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2013 and Earlier - Toyota Highlander Prices Paid and Buying Experience



  • The MSRP is $34,845 and invoice is $30,850 according to the Edmunds web site. TMV is $32,057 here in Little Rock, AR. What would I be expected to pay for this vehicle if I have to order as there are no other Highlanders in the area with the options and color scheme that I want. I do not want to pay for a bunch of options that I do not want.
  • I have been running into problems trying to find a Hylander Sport AWD. I want Blizzard Pearl with the Gray leather interior (2 row seating eliminating the 3'rd row). I also want the tow package, power rear door, dual zone AC in the front. I have called a couple of dealers with these details and they get back with a quote on a HL that does not only have these options but with options I do not care to have. When I ask about ordering I had one tell me he could get what I wanted in less than a month but it would not have the tow package. With the tow package it would be 4 to 6 months! Also the quotes I have been getting are about $600 more than the Edmunds TMV for my area. I am going to buy the HL with cash, No trade in. Do the dealers know we are in a recession? I figure when you are going to spend 30 plus on an automobile you better get the options you want. Am I too picky or what? When you shop by phone should I ask for the sales manager? It seems that the salesmen I talk to always have to "get" with their boss. The last two cars I bought was a BMW and a Lexus and they have spoiled me on the car buying experience. When I say I want your best deal, why do I get the feeling they are giving me high ball price, like $1800 over invoice? Should I just give them the TMV price that Edmunds figures and say take it or leave it? Any suggestions to cut through the BS would be appreciated. :confuse:
  • First off, throw Edmunds TMV out the door... it's useless!

    Second, understand that dealer factory invoices typically include a regional advertising fee called TDA (for Toyota and Lexus). This is why if you view an invoice on Edmunds or KBB, then ask the dealer for his invoice, it's typically higher (most of the time around $400-$500). It's a legit fee that they are charged form the manufacturer and is indeed itemized on the invoice.

    Third, not exactly sure what region you live in, but in most competitive markets, a Highlander with the sport trim can typically be had for $250-$500 over invoice.

    Fourth, understand that selling cars is a business and most dealer's will never give you their "best price" upfront, especially if you're dealing with a retail salesman who does not have the ability to "desk his own deals." Nothing against a retail guy, but they are simply used to messenger numbers between the desk and you (the customer). It's a waste of time.

    Fifth, never ever tell a dealer that you are paying cash for a vehicle. At the very least, tell them you're undecided. Dealer's make a bunch of money on the back-end marking up finance/lease rates and selling a bunch of useless garbage. If you tell them you're paying cash and have no trade-in, they only see one area to make some money, as oppossed to three. Cash is NOT king in the car biz!

    Sixth, as for special orders, it really all depends on where a particular dealer gets its vehicles from. Certain plants may have different manufacturing capabilities and thus the reason why your build order may not be approved at the closest factory. Talk to either a Fleet manager or a Sales manager (not an Internet manager) about ordering. Let him know which options you want and let him tell you if it's possible or not. Ask him for a realistic delivery date. Negotiate the price of the vehicle before you decide to order it, that way there will be no surprises when it arrives. You will also receive whatever rebates andd incentives are available at the time you take delivery, Not when you place the order.

    Lastly, be courteous, professional and firm in your negotiations, but don't be a jerk or act like a know-it-all. Dealer's realize that people want the lowest price, but they also realize that their bosses want them to hold some gross profit in the vehicle too. So, knowing where the invoice is on your particular vehicle, I'd say start at invoice ($500 below if you want be really aggressive) and work your way up to No more than $500 over, knowing that is still a very aggressive selling price.

    Good Luck!
  • Thanks for some good info especially about the cash thing. It's a shame we have to play games but I guess buying a car is still not too far from horse trading. I live in Arkansas and I have found that Houston is the port where Toyota's are configured with certain options. I have expanded my search into Texas (Dallas area) as I have bought cars at a much better price than here in the Central Arkansas market.
  • I have a question for you. If the invoice price that the dealer has is say $500 over the Edmunds invoice then if you make an offer of $500 over the dealer's invoice, then you are about $1000 over the Edmunds invoice price but you are now real close to the Edmunds TMV price which here in Central Arkansas is about $1200 over invoice for the vehicle I want. The dealers here are quoting me ball park figures $1800 to $2500 over invoice are just a few hundred below MSRP ! Do I just go ahead and say this is what I will pay ($500 over invoice) and if refused just walk out the door?
    I have another question for you. Say you find a dealer that gives you a good deal say $500 over invoice but they are located way out of the way at least an hours drive where as the closest dealer is just 7 miles from your home but they were too high. Would you have any problem buying a vehicle from a far way dealer and then taking it in for service to the closer dealer from your home?
  • You can take your vehicle to any Toyota dealer in the US for service. Dealer will get paid by you for maintenance or Toyota in case of warranty repair.
  • I am in the Los Angeles area and over the last couple of months (Dec. and Jan) have visited two of what are considered the highest volume Toyota dealers in the county.

