Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

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LookinAround
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Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by LookinAround »

Curious if anyone has experience with Costco Auto. A few curious thoughts below. And certainly add whatever else you want!
  • What make/model did you buy?
  • How much off of MSRP did you get?
  • Did you find it an overall easy process?
  • Any thoughts/experience on how Costco Auto compares to using internet sales where you build your car and email to dealers to get competing bids?
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RickBoglehead
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by RickBoglehead »

Costco Auto sends you to A dealer in the area, may not be the closest. That dealer gives you a price. You have to contact the dealer and engage with them to get that price. Some brands, at some times, provide an additional cash incentive from Costco directly in the form of a Costco cash card.

These deals differ by area, by make, model. Asking a person who bought a Ford ___ in Arizona what they got off MSRP as compared to a person who bought a Dodge ____ in New Jersey is totally useless information.

In addition, each area has different rebates. A buyer of a Ford F-150 who lives in NJ make get $3,500 in rebates, whereas a buyer who lives in Florida may get $5,000 in rebates. And traveling to Florida won't get that NJ buyer any better pricing, because they get the rebates for NJ regardless.

There is no such thing as "internet sales". What you describe is exactly the same result as if you contacted by phone, or visited dealers - you're asking them to compete for your business.

One thing most buyers don't understand is that the only thing that matters is what comes out of your pocket - i.e. a discount off MSRP is meaningless. Comparing to invoice price is much more meaningful. I'd recommend you utilize KBB, Edmunds, and even Consumer Reports to determine appropriate pricing for your vehicle, ideally invoice cost, and then approach Costco and directly to dealers and see how the end result compares.
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sport
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by sport »

LookinAround wrote: Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:17 am Curious if anyone has experience with Costco Auto. A few curious thoughts below. And certainly add whatever else you want!
  • What make/model did you buy?
  • How much off of MSRP did you get?
  • Did you find it an overall easy process?
  • Any thoughts/experience on how Costco Auto compares to using internet sales where you build your car and email to dealers to get competing bids?
*I have used it twice.
*Toyota Camry
*The Costco program does not specify a discount off MSRP. It specifies an amount more or less than the dealer invoice. The dealer is supposed to show you the invoice. As I recall, the amount was about 10% off the MSRP.
*The Costco price is just a starting point. You can (and should) negotiate from there. The last time I told the dealer I did not want to pay his document fee. He said it was "not negotiable", but he took most of it off the price of the car.
*I did not get competing bids as I considered this to be about as good as I could expect to get.
*Costco gave me a $50 gift card that I used to buy some all-weather floor mats. This keeps my carpeted mats in better condition.
shunkman
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by shunkman »

I used the Costco Auto program within the past 30 days. Overall it was a stress-free process and I would use it again. However, I did not settle for the Costco price and I was able to negotiate an additional $750 off MSRP. This is probably not the way it is supposed to work. I bought a vehicle that the dealer had on their lot so maybe they were more willing to negotiate. And as an Executive Costco member, I received a 50% off coupon (up to $200) for parts, service, or accessories.
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mhc
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by mhc »

I tried Costco this summer. Costco sent me to a dealer about 40 miles from my house. They showed me the Costco price. Then they showed me the price if I didn't use Costco. The Costco price was about $1000 higher than their initial price quote. Obviously, the I didn't go with the Costco price.

It is very little effort to try Costco, Trucar, or any other service. Try them all and see what happens. I try them all and also email all the dealers.
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PalmQueen
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by PalmQueen »

I have no experience with Costco's used car program, but had a good outcome buying a new car through them, so think they're worth consideration.

Costco worked for me because the make/model car I wanted happened to have a good discount in my area at the time.
  • The discounts the dealers offer through the program appear to depend on inventory and demand.
  • The lists are updated frequently, at least monthly if not more often.
  • The discounts are geographically specific, maybe down to the county level. (I live near the county line and there was a $2k difference in price between 2 contiguous counties.)
Other people have said the Costco program didn't offer much of a discount and I'm sure that's true if the car they want is one dealers have a hard time keeping on the lot.

If you check out their used car program I hope you post an update. I'm curious to better understand how that works.
Good luck with your purchase. I hope you find a great deal on a great car.

