Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

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Postby cjackson0 » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:32 am

I had never heard of Truecar. Try getting a 2nd (and 3rd) opinion from Edmunds.com or KBB.com.
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Postby rich » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:49 am

I thought it was too good to be true too. I used it recently and obtained a quote from a dealer approximately 4 hours away. I subsequently used that quote to obtain a competitive quote from a local dealer. I can't say for sure if the long distance quote would have been honored but I assume it would have since my local dealer was all of the sudden willing to substantially drop his price.
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Postby bogglehead » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:36 pm

I think it's pretty accurate. When we bought our van a few months ago we ended up getting a local price w/in $200 of the low end of the TC price (w/o much haggling/trouble).
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Postby gatorking » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:48 pm

Image

Under "What Others Paid" change your selection from Local to Regional. You might see more prices at the lower end.

"The best quote I have is even better than the lowest price on the Truecar price chart of what anyone has paid for the car so far."

How does your quote compare to the Truecar quote (which maybe very different from what people paid.
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Postby eucalyptus » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:59 pm

I have found valuation services to be virtually worthless except as applied to late model, high volume cars. Edmonds and KBB are among the worst.

For example, municipalities use valuation services that consistently overvalues cars - I wonder why?
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Re: Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

Postby dlenski » Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:11 pm

jenny345 wrote:I'm shopping for a new car. I used the link on Consumer Reports to get a few quotes. The best quote I have is even better than the lowest price on the Truecar price chart of what anyone has paid for the car so far. I also sent off requests for the Sam's Club and Costco auto buying service price quotes.

The car in question does have $2500 in dealer incentives right now.

The dealership with the low bid emailed me a quote in writing with a copy of the sticker info and everything looks great.

Do you think the Truecar pricing chart is really accurate? If so, this deal seems almost too good to be true. I will continue to collect a few more price quotes but I'm wondering if it is really worth my time as this price seems so low already it seems highly unlikely anyone will beat it.

I had a good experience doing price research with Truecar. I found a very low price at a dealer at about 20 miles away, printed it out, and took it took another dealership about 5 miles away and asked them to match it.

They tried to bargain for a while, tried to upsell me on financing, etc. I wouldn't move an inch, and told them I'd take the offer to another dealer if they couldn't make it work. After about an hour, they gave in a gave me the price I wanted.

In addition to getting quotes from dealers with Truecar, I'd strongly recommend reading and following carbuyingtips.com. They basically advocate the strategy of doing your homework to figure out exactly what the dealer paid for the car, offering them a very small markup (1-5% depending on demand), and not budging one bit... it's basically what I did and it worked great. Use their buyer offer spreadsheet to calculate how much the dealer paid for the car and how you can get it from them at the smallest margin.
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Postby dandan14 » Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:17 pm

I think it serves as a good guide. As a guy who is looking for a good deal, I knew I wanted to be at least as good as what they considered a really good deal.

I made my search radius about 300 miles, and ended up buying a Camry last year way way way to the left of the TrueCar price -- about 5 hours from my house. (Found through Autotrader.) They emailed me a pdf of the quote in writing before we drove up there.

All in all, it was an excellent experience. We had the price in hand, they knew we were on our way. The car was ready for us. We did an inspection and a test drive, ran through the paperwork, and everything was done lickety split.
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Postby marco100 » Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:43 pm

dandan14 wrote:I think it serves as a good guide. As a guy who is looking for a good deal, I knew I wanted to be at least as good as what they considered a really good deal.

I made my search radius about 300 miles, and ended up buying a Camry last year way way way to the left of the TrueCar price -- about 5 hours from my house. (Found through Autotrader.) They emailed me a pdf of the quote in writing before we drove up there.

All in all, it was an excellent experience. We had the price in hand, they knew we were on our way. The car was ready for us. We did an inspection and a test drive, ran through the paperwork, and everything was done lickety split.



5 hours each way = 10 hours travel time. Value of time: @$25-$50/hour = $250-$500

Mileage: 10 hours @ 60 mph = 600 miles; IRS rate of .58/mile, total: $348.00

Total cost of the savings: $598 - $848

Also assuming you can get the car serviced locally. Would hate to have to drive 5 hours each way for a warranty repair.
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Postby dlenski » Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:53 pm

marco100 wrote:5 hours each way = 10 hours travel time. Value of time: @$25-$50/hour = $250-$500

Mileage: 10 hours @ 60 mph = 600 miles; IRS rate of .58/mile, total: $348.00

Total cost of the savings: $598 - $848

Also assuming you can get the car serviced locally. Would hate to have to drive 5 hours each way for a warranty repair.
I agree that it's rarely worth it to travel a long distance to buy a car. I try to find the best deal I can within a couple hundred miles, then take it to the nearest dealer who has the car I want, and get them to match it. I have to be firm and act dead serious about willing to leave immediately and head straight to the dealer with the original offer (even if I'm bluffing :))... but it's worked for me.
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Postby soaring » Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:10 pm

Be sure to ask for a quote from everyone "out the door" price. There can and usually is a big difference since most do not tell you out the door price. Doing this will make all qoutes equal.

