PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

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bsteiner
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PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by bsteiner » Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:48 am

Is there likely to be a difference in prices among these?

TheOscarGuy
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by TheOscarGuy » Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:29 pm

From a personal car buying experience, these services are not worth much.
I have found better pricing with online email negotiations, that beat at least two of those....(don't have membership of Costco ;-) ).
Last edited by TheOscarGuy on Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

EagertoLearnMore
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by EagertoLearnMore » Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:31 pm

I have used Truecar and Costco. Costco provides a break on the price, but not the best price. Truecar allows you to be contacted by dealers and you can get them to bid on the sale. The Costco approach is more straight forward and no hassle. If you have any problems, Costco will help you. For instance, the first dealer we were sent to by the Costco referral was higher in price than just negotiating ourselves elsewhere. We called Costco and provided that information. Costco contacted another dealership and their price was better than we could get on our own. Whichever you pick, you need to do a little work to get the best price.

Celly
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by Celly » Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:47 pm

These are great for using as "Starting points for negotiation" ... But a good negotiator can/will always get a much better deal when dealing directly with the dealership.

Polaris
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by Polaris » Thu Mar 06, 2014 4:08 pm

I got a quote from Penfed's car buying service when I bought a Hyundai Santa Fe last fall (the Penfed service IS re-branded Truecar). Via email negotiation I negotiated a price of about $32.6k before incentives, which was pretty good when compared to the Penfed quote of $33.8k for the same car. Not worth it in my case.

thomasbayarea
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by thomasbayarea » Thu Mar 06, 2014 4:31 pm

They all use the same backend service: "Zag" which is owned and operated by Truecar.

markfaix
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by markfaix » Thu Mar 06, 2014 5:03 pm

Try Carbargains (link below), which contacts 10-12 dealers in your area on your behalf for quotes.

http://www.checkbook.org/auto/carbarg.cfm


The advantage is that because you have paid for the service, the dealer knows you're a serious buyer, rather than a window shopper. With my most recent car purchase, I had a friend do emails to dealers for price quotes, while I did the Carbargains. Carbargains got a better price by more than the cost of their service. Only disadvantage is turn around time. YMMV, but I was satisfied.

The other services you mentioned have networks of affiliated dealers, but you never know if another dealer outside of the network might have a cheaper price.

Jerrybaby
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by Jerrybaby » Thu Mar 06, 2014 5:22 pm

Since you are asking, you are probably not the type that cares for negotiation. Just realize that you are paying to avoid the hassle. If you can find out what the invoice price is for a particular car (edmunds.com has been reliable for me in the past), take 3% of the invoice price and that amount is considered fair markup for the dealership. Invoice Price = 25,000 + 3% markup ($750) = $25750 total price for the car (plus tax/title/fee etc).

Compare that 3% markup with what you will be paying for buying service. For me, the buying services have never been worth it.

Edit: Not every single dealership will go for the 3% deal, but its considered fair.

jhd1945
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by jhd1945 » Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:20 pm

After comparing PenFed Car Buying Service, Edmunds, Kelly Blue book, and American Express Car Buying Service, I found that PenFed offered the lowest price on an $80,000 car - $2,501 below invoice. The dealer argued but eventually honored PenFed's price. It (price) was on the left most side of the bell curve.

wacobay
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by wacobay » Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:12 pm

I recently used Truecar service to buy a Honda CR-v. They sent me a list of salesman at differnt dealers who worked with Truecar and I negotiated with them for the best price. As far as I can tell from my research online ,the final deal I got was very good. So I would certainly say Truecar worked for me. Of course the salesman may still be laughing at the naive guy who bought the CR-v . Thanks for reading.

Browser
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by Browser » Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:16 pm

Depends on the vehicle. Been shopping lately and a couple dealers immediately referred me to Costco and said they honored that price. Subaru dealer said the Costco price was about invoice and he'd do that deal w/o the need to go through Costco. An Acura dealer said the Costco price for their vehicle was about 2% over invoice, but he'd do invoice for me. He hopped right on his laptop to show me where that fell on Truecar, so he was actually using Truecar pricing as leverage. Since they were so forthcoming about Costco and willing to deal at invoice, and comparing to Truecar pricing I figure that all these prices are probably inflated. It's just part of the scam these days, I figure. These guys aren't going to volunteer the best price they'll give you right out of the box. So I'm thinking about shooting for 5% under invoice to start, with an acceptable price being about 3% under invoice. That gets you well down into the left tail on Truecar, but I'm thinking you better be way down the left tail if dealers are willing to reveal that pricing to you. That means it's probably phony, IMO.
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penumbra
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by penumbra » Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:35 pm

Recently bought a Prius. Used Trucar first, then Costco. Got notably better price thru Costco, even from the same dealer. It was also simpler to use. Dealer honored the Costco price without any funny business, extras, etc. Had checked prices on Priuschat, a website for Prius owners, who told their purchase price sampled all around the country. Convinced I got a very good deal for my part of the country (CA). Would use Costco's service again.