    What is with the lack of inventory of the HL Hybrid? Searching the online inventory today only 10 HL Hybrids. The flipside - today 110 HL gassers. Hybrids are only 8% of the total Highlander inventory. Inventory around on the HL Hybrid has been basically this way for the last 2 1/2 months.

    Some of the dealer sales manager and salesperson responses -

    1) Early shipping delays of the Hybrids due to unknown reason.

    2) High demand by all dealers for HL Hybrid.

    3) Fewer are manufactured thus fewer available.

    Well, okay maybe plausible to some degree. This is February 2008. Not September 2007. What gives here?
  • Disappointing planning by Toyota. I am also on the same boat. 2 months and still waiting for the right vehicle at the right price. If Toyota wishes to keep "moving forward" with the hybrid drive as a viable transportation mode, they better re-invent their supply chain. I also truly hope that detroit does a good job to be a viable competitor to Toyota in this niche category just so that Toyota do their homework to meet consumer demands and to bring the cost down.
  • ighigh Posts: 60
    I am waiting here in the bay area and watched in dismay yesterday the price go back up to MSRP from 2000 below on the HH.

    I think due to the weak dollar and as HHs are exclusively made in Japan,
    Toyota is not making much money on the HH. So the idea is to keep the
    price high by restricting supply but still keep their green image going.
    They are moving production this year to the US. I think supply will only increase after that.

    Cant wait much longer. Might have to go for the base model instead of Limited. :(
  • I was not aware of the manufacturing location of Highlander which for the 2008 model is the plant in Ikeda, Osaka exclusively. As a curious note the Highlander goes by its Kluger model name in Japan and other parts of the world.

    As for your comment about moving production of the Highlander to the US, this will take place at the Mississipi plant which broke ground in April 2007. Delivery of the Highlander from this plant will not occur until 2010.

    I searched most of the online resources of Toyota, but I could not find any information or comments in regards to production numbers of the gasser and/or hybrid models of the Highlander for 2007 or 2008. Nor delivery timelines

    This could be sensitive and competitive industry information?

    Wish there were more Kluger Hybrids comin' to town ;)
  • ighigh Posts: 60
    Google cleanmpg slaes number

    You will go to a forum in that displays slaes number of the HH
    for Sept to Jan and before.

    The sales only picked up from Nov (delivery issues before that) and are much better than last year maybe because the 2007 HH was the last model year.

    Sales are hovering around 2500 per month with a slight dip in Jan.

    I think Toyota is comfortable with that.
  • I just met with a sales person at Landers Toyota in Little Rock, AR and it looks like I am going to have to do a special order to get my color combination and options I want. They are in the Gulf South region and a resarch in 5 states show zip on what I want. They said the next step was to put out feelers in a national pool to see if there is a HL like I want. The salesman said the in the worst case I might be looking at 90 days to get my HL by special order. He did a print out and the MSRP comes out $34,304 and invoice $31316. Edmunds invoice shows the invoice to be about $900 less than Lander's printout. What gives? Would advertisement fees be this high? This would be about 2.6 % of the MSRP. Normal?
  • Seems quite a bit of money for a non luxury vehicle. Why not buy a Acura MDX pay less $ for comparably equipment and get more resale. Yes it takes premium gas but for 15K miles a years works out to be about $400. Yet has a better ride and a kick-butt sound system.

    My mind is made up could you tell.
  • smith1smith1 Posts: 283
    Keep in mind that Toyota really has no such thing as a "special order" in the sense that American makes do. What Toyota dealers call a "special order" does not trigger the factory to build a particular car that otherwise would not have been built. All it does is enter a request to allocate a vehicle matching your spec from the future production stream. How soon the dealer will receive that car depends on when, and how many, examples of that configuration are scheduled to be built, whether or not they are already allocated to other dealers and how many other "orders" your dealer has already placed for specific cars. That's why Toyota dealers are often so vague about when a "special ordered" vehicle will actually be delivered and why their delivery estimates are so often wrong. When they are candid they talk about "preferencing" a car, because that's what really occurs. The car you want might show up in the production schedule and allocated to your dealer next week, next month, three months from now, or never. And if the configuration you want isn't in the production plan, even if it is a "valid" configuration, you'll never get it. Some unscrupulous dealers will accept an "order" and quote a reasonable delivery time for a configuration they know full well is very rare in the production plan, or never built at all -- they figure after enough time goes by you'll tire of the wait and accept a vehicle with "close enough" specs.