Try this link. You do not have to be a member of Amex to use it.

http://amexnetwork.zag.com/main.html
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I've used TrueCar

Postby LeeMorr23 » Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:34 pm

I actually used TrueCar to buy my last car. Bought a Chevrolet Equinox from Power Chevy in Valencia, CA. Used TrueCar to research all of the cars I was interested in by price...then I used it to identify a dealer. Once I was comfortable with the price and was sure they had the precise car I wanted, I went in, drove the car, sat with F&I and was out in under 2 hours. Best buying experience I have ever had.
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Postby dlenski » Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:48 pm

jenny345 wrote:
They basically advocate the strategy of doing your homework to figure out exactly what the dealer paid for the car, offering them a very small markup (1-5% depending on demand), and not budging one bit... it's basically what I did and it worked great.
Treucar is supposed to have what the dealer actually paid for the car but the quotes I'm getting are less than that price. So there is something weird going on in that mysterious world of dealer incentives and hold backs that I don't understand.

I found that Truecar's holdback and incentive information was sometimes out of date or incomplete... good but not perfect. And in some cases they may be willing to sell at a slight loss to get unpopular models off the lot. I agree that it's an awfully mysterious and intentionally confusing system :)

In any case, I think that it's good to have BOTH competing quotes in writing, as well as a very good idea of how much the dealer paid for the car, in order to be really confident when you make your offer.
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Postby zinnia » Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:25 pm

I've used Car Bargains twice. It's very straight forward, costs $200 but it's worth it to me not to haggle with ten different dealerships.....and you get it all in writing...check out their website...
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TrueCar

Postby TrueCarGuy » Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:02 pm

Hi everybody...Jenny345 asked if the pricing is accurate and I wanted to chime in and answer the question as I am pretty knowledgeable on the topic, as someone who works in TrueCar's PR department.

TrueCar is a new car pricing website that provides upfront pricing based solely on actual transaction pricing. That means it is the average price of what real people are paying for the car...not a random price.

When you request a price on, say, a 2011 Chevy Equinox, you are shown what the average local, regional and national price is for an Equinox at each trim level. You are shown MSRP, Invoice, average and dealer cost. Those 4 different numbers are provided to give you a clear understanding of the progression in pricing...how the price goes up as more entities get involved.

That information is what makes TrueCar's pricing - the average price - accurate. TrueCar uses actual sales data to tell consumers what others are paying. It's accurate because it is simply data...the result of lots and lots of data (we get the data on more than 60 percent of all transactions that happen each month).

What is very cool about TrueCar is, you are also given an opportunity to contact up to 3 local dealers through TrueCar's Best Local Price program, which sends your request to the certified dealer that is offering the best price.

Can you do better? If you take the time to shop the price and negotiate dealer against dealer, remain willing to walk out of dealerships to save a few $100 more, you can. If you don't want to put in all of that legwork and time, TrueCar is here to help.

If you have any questions about TrueCar, feel free to drop me a note [link address deleted by Mod].I don't want to flood this message board...I just wanted to offer you all an opportunity to understand us a little better.

best,
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Dealers may be catching on to Truecar

Postby dschoenleb » Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:15 am

I've bought 2 cars and Truecar gave me the information to get a better price both times. One of them was a high end car that I had priced using every dealer for 500 miles so I knew the price very well. The kicker was that I had a clunker trade in that I had also extensively researched to be worth $3000. When all was said and done I got the price I wanted including my trade but ultimately the dealer gave me $5000 for the trade but $2000 higher price for the car I bought. After doing tons of research on the value of both cars I am convinced the dealer wanted to be able to show to Truecar or others that the selling price for the car I bought was high. Trade-in obviously makes my assumption questionable but I don't think I was wrong about the value of my car and this would be one way the dealers could inflate the "actual price paid" part of the Truecar equation.

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Postby gatorking » Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:32 pm

Image

Actually Truecar does show the effect of incentives. For the 2010 Nissan Sentra if you mouse over the months of Sep, Oct and Nov you will see there was a $2000 incentive available.
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Postby Teetlebaum » Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:26 pm

I'm also in the market. (Even though I don't drive much, my econobox is starting to require repairs and it's hard finding parts for a 25-yr-old vehicle.)

I've got a couple of questions.

Is Consumer Reports info useful enough to pay for?

