 3 hours at the dealership for the lease obn top of the time it took to actually buy the car then an extra 2 hours of hassle paying it off a month later. That's 5 hours of your off time for $500. If I figure this right, that comes out to being paid $100 an hour for 5 hours of your off-time. I wish I were in your position to pass up being paid $100 an hour for 5 hours of my off-time. :)
I've never done a lease before, and I really didn't want try to deal with reading the fine print or getting slammed later because I didn't follow through per the fine print. As it happens, when I work (not much lately), my bill rate is around that. Just wasn't worth my time for a credit check, fees, title that is not clear and shows a lease arrangement. Kind of astounding as I will shop hard to save a nickel a gallon on gas!
 

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Below is a True Car offer I received from a SoCal dealer yesterday on the model and color we are looking for. I blocked out the Dealer info and vin number. Seems like a good deal, any comments or recommendations before I get back to them would be appreciated.


We've found an in-stock match for you!
Dear Robert,
Please find below our offer for this in-stock 2018 Kia Niro. This offer is exclusive to you, a TrueCar Member. I look forward to speaking with you soon.


MSRP: $32,940
2018 Kia Niro
Touring FWD
VIN:XXXXXXXXXXXXXX



Guaranteed
Savings off MSRP
$5,102 Total Before Tax
$27,918

This in-stock Vehicle Includes
Exterior Color: Silky Silver
Interior Color: Charcoal

Base MSRP + $32,000
Freight Delivery Fee + $940
Total MSRP + $32,940
Total MSRP
$32,940

Certified Dealer MSRP Discount - $3,352
2018 Kia Niro Customer Cash - $1,750
Guaranteed Savings - $5,102
Guaranteed
Savings off MSRP
- $5,102

Subtotal
Before Dealer Fees and Accessories $27,838

Dealer Documentation Fee + $80
Total Dealer Fees + $80
Dealer Fees
+ $80



Total Before Tax $27,918
 

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The catch can be that you are not eligible for the Kia Customer Cash. I got $3,000 off an LX with tech with nothing added from Kia (wasn't eligible for anything other than the lease discount which I declined). By that standard (about 13% off MRSP), you could do better with your much more expensive car with a higher profit margin from the dealer discount side.
 
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