    It's ironic that the car company that is known for its advanced production system offers much less flexibility in special orders than the American makes, but that's the way it is. With so much Toyota manufacturing moving to U.S. plants I thought they would have adapted a true "special order" system by now, but it hasn't happened.
  • While I have been trying to find a Highlander with the color/options I want I also have been looking at the Lexus RX350. After hitting a stone wall with the local Toyota people, Lexus can get what I want but of course I am looking at about $7K more but also a few more options and definitely more luxiourious. I think smith1 has hit the nail on the head. I got the feeling when the salesman said 90 days worse case, I was thinking 6 months if I am lucky. I also just felt like I was in a zoo at the large Toyota/Scion dealer. They have a bunch of young adults working the lot like fire ants swarming when you drive up. When the salesman wanted to crunch some numbers he had me have a seat in an open cafeteria like setting. Kids were playing video games and other people were eating. Absolutely no privacy when he brought out his computer generated paper showing MSRP and the inflated invoice that was $930 higher than Edmunds and KBB. He also wanted me to give him a $500 deposit but I told him no way without my wife being able to see the Highlanders in person. I got up and left and told him I would call him in a few days.
  • A word of advice on deposits. Nothing wrong with a "good faith" deposit of $500 or so, but if you ever do, just put on a credit card, that way you can dispute the charge if anything goes wrong. I've done special orders in the past and have had vehicles traded on me, or sold right out from under my nose.

    I never really understood why dealer's asked for deposits anyway, since they are non-binding. Well actually, I do understand, but they prey on consumer ignorance. Just some 411 to help you along with your purchase should you have to order.
  • The only time you should make a deposit is when the buyers order has been signed by the sales manager. My salesman wanted a deposit while we were still negotiating "what would be a fair deal." You are just setting yourself up for abuse if you fork over a deposit before the sales manager has agreed to what you will pay. Also $500 is too much. I think $100 would suffice especially when they can't give you an accurate time frame of delivery.
  • I have been searching for a good price on a 2008 Limited FWD Highlander for about 3 months. I think I have got something worth taking. Any suggestions from the pro's? I have done all negotiating with this dealer via e-mail.

    Heated Seats
    Rear Power Liftgate
    Towing Prep Pkg
    Cargo Mat
    Rear HVAC

    MSRP 37,810
    Invoice 33,300
    Sale Price 33,980

    One of my concerns at this point is they will add in doc and dealer fees, I will get those in writing before going to make the purchase. Anything else to look out for?
  • I bought a highlander hybrid limited with all option B with some accessories for $41900. It is $500 above invoice. This was last saturday. It was tough for me to get this given the fact that hybrids inventory is very weak/less for any given dealer. There is no sales volume to make profit on. But, one thing I realised was that if we are negotiating on a vehicle that the dealer has in stock, they were willing to budge to get the vehicle out of their door. Also, while negotiating, you should always be ready to take the deal and sign the papers.

    I think non-hybrids should be much more easier to negotiate. Although we are talking about a couple of hundred dollars here, I would say that you should really shoot for invoice price.

  • If they request a deposit do not give them one until the sales manager signs off and OK's the buyer's agreement. Other wise they may just be baiting you and then come back with the negotiating game for more money and send in new salesmen to try to get more money out of you. You are not there to play games. Sounds like you got a good deal if they will sell it to you for that price.
  • wkcrwkcr Posts: 1
    Just bought 08 Highlander Base 4WD with third row seat in Southeast dealer (NC). Classic silver.
    - QM Manual Rear HVAC
    - EH Cold Weather Package
    - DR Roof rail
    - Toyoguard
    - Floor mats
    Sticker MSRP: $31,000 invoice price: $28,200
    My price: $27,000
    Out the door (after taxes/fees): $28,500
    I think it's pretty good deal.
  • I have been dealing with LA/Orange County dealers and they tell me that the online sources, e.g., Edmunds, CarsDirect, etc aren't giving the actual invoice/dealer cost. One dealer that I trust most says that their cost on a $39k Limited is $700 more than shown online. Can anyone tell me if this is true and what the manufacturer is charging them for??
  • I ran into the same situation here in Little Rock, Ar at Landers Toyota. I had the salesman run a special order printout for a Highlander Sport AWD and the invoice he printed out was $930 more than Edmunds and Kelly Blue Book. I did not have my Edmunds data with me so I did not question him at the time. The question he hit me with was" Here is the invoice price and the MSRP. You will buy this Highlander somewhere in between. What do you think would be a fair price." I was caught a little off guard because I was not ready to make a firm commitment but I said to save a lot of arguing $800 over invoice. He wanted a deposit to further negotiations and I said I could not do anything without my wife seeing the Highlanders and left. Only when I got home did I see what the Edmunds invoice was and they were going to make $1700 sell over invoice! What a rip. It is my understanding that advertisement fees, oil and gas are on the invoice that you do not see listed by Edmunds or KBB. No way should that be $700- $900. I think so many buyers are getting educated to check websites that list invoice prices that the dealers are using some kind of bogus fee to jack it up $700-900 to make more profit. :
  • I got this offer from a southwest ohio dealer for a build request on a 08 Highlander Sport 4WD w/ cypress pearl and sand beige interior with option package E (EH, EJ, SR, FE, QR, CT, TO) as listed on Toyota's website.