I plan to pay in cash. I've read advice stating
Don't discuss how you will be paying. You can save some by paying cash (not as much as five-ten years ago, but some). But don't mention it until you're close to your number

Why not mention it earlier?
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Postby chipmonk » Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:36 pm

Teetlebaum wrote:I plan to pay in cash. I've read advice stating
Don't discuss how you will be paying. You can save some by paying cash (not as much as five-ten years ago, but some). But don't mention it until you're close to your number

Why not mention it earlier?
Dealers will often give a little on price in the hopes that they will make it up by over-charging you for financing. If they know they're not going to make any extra money on financing, they won't negotiate on price.

Also, if you discuss price and financing at the same time, they will just run around you in circles throwing out way too many numbers at once, making it harder and harder for you to tell if you actually got the deal you wanted. I've had this attempted on me, and it's disorienting.

What I've done is to say, politely but firmly, "I'd like to come to agreement on the price before I discuss payment any further. I'm interested in financing options, but it's confusing to me to combine these things. So let's come to a bottom-line price first."
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Postby E-M-H » Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:07 pm

I am curious where the sales price information comes from. These are private transactions (but perhaps not as private as we expect). Is it the dealer, the lender, the buyer, the DMV, or somewhere else?
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Postby dandan14 » Sun Jul 10, 2011 4:12 pm

I thought I would try to revive this thread. Do you folks have any feedback on the bottom line pricing given by the Consumer Reports service (which costs $14) vs. free no-haggle services like Truecar?

I have a feeling it is the same thing.
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Postby mbres60 » Sun Jul 10, 2011 8:49 pm

In 2003 we bought a new car. I did some research online and for the first time paid the money to Consumer reports for their info to find out what would be a good price. The info provided to me was terrible. I remember something being wrong and also some incentive not accounted for. I knew more than it did! I complained and got my money back.
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RE: Truecar pricing

Postby Nearing_Destination » Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:05 pm

dandan14 wrote:I thought I would try to revive this thread. Do you folks have any feedback on the bottom line pricing given by the Consumer Reports service (which costs $14) vs. free no-haggle services like Truecar?

I have a feeling it is the same thing.


While I haven't used the Consumer Reports service, I did purchase their annual book on car surveys and used TrueCar to examine what it said was lowest available, no-haggle price. As reported above, it missed an additional $500 in rebate, but was otherwise fairly close (but actually slightly high ) from that offered immediately in person. But: we went at last day of month and quarter, so they might have been more willing to deal. So Truecar appears to offer a reasonable starting point for negotiation.
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Re: Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

Postby bstevlin » Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:05 pm

[quote="jenny345"]I'm shopping for a new car. I used the link on Consumer Reports to get a few quotes. The best quote I have is even better than the lowest price on the Truecar price chart of what anyone has paid for the car so far. I also sent off requests for the Sam's Club and Costco auto buying service price quotes.

The car in question does have $2500 in dealer incentives right now.

The dealership with the low bid emailed me a quote in writing with a copy of the sticker info and everything looks great.

Do you think the Truecar pricing chart is really accurate? If so, this deal seems almost too good to be true. I will continue to collect a few more price quotes but I'm wondering if it is really worth my time as this price seems so low already it seems highly unlikely anyone will beat it.[/quote

I was an advocate of TRUECAR.COM. However, I tried using the their service this month.. All I got from them was the run around such as well we do not have that car in stock, but why don't you come in for a test drive on another model. Then the email avalanche follows with of course no definitive pricing. I asked the dealers to send to me the total price including tax, title, and license fees. They said that would not be possible because their too many opportunities available for me that they could not offer me by email. Yeah right.
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Postby Leesbro63 » Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:08 pm

For MOST cars, I have found the EDMUNDS.COM forums to be helpful. Particularly for popular models with lots of buyers. People on there exchange info about holdbacks, rebates and incentives that are not private but are hard to sniff out elsewhere.
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Postby dandan14 » Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:22 pm

Leesbro63 wrote:For MOST cars, I have found the EDMUNDS.COM forums to be helpful. Particularly for popular models with lots of buyers. People on there exchange info about holdbacks, rebates and incentives that are not private but are hard to sniff out elsewhere.


Thanks....I smell a minivan in my not-too-distant future. Boy these things are more expensive than I thought.
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TruCar Pricing

Postby morrisgp » Mon Sep 05, 2011 6:22 pm

TrueCar gives misleading information to consumers. Your own data disputes the current information that you present to the consumer as to what people are paying for vehicles. You are currently using the information that the dealers advertise to get people through the door that does not include the fine print. You should not use a best offered price when the dealer is not going to actually sell the vehicle for that amount. Advertising laws vary from state to state so some dealers only have to disclose the base invoice without the freight and accessories. I even pulled one vehicle that showed a price of $10,000 under invoice and after all dealer incentives, marketing, holdback, etc the dealer would be losing over $4000. Common sense should tell you that this simply will not happen on a new vehicle. However, just to prove my point, I sent an email to the dealer that I had a check for the specific amount already made out and needed the car to be ready for delivery. The first dealer responded that the price was only available on a specific car that was sold. The second dealer said there were additional charges that basically added up to $5000 more than the original price. In other words, if you are truly going to be accurate, you should only show the actual prices that people paid and not what the dealer is using as "bait" to simply get the customer to the store.
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Re: TruCar Pricing

Postby Alex Frakt » Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:44 am

morrisgp wrote:TrueCar gives misleading information to consumers...