Oops - edited to add - I misread your title and thought you were looking for a used car. Sorry.
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by jeffyscott »

RickBoglehead wrote: Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:45 am Costco Auto sends you to A dealer in the area, may not be the closest.
May not even be in the area. Recently tried getting Costco price for Hyundai and Ford, dealers were 90-100 miles away. I was not willing to drive 2 hours, or nearly that, each way to find out the price. And it's not like we are in some remote area, there are 8-12 Ford and 4-5 Hyundai dealers in the metro area.

We had tried also Costco for a Mazda a few years ago and immediately were emailed a detailed OTD price quote. But that dealer was also far away (~90 miles), so got priced matched locally. I guess that sort of thing is why they now insist that you have to come in.
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RickBoglehead
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by RickBoglehead »

jeffyscott wrote: Thu Dec 19, 2019 5:55 pm
RickBoglehead wrote: Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:45 am Costco Auto sends you to A dealer in the area, may not be the closest.
May not even be in the area. Recently tried getting Costco price for Hyundai and Ford, dealers were 90-100 miles away. I was not willing to drive 2 hours, or nearly that, each way to find out the price. And it's not like we are in some remote area, there are 8-12 Ford and 4-5 Hyundai dealers in the metro area.

We had tried also Costco for a Mazda a few years ago and immediately were emailed a detailed OTD price quote. But that dealer was also far away (~90 miles), so got priced matched locally. I guess that sort of thing is why they now insist that you have to come in.
A lot of dealers won't participate, especially on Ford, for which there never is any Costco cash card.

Ford's X-Plan is very good, right near invoice, $100 max paperwork fee, plus all rebates. Easy to get, join Experimental Aircraft Association if no other way.
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Helo80
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by Helo80 »

LookinAround wrote: Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:17 am Curious if anyone has experience with Costco Auto. A few curious thoughts below. And certainly add whatever else you want!
  • What make/model did you buy?
  • How much off of MSRP did you get?
  • Did you find it an overall easy process?
  • Any thoughts/experience on how Costco Auto compares to using internet sales where you build your car and email to dealers to get competing bids?

Costco, or any auto buying program for that matter, simplifies the auto buying process for people whom are haggle averse and/or don't want to take the time to research the price/value of a car.

Viewing Costco, or any similar service, and how much "MSRP off you got" can only be done on apples to apples level and probably even to the extent of trim to trim. I think that the well-optioned Telluride/Palasides are the ones selling like hotcakes now, whereas the no-frills ones are moving slightly slower. Domestic brands tend to cake in high % off MSRP into their pricing whereas Honda is traditionally next to nothing.
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by cadreamer2015 »

We purchased a Prius V 7 years ago in New Jersey. We got quotes from both the Costco and USAA programs. We got proposals from 3 dealers through the USAA program and perhaps 1 dealer through Costco (it was 7 years ago so I’m not positive). We ended up going through the USAA program for $1,400 under MSRP of $28,000, so about 5%. I’m sure the value of these programs varies quite a bit by locality, make and model of the vehicle you want to purchase.
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kaneohe
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by kaneohe »

Has anyone compared the Costco price vs the do-it-yourself getting internet bids from dealers? When we bought our last 2 cars some time ago, I assumed that since the middleman (Costco) was getting a cut, the dealers could afford to give me a better price but still make more $$ if I did it on my own............but no data.
gtd98765
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by gtd98765 »

I have friends who used Car Bargains, which is run by a nonprofit consumer magazine. They claim to best TrueCar by $1k or more.

https://www.checkbook.org/auto/

There are look-alike scam sites so be careful with the URL.
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LookinAround
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by LookinAround »

gtd98765 wrote: Thu Dec 19, 2019 8:36 pm I have friends who used Car Bargains, which is run by a nonprofit consumer magazine. They claim to best TrueCar by $1k or more.

https://www.checkbook.org/auto/

There are look-alike scam sites so be careful with the URL.
Thanks for the info but they want $250 up front for their service. They promise a refund if you find a better price within the same area and time period (time period not defined) but still wouldn't try it or go that route.
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by Finridge »

RickBoglehead wrote: Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:45 am Costco Auto sends you to A dealer in the area, may not be the closest. That dealer gives you a price. You have to contact the dealer and engage with them to get that price. Some brands, at some times, provide an additional cash incentive from Costco directly in the form of a Costco cash card.

These deals differ by area, by make, model. Asking a person who bought a Ford ___ in Arizona what they got off MSRP as compared to a person who bought a Dodge ____ in New Jersey is totally useless information.

