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Purchasing Programs (AAA, Costco, BJ's, etc.)

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Comments

  • A few years back I was in the market for a small car, and being eligible for the X-Plan I was considering a Ford Focus. It being the end of the model year at the time, Ford was offering a $2K or $3K (I can't remember which) incentive on top of the X Plan pricing, so I decided to pull the trigger on the Focus.

    I went into the dealer expecting to just take the X Plan price without any serious negotiating. However, when I got there, the vehicle that I wanted wasn't there, so the salesperson tried to put me into a higher trim vehicle which had stuff that I really wasn't interested in.

    Anyway, I, of course, asked him if he could "check around" to see if there was a dealer swap that he could do. He made a big show of pretending to call around to other dealers, but I am fairly certain that he was probably just talking to a dial tone. Anyway, this charade went on for awhile and he said that there was no cars available with the feature that I wanted.

    At this point, I thanked him for his time and "effort" (it WAS an entertaining show on his part) and I was about to walk. At this point, he asked me to wait while he keeps looking. He leave for about 5 minutes and comes back with another person in tow.

    This, of course, is the sales manager. The sales manager introduces himself and explains that it being the end of the model year, supplies are limited, so I pretty much have to take what's on the lot. I told him that what they have on the lot doesn't meet my needs, and I am just going to go elsewhere.

    The SM replies that he has a car on the lot that has everything that I want. I reply that I told the salesman that it also has features that I am not interested in, and I really don't want to pay for these extras. So the SM replies with that famous question "So what can I do to get you into that car today?"

    Like I said before I was pretty much done with this dealership, so I figured I'd throw out a ridiculous offer to see if they would bite. "Well, if you gave me that car for the same X-Plan price that I would have paid for a car that has only the features and I want AND you beat the interest rate that I am getting with my bank, then you have a deal."

    Much to my surprise, the SM immediately agreed!

    To make a long story short, I ended up with a deal that was better than X-Plan pricing, although that was never my intention. They did "get" me for VIN etching since it was pre-printed on the contract and I didn't notice it, so I suppose I didn't get the _best_ deal. Still it ended up being a good deal.

    Anyway, my perspective now is that X Plan pricing is good (usually around invoice price minus rebates), but I think you can do better if you are smart (or in my case, lucky).

    In retrospect, though, I kind of wish that I HAD walked since the salesman and the SM were your typical sleazy car salesman types. The fake phone calls to the other dealers really amused me, and the VIN etching was annoying (although it was my fault for not paying attention - I won't make that mistake again).

    I did start to go to them for servicing since they gave me a bunch of coupons for free oil changes and tire rotations. However, the quality of their service department was lacking (a story for another day perhaps), so I have been going to another dealership where I have had a much better service experience. I am thinking that if I am in the market for another Ford, I might just go to them.

    Two things to be aware of when it comes to X Plan pricing:

    1. According to the terms of X Plan pricing, the dealer is not allowed to charge any sort of documentation fee.

    2. The X Plan price includes the destination charge, so they shouldn't be adding that back in.
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 6,017
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    2009 PT Cruiser, 2008 Eclipse, 1995 Mark VIII, 1988 GMC Van

  • Apparently AAA just recently revamped their Auto Buying service. Their site allowed me to do the research I needed to ID the car I wanted. The dealer I worked with was great, if you can believe it, there was no haggling at all and the discount pricing was great.
  • You did not mention what type of vehicle you are looking for.
    AAA did not find the best price and while AAA does not charge a fee the company that provides the service for them tacks 15% onto the cost of the vehicle. A bit misleading of AAA. Costco tries to give the best price but the dealers think the buyer will not check around and don't offer the best price. i checked Edmunds first had the paper in hand as well as contacting 3 dealers who had signed up with Costco there was as much as $1000 difference between them. In the end I went to the next city and purchased the same vehicle for $1000less, no hassles and lots of benefits, free oil change for a year, free car wash, free car rental.

    Hope this helps.
  • We haven't nailed down the deal yet (waiting for the car to come in, *should* be there tomorrow), but we went through Zag.com's service (through Bank of America's site) and we were quoted a price that was about $3,700 off invoice. We were looking at Corollas and originally wanted the base model in manual; since that car doesn't exist (Zag's system will still let you configure cars and tells you that they're available even when they aren't) the dealer offered to give us the same discount off of a manual Corolla S.

    Maybe we just got lucky - maybe they are blowing out the 2010 Corollas, since we tried searching lots of other models on Zag.com (Jetta, Sentra, Altima, Civic, Elantra) and couldn't get the same discount - YMMV. Even searching in a different zip code (still the same region, just a different city) produced different results. Also as noted above Zag will let you configure cars that aren't available, and the dealer might tell you that they have it in stock (when they don't, or even if the car isn't available with certain options) just to get you to come in.
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