Note: morrisgp is posting from a new car dealership. I'm not sure why he would chose to resurrect an old thread to give his opinion on truecar pricing, but I can imagine . :roll:
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Postby travellight » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:04 pm

interesting point about how an inflated trade in compromise can artificially inflate the sold price on a car.
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Re: Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

Postby Chief3738 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:46 pm

So during an NFL game I see a Truecar.com ad. Since I'm looking at new Ford Escapes I think why not check it out. The first thing that I see is that there are " No rebates available from the manufacturer". I already find inaccuracy since I know that Ford has up to$3000 in rebates available. Good bye Truecar.com
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Re: Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

Postby Nearing_Destination » Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:23 pm

Having used the AMEX / Zag site mentioned above to research vehicles, I found that the actual prices I could actually obtain were at the lower end (actually at the bottom end) of the TrueCar scale (possibly due to excess value in trade noted above??) I did not have trade-in and actually purchased vehicle (2011 model in July) at lower/lowest end .... availability of exact trim level was only real issue
{Note: Zag is a Truecar company}
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Re: Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

Postby Wolkenspiel » Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:59 am

We recently bought a car through true car.com. Overall, we thought the experience was superior to the usual process. Both of us do not enjoy haggling very much. Some observations:
- The quoted price was at the lower end of the "prices paid" reported for the same model on various newsgroups/forums. One could probably do somewhat, but not massively better, if one likes negotiating (a lot).
- Although the car was custom ordered, the dealer we bought from agreed to the truecar price and matched the lowest of the three truecar quotes.
- I agree that one needs to double-check the incentive situation for each particular model, although for our model it was correct.

I'm pretty sure we will use truecar again as starting point for our next car purchase (which however will not happen before the next major net-worth milestone is reached...).
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Re:

Postby DRiP Guy » Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:23 pm

soaring wrote:Be sure to ask for a quote from everyone "out the door" price. There can and usually is a big difference since most do not tell you out the door price. Doing this will make all qoutes equal.

Try this link. You do not have to be a member of Amex to use it.

http://amexnetwork.zag.com/main.html


Thanks for that link! It works great, and has helped me narrow my search among several alternatives, and I even went so far as to get the "Price Protection Certificate" from several local dealers. If nothing else, it gives you a tangible bargaining lever when you go shopping, and hey, it was free, and as you said, I did not have to be an Amex user.

One thing I do at home for comparison, and also bring with me on bargaining day, is a spreadsheet that is filled in with my own best guess at the numbers, and before I sign a deal, I double check the figures. Like all consumers, I really want an 'out the door' price, but with holdbacks, incentives, rebates, dealer fees, etc, you can find your eyes glazing over, and THAT'S ON PURPOSE -- the dealer knows that once you stun a prey animal, you have it in your grasp!

Line items from my own new car worksheet, which I have set up to automatically calculate if any of the variables are changed. (your local info would vary). I use this as my own cheat sheet, and line in the sand, whenever they start the fast shuffle trying to add charges at what you thought was the end of negotiations. (and they will!)


Vehicle:
Make:
Model:
Year:
vin#:
stock number:
--------------

Base price
Options
Destination charge
Other charges - hold-back, advertising fees, dealer installed options or services, etc. (GET THESE LISTED BY THE DEALER BEFORE YOU SIGN!)
Total list price
--------------

Agreed sale price
Discount
Net
--------------

Dealer service
FL battery fee
Taxable Price
FL tax 6%
Luxury Tax
tag, title
FL new wheels fee
Subtotal (tax+fees)
(Bottom Line) car+tax+fees
--------------

Trade-in
Cash deposit paid
net due dealer
doc stamp
--------------

loan amount incl stamp
loan months
loan rate/yr
loan pmt/mo
loan pmts tl
finance charge
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Re: Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

Postby Don Christy » Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:23 am

So it would be interesting for anyone who used Truecar and then bought for much lower to see whether their sale ended up in the data.
Ah, make the most of what we may yet spend, Before we too into the Dust descend; Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie; Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and -- sans End! ... Omar Khayyam
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Re: Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

Postby slug » Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:41 am

Don Christy wrote:So it would be interesting for anyone who used Truecar and then bought for much lower to see whether their sale ended up in the data.


The TrueCar rep who posted suggested they only capture about 60% of transactions in any given month, so it is likely that it would be but certainly not guaranteed.
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Re: Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

Postby DRiP Guy » Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:43 pm

"Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?"

Well.... as today's exploits illustrated... Yes...... and no.