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bsteiner
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by bsteiner » Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:53 pm

I bought a 2014.5 Toyota Camry (they added a rear view camera and called it 2014.5 to distinguish it from the original 2014) using PenFed's car buying service. The dealer honored the price. As of now, Toyota offers a choice of a $1,000 rebate or 0% interest for 5 years on that car, and PenFed offers 0% interest for 3 years if you buy through their service, so I was able to get both Toyota's $1,000 rebate and 0% interest for 3 years through PenFed.

tj
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by tj » Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:56 pm

Costco is $1500 under invoice for Toyota, at least for the local dealer I got quotes from. I did not buy.

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Kenkat
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by Kenkat » Sat Mar 22, 2014 8:20 pm

I bought a Honda Odyssey last weekend and although I started with Truecar, I was able to to negotiate an additional $1400 below the best Truecar price and almost $5000 off MSRP by the time I was done.

Truecar was a starting point but I found my best results were working directly with individual dealer internet departments to negotiate pricing.

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Hexdump
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by Hexdump » Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:44 am

The last new car we bought was a 2011 Lexus, ES-350 and the best price was from a dealers ad on Ebay. I figured it was about $1500 under other quotes I had gotten.

Browser
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by Browser » Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:00 am

markfaix wrote:Try Carbargains (link below), which contacts 10-12 dealers in your area on your behalf for quotes.

http://www.checkbook.org/auto/carbarg.cfm


The advantage is that because you have paid for the service, the dealer knows you're a serious buyer, rather than a window shopper. With my most recent car purchase, I had a friend do emails to dealers for price quotes, while I did the Carbargains. Carbargains got a better price by more than the cost of their service. Only disadvantage is turn around time. YMMV, but I was satisfied.

The other services you mentioned have networks of affiliated dealers, but you never know if another dealer outside of the network might have a cheaper price.
$250 for the service, which seems a little stiff to me. Interesting experiment that you did comparing to a friend emailing, but I wonder if the friend couldn't have driven it down a little more if he'd been an actual buyer. How do dealers know you paid $250 for the service; do you think they are familiar with Carbargains? I just can't imagine that many people are willing to pay $250 for the service in the hope it will be worth it -- don't think I would. But I like the idea of someone else doing the bidding war for me to get a price.
We don't know where we are, or where we're going -- but we're making good time.

skullhead
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by skullhead » Sun Aug 10, 2014 6:42 pm

I am interested in getting a 2015 Mercedes C class car that will not be available for purchase until the end of this month. I will probably have to order the car with my preferred option which means the car will not be delivered for another 2 months or so.

My question is how useful will these Costco, Penfed, etc car buying service will I be able to get given the car is a brand new model and will be popular. Dealer usually don't negotiate (that much) on a brand new model and popular car.

TDAlmighty
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by TDAlmighty » Sun Aug 10, 2014 10:49 pm

These buying services have to keep the dealers happy--otherwise the dealers would have no incentive to use them. If you spend a few hours preparing yourself, you will not only beat the prices you could get from these buying services, but perhaps save hundreds or even thousands more.

I recommend spending a couple hours reading the forums at edmunds.com or the enthusiast forum for your particular make/model that you are interested in. You will see the actual prices that people paid and the methods that they used to get those prices. Only then will you get an idea of what type of prices you should be aiming for. The rest is just negotiating skills. I do not believe in calling or sending emails to get price quotes--in my experience dealers build buffers into their email/phone quotes because they really do not know who they are dealing with on the other end. Plus they will NEVER stop calling/emailing you.

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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by sscritic » Sun Aug 10, 2014 10:58 pm

I used Costco. The price is relative to invoice and depends on the model. For a given company, the price could be invoice for one model and $1500 under invoice for another. Then again, the model you want might not be in the Costco program. You do have to go to the Costco affiliated dealer in your area for the brand you are buying.

Costco's prices were comparable to some TrueCars and lower than others. I hate bargaining, so I was happy to take Costco's price and be done with it.

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dm200
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by dm200 » Sun Aug 10, 2014 11:18 pm

In the Washington DC area, I have used United Buyers Service several times over the past decades. The service is FREE if you are part of a participating credit union, many employers or similar organizations. I really like the fact that you do not have to pay that really annoying "Processing fee" (often $250 - $350!) to the dealer after (you thought) you had a final deal.

www.ubs4cars.com

chuppi
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by chuppi » Sun Aug 10, 2014 11:45 pm

I bought a new car in 2012. My experience was that Costco does not help much. They are basically connecting dealer and you and trying to collect some commission in the process.