In addition, each area has different rebates. A buyer of a Ford F-150 who lives in NJ make get $3,500 in rebates, whereas a buyer who lives in Florida may get $5,000 in rebates. And traveling to Florida won't get that NJ buyer any better pricing, because they get the rebates for NJ regardless.

There is no such thing as "internet sales". What you describe is exactly the same result as if you contacted by phone, or visited dealers - you're asking them to compete for your business.

One thing most buyers don't understand is that the only thing that matters is what comes out of your pocket - i.e. a discount off MSRP is meaningless. Comparing to invoice price is much more meaningful. I'd recommend you utilize KBB, Edmunds, and even Consumer Reports to determine appropriate pricing for your vehicle, ideally invoice cost, and then approach Costco and directly to dealers and see how the end result compares.
We bought using Costco Auto. Everything in Rick's post is correct.

When you get the Costco Auto price, you don't want to just blindly at that price. You should contact different dealers and see if you can negotiate a lower price. The Costco Auto price is usually a good price, and often better than what you would be able to negotiate on your own--but not always. It's not a "screaming deal" price.
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by Sconie »

Finridge wrote: Mon Dec 23, 2019 6:11 am The Costco Auto price is usually a good price, and often better than what you would be able to negotiate on your own--but not always. It's not a "screaming deal" price.
Well said! The Costco price and process is stress-free and more or less "work free"----and a "decent" price----but rarely the "best price."
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by BoglePaul »

Purchased a car last year, tried a few of these services including one through my credit union, Costco, and another one. All of the quotes were higher than the quote directly from the dealer. I found the lowest price by configuring the car manufacturers website that lists all of the options exactly then emailing those specs to three dealers and acquired a quote from each. I then went to visit the dealer with the best price and asked for an additional $400 of their price.

During the purchase process I was quoted $8999 for an extended 3 year warranty. After declining three times the finance guy negotiated downward and I left paying $3000 for the extended warranty. Seems like there is a lot of margin in those warranties.
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by sport »

Finridge wrote: Mon Dec 23, 2019 6:11 am When you get the Costco Auto price, you don't want to just blindly at that price. You should contact different dealers and see if you can negotiate a lower price.
You can also negotiate at the dealer with the Costco price. The quoted price is only a starting point.
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by michaeljc70 »

mhc wrote: Thu Dec 19, 2019 11:20 am I tried Costco this summer. Costco sent me to a dealer about 40 miles from my house. They showed me the Costco price. Then they showed me the price if I didn't use Costco. The Costco price was about $1000 higher than their initial price quote. Obviously, the I didn't go with the Costco price.

It is very little effort to try Costco, Trucar, or any other service. Try them all and see what happens. I try them all and also email all the dealers.
This is what I and another family member experienced.

Me: "Your Costco price is higher than the price I got at another dealer"
Dealer: "Oh....well..that is the Costco price...if you don't want to use Costco we can give it to you for xxxxx"

I think the Costco service is best 1) if you really don't care if you pay more because you don't want to negotiate and go through that process or 2) as a starting point to get an idea on what the car can easily be had for.
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by Finridge »

mhc wrote: Thu Dec 19, 2019 11:20 am It is very little effort to try Costco, Trucar, or any other service. Try them all and see what happens. I try them all and also email all the dealers.
In a nutshell, this is the best approach. Try all avenues and see which one nets you the lowest price.

In our case, we wanted a model that was in hot demand. There was almost no local inventory as models shipped into our area were often already pre-sold or quickly snapped up on arrival. So in our case, the Costco price ended up being the best price we able to get. But I think if had gone with a different model, it would have been different.
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by bikesandbeers »

Costco connected us to a dealer that did not have a single vehicle available in the model we were looking for, and did not have any idea when they'd get more.

We went a another dealer that had one that had been sitting on their lot for a while. we got around $10K off MSRP, although some of that went toward an extend warranty.

I got emails form Costco asking how the buying experience was. I also had the other dealer call me a couple times asking what they could do to win our business.
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by anonenigma »

Just bought a 2021 Camry Hybrid LE via Costco, and it was a very good experience.

MSRP was $28,723. Costco discount was $4,602.69. In addition, there were $2,500 in manufacturer rebates.

Good deal. No negotiations. Easy.
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by iamblessed »

anonenigma wrote: Thu Mar 04, 2021 6:42 pm Just bought a 2021 Camry Hybrid LE via Costco, and it was a very good experience.

MSRP was $28,723. Costco discount was $4,602.69. In addition, there were $2,500 in manufacturer rebates.