It does include factory options you specify. And it does include destination charges.

However, excluded from the "Best price" they give you are of course tax,title, and license, which you would expect to be seperate, so no problem there. But also excluded are "dealer installed packages" and "Documentation fees." Ah, and there is the rub!

I made a trip to several dealers who replied to the Amex site's request for "guaranteed" prices (closely matching the Truecar pricing within 20 or 40 dollars), with that printed 'guarantee' in hand.

* None of them, not one, actually had a car that matched the options I selected, or the colors. Yet, they all had claimed in email responses, and/or by providing the Truecar quote, that they had the car in stock. Of course, it is all just to get you in the lot.

* None of them ultimately honored the 'Guaranteed" price, even though that was the first question out of my mouth, usually before even entering the showroom to sit down for discussion. Why? Because every one of them wanted to tack on pricey option 'packages' that I not only did not want or need, even if they were free, but of course, they still tacked that cost on to their deal-sheet as if I had asked for it.

* Every one of them (South Florida dealers) also tacked on a $795 'doc fee', that they claimed could not be waived. Of course, since Truecar only trimmed about $1,000 of the full-MSRP 'sticker' window price to begin with (which is not a great deal at all in my experience, regardless of their little graphs that say otherwise), so adding on $800 a little further down the sheet means you are essentially paying full retail. Well, that is, if you would have bought. Which I did not. The dealers try this stuff every time and when I told the guys today I never pay such bogus add on fees, they told me that everyone does. Well, they do not. My Porsche, my Challenger, and my Corvette were all bought in Florida, brand new off the lot, and I did not ever pay such fees. They may have moved things around elsewhere to make a claim to the boss that I did, but I always negotiated an out the door price, and I never include consideration of such fees.

* Some dealers even try to start negotiations from a topline where they immediately add $2,000 worth of "Dealer services" such as supposedly Scotchguarding, or adding you to their 'friends and neighbors club' or roadside assistance or maintenance agreement for a specified time (which comes with most cars as a factory giveaway, not from the dealer!) That did not happen today, but that's about the ONLY trick in the book they didn't try.

* At the end, when it was clear that no vehicle they had was going to be for purchase at the Truecar price, I offered to wait for an ordered vehicle at each of the dealers. Their interest was nil.

* Two of the dealers had people from the "Internet Dept" call to invite me again AFTER I had already been there and gone through the fruitless process in person. Of course my message was the same as the last words when I left the dealership: "When you have *this* car, and *this* price, no games, then call me-- otherwise, just lose my number."

For now, my trusty current vehicle will serve me just fine!
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Re: Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

Postby DRiP Guy » Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:55 pm

Post Script:

I will provide the name of the most persistent dealer, only because they continue to be, IMHO, disingenuous, and have made unsolicited calls to me multiple times this afternoon with supposedly reworked 'deals.' Each of them was in reality no better than they did face to face this morning, just trying to reword and shift line items and return discussion to 'hold backs', 'incentives', 'margins', invoice', etc all of which I repeatedly explained I DO NOT CARE TO DISCUSS. I explained repeatedly that all I needed was a simply bottom line out the door price offer from them, reminding them that I will gladly write the check at the house, come to the store, but with empty wallet and no pens or checkbook, so get it right over the phone!

I did not want special treatment, or a 'killer' deal -- All I wanted was the Trucar/Amex price, less their stupid doc fee add on. Nothing more. You will recall that the Internet price was like $1,000 off the full boat on the window retail sticker.

Result: the final 'offer' from them -- $2,000 more than this morning's already unsatisfactory session.

The dealer: Massey Yardley Dodge Chrysler Jeep, Plantation Florida. MY advice: Don't bother going there until they give you an out the door price via email, otherwise, you will get the old cobwebbed laughable car-salesman routines: the hand off, the gotta talk to the manager, the let 'em walk and call em later, the dazzle 'em with insider terms while never talking bottom line, the re-include the trade-in in the figures, even though that was off the table, etc... all the things I think we each HATE about going through this process in the first place.

Since I am older, and if not wiser, at least a bit more calloused, it did not burn me up as much as this kind of shenanigans have in the past. Either eventually one of the dealers I contacted will get 'hungry' enough to deal straight, or else I'll just drive ol' Betsey a little further down the road.
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Re: Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

Postby DRiP Guy » Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:22 pm

PPS: It's 6 PM local, and I just got off the phone with yet another local dealer calling me up. I asked:

"Do you have this car on your lot right this moment?"
"Yes."

"So you have it in silver exterior, with slate gray interior?"
"Uh... I'll check." (comes back after rustling a paper for a moment) "Yes, I have a silver one."

"So, it's optioned as specified, and with the right interior?"
"Uh, if not, we will still honor the price, even if there's more options."