You have to finalize which car you want and the options you want. Once you finalize the car, email a few dealers and ask them for their best quote. Usually internet quotes are very competitive. You will likely shortlist 2-3 of the dealers in the process. Then you go in person to one of the dealers and negotiate the price further. I got my price down by some 500$ from the best of the internet quote. The key is not to add any features because once you deviate, it will end up being a new negotiation.

rj49
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by rj49 » Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:01 am

If you live in a larger city, you might be able to find a reputable, capable auto broker who will do everything for you, without all the hassles. Most people pay 6% of a home price to have realtors do the negotiation and we pay a yearly fee to have Vanguard experts buy and sell the stocks and bonds in our funds, so it seems worth it to pay a reasonable fee to let someone experienced at auto negotiating to get a good price for you, both for a new car and for a trade-in. I would gladly pay $500 to get a car without having to deal with auto salespeople and their tricks and delays and manipulation. If you consider yourself a shrewd negotiator, remember the statistics about how 93% of drivers consider themselves above average, and the same is true for amateur investors who think they will outperform the market through their research, buying a newsletter, following the advice of Jim Cramer or Morningstar ratings, or based on previous returns (i.e. Wellesley/Wellington will outperform their benchmarks in the future because they did in the past). The technical term is 'illusory superiority', although I tend to think of it as being male :D .

hudson
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by hudson » Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:56 am

markfaix wrote:Try Carbargains (link below), which contacts 10-12 dealers in your area on your behalf for quotes.

http://www.checkbook.org/auto/carbarg.cfm


The advantage is that because you have paid for the service, the dealer knows you're a serious buyer, rather than a window shopper. With my most recent car purchase, I had a friend do emails to dealers for price quotes, while I did the Carbargains. Carbargains got a better price by more than the cost of their service. Only disadvantage is turn around time. YMMV, but I was satisfied.

The other services you mentioned have networks of affiliated dealers, but you never know if another dealer outside of the network might have a cheaper price.
My research found that car buying services were suspect. I found that Carbargains was OK...it was a non-profit. Consider taking a look at James Bragg's website. I've used his service over the last 4 years to buy 2 vehicles...and plan to use his service in the future. When you buy his $40 service you can call him on the phone and he'll coach you....extremely useful. http://www.fightingchance.com/

I did a Boglehead site search for James Bragg.... https://www.google.com/search?sitesearc ... gws_rd=ssl

amitb00
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by amitb00 » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:30 am

Last year I was shopping around for a Mercedes. I looked at True car and other websites. I found email negotiations with multiple dealers was very effective. One dealer told me he will give me 10k discount on msrp which was the best deal. So I will vote for email negotiation with multiple dealers.
Cheers, Amit
PS: Finally I went with Tesla which have fixed prices and no negotiation.

hinrgmike
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by hinrgmike » Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:11 pm

Have been in process of trying to use Carbargains but finding out it’s a horrible service. Placed an order on Mar 12th with expectation to receive report within 15 – 17 business days. After calling on day 18 to inquire on status and being told they were behind and it would be completed that week, as of today (22 business days), I’m now told they are just starting my report. I”m truly shocked at how bad customer service has been from a supposed non-profit consumer groups. I would not recommend them at all!

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sunny_socal
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by sunny_socal » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:07 am

I tried Costco last time I bought a car. In the end direct email contact with the dealers through their website generated the best bids. My local dealer couldn't touch the best internet offer! He also happened to be the recommended 'Costco' dealer. Those services are good only for one thing: if you beat them, _then_ you know got a good deal. Their prices are the new ceiling, not the floor. And 'invoice' is the new MSRP. Manufacturers must be padding the list prices, don't believe anyone who tells you they're selling the car at a loss! :wink:

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dm200
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by dm200 » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:09 am

dm200 wrote:In the Washington DC area, I have used United Buyers Service several times over the past decades. The service is FREE if you are part of a participating credit union, many employers or similar organizations. I really like the fact that you do not have to pay that really annoying "Processing fee" (often $250 - $350!) to the dealer after (you thought) you had a final deal.

http://www.ubs4cars.com

squirm
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by squirm » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:39 am

Does anyone ever admit they got a bad deal when buying a car?

tech_arch
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by tech_arch » Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:21 pm

squirm wrote:Does anyone ever admit they got a bad deal when buying a car?
Probably not, but I admit that Costco does a better job negotiating then I do! We got a quote through Costco and checked other dealerships. One couldn't (wouldn't?) come anywhere near it and the other beat it by a few hundred dollars. I might not have gotten the very best but for the time and aggravation saved it was well worth it.

squirm
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Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Post by squirm » Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:51 pm

Saturn had a no hassle, haggle policy. We had a Saturn, what a pos that thing turned out to be.

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