Good deal. No negotiations. Easy.
Did you price the standard LE with them?
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by criticalmass »

sport wrote: Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:50 am
LookinAround wrote: Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:17 am Curious if anyone has experience with Costco Auto. A few curious thoughts below. And certainly add whatever else you want!
  • What make/model did you buy?
  • How much off of MSRP did you get?
  • Did you find it an overall easy process?
  • Any thoughts/experience on how Costco Auto compares to using internet sales where you build your car and email to dealers to get competing bids?
*I have used it twice.
*Toyota Camry
*The Costco program does not specify a discount off MSRP. It specifies an amount more or less than the dealer invoice. The dealer is supposed to show you the invoice. As I recall, the amount was about 10% off the MSRP.
*The Costco price is just a starting point. You can (and should) negotiate from there. The last time I told the dealer I did not want to pay his document fee. He said it was "not negotiable", but he took most of it off the price of the car.
The "Costco" program is actually operated by Affinity Auto Group, LLC. Navy Federal used to use the same provider, but dropped them.

You go to the special Costco branded webpage or phone number operated by Affinity Auto. Then they sell your lead information to qualifying dealers in their network, who agree to certain terms.

The dealer was likely 100% correct about the document fee being not negotiable, because many state laws require the same fee charged to ALL customers. So the work around is reduce the price elsewhere.

You can do just as well by negotiating yourself, and likely you can do better. The smart buyer knows exactly what they want, and then solicits bids for the OUT THE DOOR PRICE for exactly what they want from dealers. You can do this on the phone, but it is often more efficient over email. You then select the lowest that meets your specs, and possibly ask them if they can do better if you want to do a second round.

By the time you enter the dealership property, the only thing to do is verify the numbers are correct on the contract and accept the keys. (Plus all of the DMV/RMV/MVA formalities).
3of10
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by 3of10 »

kaneohe wrote: Thu Dec 19, 2019 7:56 pm Has anyone compared the Costco price vs the do-it-yourself getting internet bids from dealers? When we bought our last 2 cars some time ago, I assumed that since the middleman (Costco) was getting a cut, the dealers could afford to give me a better price but still make more $$ if I did it on my own............but no data.
Yes. I used the Costco price as the baseline when negotiating with other dealerships. I did everything online. Ended up getting a great price (way better than Costco) from a dealer that was trying to reduce their inventory on the last day of the month (best time of the month to make a deal).
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by Dougiefresh »

We recently purchased a used car through the Costco program. They have a couple of different flavors; one for purchasing certified used cars, the other for non certified used cars. We opted for a higher mileage Prius (65K lease return) that had been in an accident (repaired per the carfax report). The listed pricing was lower because of these factors. The dealership was selling it as a certified car as well. Costco's program states that for a certified car the pricing will be $750-$500 less than the advertised price. We negotiated an additional $250 off that.
Buying used cars can be a crapshoot. We felt more comfortable knowing that with the additional warranty, which comes with the certified program, that we would be limiting our exposure. Plus, having Costco as our third party gave us some peace of mind that if something went wrong, we had them as an advocate.
2000 miles later...so far, so good.
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by anonenigma »

iamblessed wrote: Thu Mar 04, 2021 11:08 pm
anonenigma wrote: Thu Mar 04, 2021 6:42 pm Just bought a 2021 Camry Hybrid LE via Costco, and it was a very good experience.

MSRP was $28,723. Costco discount was $4,602.69. In addition, there were $2,500 in manufacturer rebates.

Good deal. No negotiations. Easy.
Did you price the standard LE with them?
No. I wanted a hybrid - either the RAV 4 XLE or the Camry LE. RAV 4 XLE was in very short supply. I gather that the difference between hybrid and non-hybrid Camry is a little over $2,000. Hybrid LE has some additional standard features, including push button start, that are options on the non-hybrid LE.
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by zhiwiller »

I recently bought a new Chevy Bolt.

The Costco dealership they tried to send me to did not give me the best price. But Costco has a 3k rebate on Bolts no matter where you buy them, so I just took that to another dealer.
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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by Sandtrap »

We recently had a quote from Costco Auto for a 2021 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro/Limited. The discount was not greater than what we could get when bargaining with various dealerships. Perhaps it depends on the type of car and area, etc.

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Re: Anyone buy a car using Costco Auto?

Post by squirm »

People use Truecar, Costco etc, because they don't like to negotiate or are intimated by it or it's more convenient. Nothing wrong with that.
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