"Oh? Well, that's quite interesting. Fine. Now, the price. The Trucar/Amex "Price Guarantee" on your dealership notes a $699 doc fee in VERY VERY tiny fine print, at the bottom. So, is that right? Becasue if so, we can save time and stop now; I am not paying it."
"Uh, I don't think that is added to the price."

"Really? You mean I don't get charged that? If so, then we might just have a deal. So, you 'think', or are you ready to go over the numbers?"
"Well, yeah, I need to find out."

"Then it sounds like you have some research to do, both on whether you actually have the car I spec'ed, and as to pricing. Why not find out, and call me back tomorrow, *if* the Trucar price plus tax, title, transfer is the bottom line."

End of call.

I could start a poll: Who thinks I get the car from these guys, at the Trucar price, without doc fee, with only tax,title, transfer added on?

I am not at all hopeful, but instead I'm...... "bemused", I suppose best captures my mood.
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Re: TrueCar

Postby cacophony » Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:59 pm

TrueCarGuy wrote:Can you do better? If you take the time to shop the price and negotiate dealer against dealer, remain willing to walk out of dealerships to save a few $100 more, you can. If you don't want to put in all of that legwork and time, TrueCar is here to help.


I negotiated a price that was ~$1500 less than the truecar price, and this was for a sub $20k car! Took about 2 hours and just involved making a few phone calls to internet/fleet managers. Truecar is a good resource, but it's certainly not a guaranteed way to get a low price.
Last edited by cacophony on Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

Postby tyrion » Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:01 pm

Thank you for the updates. It's interesting reading. And it makes me happy that I'm not in the market for a new car.
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Re: Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

Postby DRiP Guy » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:16 pm

tyrion wrote:Thank you for the updates. It's interesting reading. And it makes me happy that I'm not in the market for a new car.


chuckle -- well, the saga continues even now. The exact same guy who talked to me on the phone at 6PM, just send this email at about 9PM.
Must be a canned form letter, but as you'll see I take the opportunity to eliminate any possible points of confusion in my response.... we will see how much of a tin ear they willfully exhibit....

On 12/2/2011 6:02 PM, M. M. wrote:
>
> [DripGuy],
>
> Thank you for your interest in the Jeep from [our dealership]. In an effort to give you the maximum amount of information as quickly and efficiently as posible, I have included the price quotes below. As you can see, there is a significant price difference between the least and most expensive versions. Which one best fits your needs?
>
>
> Well Equipped
>
> As Low as $xx,xxx
>
> Generously Equipped
>
> As Low as $xx,xxx
>
> Conservatively Equipped
>
> As Low as $xx,xxx
>
> The next step is to narrow down your vehicle preferences. Please feel free to contact me via phone or email as listed below. (Keep in mind that a brief phone conversation can often take the place of 8-10 emails.) I look forward to speaking with you soon!
>
>
> *In stock vehicles only. Prices may include all rebates, discounts and incentives. You may not qualify for all rebates. Prices do not include tax, title, license or document fees. All vehicles are on approved credit. See dealer for complete details.
>
>
> Thank you,
>
> M M

M.M,

As I told either you or an associate on the phone just hours ago, my needs are simple, reasonable, and were articulated completely in the original Trucar/Amex quote that you have a copy of. To reiterate:

* One new 2012 Jeep.
* Color: Bright Metallic Silver, with Dark Slate Gray Interior
*Options: Air conditioning. Period. No other options are desired. Five speed standard is desired. Will take an automatic, but only as a NO ADDTL COST change.
* Price: $xx,xxx as you yourself quoted! The only additional money I expect to pay is for tax, title, lic Period. That means NO DOC FEES, NO DEALER PREP, NO OTHER GIMMICKY ADD-ONS. (You can "ScotchGuard" it all you want, or don't -- just don't expect me to pay for things I don't want and did not request.)
* You of course keep any and all rebates, hold-backs, incentives, promotions, etc. The corollary however, is you are not charging me for 'advertising', 'regional adjustment fee' or other nuisance fees!

So, my figures, are as follows:

$xx,xxx Base price
$0.00
$814.00 Air conditioning
$xx,xxx Vehicle with options
$780.00 Destination charge
$xx,xxx Total list price


$xx,xxx Agreed sale price
$0.00 Discount
$xx,xxx Net


$0.00 Dealer service
$4.50 FL battery fee
$xx,xxx Taxable Price
$xx,xxx FL tax 6%
$0.00 Luxury Tax
$53.10 tag, title
$0.00 FL new wheels fee
$xx,xxx (tax+fees)


$xx,xxx car+tax+fees (Out the door)



IF (and only if) you can meet this price, contact me, and I am ready to buy with cash on the spot (personal check or certified funds if you desire), but if not, please delete my name, info, and phone number from your files and do not contact me again.

Thanks for your interest in providing a good-faith deal to me, through Trucar/Amex services.