    MSRP: 34,495

    Offer: 30,500

    OTD: 32,696 (includes 250 doc fee, 6.25% tax, 25 for temporary tags)

    I also plan to use the 400 college graduate rebate, which will take the final price to 32,296 (OTD).

    Is this a good deal?
  • I just had the same thing happen to me. Here are the additional fees that I was told are included on the invoice. I asked him to give me a detail of what each fee was and why...

    TDA (Toyota Dealer Advertising) $587
    Gasoline $10
    Dealer Holdback (Reward for franchise dealer if they make plan) $654
    Wholesale financial reserve (helps dealer to afford to put this many cars on lot) $327

    MSRP was 35,559 on a 2WD Limited.

    I told the dealer I was insulted that he wanted to charge me for gas and for him to have "so many cars on his lot". Since I was negotiating via e-mail I could not walk out, but I did push the mouse button pretty hard. :P

    His response was, come in and we can beat any other deal.
    Sorry, he had his chance...
  • Since advertising fees (TDA) vary by region, some will be higher and some will be lower, but it is a legit fee as it's itemized on the "FACTORY" invoice. Edmund's and Kbb even admit that their invoices typically won't match the dealer's (read the fine print). I don't like the ad fee anymore than you do, but it's on the invoice from the factory and not some extraneous fee the dealer wrote in. You can always try to negotiate it if you don't think it's fair, but you probably won't get vary far.

    Toyota does charge for fuel on certain models. If that $10 fee really bothers you, I guarantee a dealer will not lose your business over it, but what you see on the invoice is what the dealer was billed.

    The holdback and wfr are already figured into Edmund's and Kbb, so the only thing you need to be aware of is the ad fee. Manufacturers have differnet ways of figuring the fee, but typically 1-3% of the base msrp is not uncommon.

    If you want to be ultra aggressive, that's fine... take the holdback, wfr, ad fee, and fuel, and subtract that from the base invoice and use that as your starting point. One could surmise that would be the dealer's dead cost, but truth of the matter, the manufacturer and the owner of the dealership are probably the only ones who know the exact cost.You'll need to be in the right place at the right time if a dealer wants to take that deal, but if not, know that $250 -$500 over FACTORY INVOICE is still a great deal on one of these vehicles, especially the hard-to-find hybrids and limiteds.

    Good Luck.
  • Hello! Could you post which dealership you purchased the HL from? I'm in NC and am interested in getting HL Sport or Limited 2WD.

  • The TDA and Gasoline are legit but still can be negotiated if that is what is keeping one from walking or buying. The Dealer holdback Reward and the Wholesale financial reserve is bogus. There is such a thing as "Dealer Holdback" but that will not be on the invoice. That is a non negotiable sum between the manufacturer and the dealer. It can be taken into account on how much profit a dealer is going to make on the sale how ever. I think Consumer Reports will provide that information on their printout when you buy their car service.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 100,904
    Holdback and Wholesale Financial Reserve .. actually, they are on the Toyota invoice..

    But, the base invoice price is reduced to reflect those added charges.. The invoice that you see on Edmunds and other on-line sources already has those items figured in... Toyota breaks them out separately, but they don't add to the invoice price you find here.

    Toyota invoices are confusing, to say the least.. That's why the dealers like to show them to you.. (you'll notice that you don't get a copy to take home).


    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • Edmunds invoice has factory invoice with dealers holdback. Expect to pay Edmunds invoice + delivery + TDA, that's normal. Whistler Financial reserve is a dealer carrying cost of the car, I never paid it and IMHO no car buyer should pay it.
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