[DripGuy]
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Re: Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

Postby DRiP Guy » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:58 pm

Oops. Just noticed that it looks like he actually sent it just after 6PM, roughly concurrent with the phone call, but I did not check my email until 9PM. No matter, the essential story unfolding is unaltered.

We will see if I ever get a call back or return reply.
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Re: Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

Postby DRiP Guy » Sat Dec 03, 2011 2:00 pm

Saturday update:

I got form letters from the "Internet Manager" as well as the "General Manager".... both "blah blah, we value you blah blah customer service blah blah... please do not hesitate to call blah blah...."

I simply cut and pasted the same feedback and short list of my numbers that I provided the salesman, to both of the new emails, and told them that their "un-waivable' doc fee, and trying to add on stuff that I clearly and vocally do not want and did not ask for, and yet charge me for it, is a nonstarter. Each of those emails also ended with a strong "Do not contact me further if you cannot meet these terms," and yet they continue to have different people send me different form letters, completely ignoring the fact they NEVER had the vehicle they said they had, and were NEVER going to actually meet the price that is supposedly quoted.

Just shuffling a thousand dollars of pure profit off of the "price" and instead calling it a "documentation fee" is despicable, and IMHO, might even be classified by a consumer watchdog agency as BOTH consumer fraud, as well as tax fraud.

IMHO, car dealers are sleazy, period.
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Re: Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

Postby htdrag11 » Sat Dec 03, 2011 3:51 pm

I'm in NJ. What are reasonable fees, besides documentation fee of "$699"?

There are: title, registration, data processing/clerical (yes), license plates, advertising, credit bureau check.

What an amazing scam.

Thanks.
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Re: Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

Postby DRiP Guy » Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:47 pm

htdrag11 wrote:I'm in NJ. What are reasonable fees, besides documentation fee of "$699"?

There are: title, registration, data processing/clerical (yes), license plates, advertising, credit bureau check.

What an amazing scam.

Thanks.


I guess I'm even a harder egg than you on that. To me, paying them the 3% to 6% per car that they still admit they will make on a deal like this is more than enough that I certainly don't see the validity of any excuse to add "admin" "credit check" "Data processing" "heating and cooling" "Retirement fund" or any other fees associated with them needing to do the routine running of their business!

I pay tax to the state, license and tags to the county, and so all I want to see from the auto dealer is the same thing I see at Walmart -- the price is the price, no tricks!
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Re: Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

Postby Padlin » Sun Dec 04, 2011 10:11 am

Drip Guy
What did you use as your "Base price" on your worksheet? When I use the Amex app it gives me "invoice" and a "Best Price" which is what the local dealers are supposedly going to sell it to me for.

Thanks
Regards | Bob
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Re: Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

Postby DRiP Guy » Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:22 am

Padlin wrote:Drip Guy
What did you use as your "Base price" on your worksheet? When I use the Amex app it gives me "invoice" and a "Best Price" which is what the local dealers are supposedly going to sell it to me for.

Thanks


"Base price" on my worksheet is the MSRP, so that is less any options or delivery charges or other 'add-ons'. It is there simply as a reference point, and to illustrate the discount Trucar is giving off the MSRP ('sticker') price. In my case it was about a thousand dollars -- again a very modest discount, IMHO, so when the dealer would not then yield on their 'add-on' pure-profit outrageous doc fee, then I know I'm getting the shaft.

I haven't proven it by negotiating my own deal yet of course, but I honestly think I could have done better by just coming in off the street, and negotiating right from that MSRP figure down to a more reasonable number, and ended up better than the Trucar number, on an "in-stock' car. The key there is that anything they have in inventory, they are 'floor-planing' which means revolving credit charges accrue to them for every day those unsold inventory sit on the lot.

What I imagine will happen (this happened on the Corvette) is that even though I've walked away, they keep a 'hot file' of actual qualified buyers that they just could not cut a deal with, and come month end, or other push period, I'll get a call, to come on down for an in-stock car, at my terms.

A similar thing happened on the Porsche too, we walked away 'friends', and I told them to keep my number on file, and if they ever could meet the terms, give me a call. This was at a time that the dealers were adding "regional adjustment fee" (meaning idiots in South Florida had more money than sense!) and of course, that was a non-starter for me as well. They claimed someone backed out and left a deposit which let them make the deal, but I think that was just face-saving noise, as they did not want to appear to 'give in.' Hey, I don't care what they SAY as an excuse, as long as I get my price.

I think the key to my own success so far in buying the new cars is in being extraordinaraly flexible time-wise, i.e. not really 'needing' a car, and in being willing to listen and communicate, but also being totally firm on my own bottom line.

It seems that they won't sell to me immediately, but when they get hungry, so far it's worked out.

So, we will see how this one plays out, too. Right now the game appears to be 'over', but I thought that was true on the Corvette and Porsche, too.

The BEST experience I ever had was in getting a solid written internet quote, including them faxing the stock #, VIN #, and window sheet of the exact car I was buying, on the Challenger I bought way upstate (metro areas are horrible to buy in, you are much better off in the sticks, even if it's quite a distance), and then flying up one-way to Jacksonville ($179) and driving it home. When I got up there, the car was prepped, the deal was solid, and even though I worried about being without transport and stranded up there if something went wrong, (they picked me up at the airport!), they did not try any funny business at all, and I was fully ready to book a flight or a bus back home rather than put up with last minute add-ons. They did gently 'force' me to sit with the F&I guy for like two minutes to explain their in-house financing options, even though I was clearly buying cash from the very start of discussions. Just a check mark they need to put on their paperwork, I guess. No extended warranty, service agreement, or other add-ons needed for me, thank you very much. I was in and out of the dealership in no more than 45 minutes.

That was a 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T, out the door for 29K, and I just sold it to Carmax (who does not pay top dollar, but they are easy to deal with!) for 24K, three years old, but low mileage. I also sold the Corvette and the Porsche to Carmax, too, when their times came. I guess as much as a penny-pincher as I am on the front end, I'm all about piece of mind, ease, and frankly, personal security on the back end -- I had put the Porsche on Ebay for about a week, and had nothing but tire kickers and weirdos, so I pulled the ad, and decided that route was just not for me. I still think selling outright to Carmax has been better for me than trading, even with the tax differential. I find that separate transactions for selling the old and for buying the new keeps everything nice neat and simple.
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Re: Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

Postby cacophony » Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:06 pm

jenny345 wrote:I think that the best way to deal with True Car pricing is to first submit a quote to a throwaway email address just to get the actual names of the dealers in your area associated with True Car. Then go to those dealerships and see what is really on their lots. Then submit price quote requests a second time, this time with your real information with the exact option selections on cars you know they have in stock on their lots. This still won't guarantee you a great price, but it does give you a quote on a car you know they have in stock. Otherwise you might be getting a great price quote on a car that doesn't exist and then when you go to the dealership they will just try to upsell you to a higher priced car with more options and obfuscate the original True Car price quote.

Another option is to go to the dealership and ask them what the car price would be if you do not go through an online lead generation service like True Can or Edmonds since that saves them the referral fee. One dealership told me that was $500 per car.


Yes, no reason to involve Edmunds or Truecar. You can just call the local dealers directly yourself. Ask for the fleet or internet person, and then ask for an OTD (out the door) quote based on your zip. Then call other local fleet managers and ask if they'll beat the quote you've gotten so far. Repeat until you have a bid that no other dealers will touch. I've done this process with as many as 10-15 local dealers. It takes a couple hours but it gets you a price that's $500-$2000+ less than the truecar price (and this is for sub $20k cars!). With a good fleet manager there should be no games, and many will often be happy to do dealer trades to get you the exact car you want.
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Re: Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

Postby DRiP Guy » Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:13 pm

jenny345 wrote:I think that the best way to deal with True Car pricing is to first submit a quote to a throwaway email address just to get the actual names of the dealers in your area associated with True Car. Then go to those dealerships and see what is really on their lots. Then submit price quote requests a second time, this time with your real information with the exact option selections on cars you know they have in stock on their lots. This still won't guarantee you a great price, but it does give you a quote on a car you know they have in stock. Otherwise you might be getting a great price quote on a car that doesn't exist and then when you go to the dealership they will just try to upsell you to a higher priced car with more options and obfuscate the original True Car price quote.

Another option is to go to the dealership and ask them what the car price would be if you do not go through an online lead generation service like True Can or Edmonds since that saves them the referral fee. One dealership told me that was $500 per car.


Excellent feedback on all counts! Thanks!
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Re: Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

Postby lovinVG » Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:43 pm

I am glad I found this link on bogleheads.org :

https://amexnetwork.secure.zag.com/main.html

I had been using the costco auto program to get prices for a toyota highlander but this site saved me $1,000 over the costco price.

I was very happy with the experience. No haggling, no B.S.
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Re: Truecar Pricing: Is it Accurate?

Postby DRiP Guy » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:09 pm

Just got a live phone call from yet another person at the first dealer I went to. He asked if I had found my car yet, or if he could help me.

I told him no, I had not found one, but that was fine with me/ Explained that the only way he could help me was to give me the following out the door price... asked him if he had a pencil... he did... gave him my bottom line, explained it was all inclusive (same old statement from me -- "I will write the check here at the house for the total amount, and be there in thirty minutes, but I will not be bringing my checkbook or other cash to the dealership, so it needs to be right, and final."

He told me he would check and call me back.

I told him no need to call back, unless he could make the deal.

(shrug)

My intuition is this will trickle on for another week or more, but eventually one of the four dealers will tell me to come on in. If not, oh well.
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