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2003-2008 Toyota Corolla Prices Paid and Buying Experience



  • Bought a CE with manual transmission and almost no options last week. 14,200 + doc fee of $150. MSRP was 14,985. I'm sure I could have done much better with more time/effort and a different personality, but the dealer is a mile from my new house, and I just wanted to get it done. So I'm happy for being under MSRP!

    I certainly didn't enjoy the experience. The salesman was like Gill on the Simpsons, whining about how he didn't make any money (the evidence shows otherwise).

    The car is very nice!
  • I am so happy that i found this website before I went and bought my car. i never knew that I can negotiate the price of the car before I even go to the car dealership. Hopefully everyone's advice will help me since I have no experience buying a car. What I wanted to know is when u email the dealership what exactly is it that ur suppose to say as far as the pricing goes?

    I live in the washington dc area so if anyone bought a car from around here that would be helpful to.
  • I would not rely on Edmunds price as anything more than a rough guide. The fact that dealer's are inserting Edmunds price information sheets into their brochures leads me to believe that the dealers are happy with those "What Others Are Paying" prices. Yesterday, I purchased a 2007 Corolla LE for $14,988. Its MSRP was $17,276 and invoice was $15,965. Why? Well, the car was listed at $14,988 price in the dealer's ad---even though the one only car referred to had been sold. It was also the end of the month (October 31) and I suspect that sales goals or quotas were more important than profit. My car had All Weather Guard Package ($70), Audio Value Package ($450 less Extra Value Package MSRP Discount of $250), and Carpet Floor Mats/Cargo Mat ($171).
  • beantownbeantown Posts: 228
    Bought a CE with manual transmission and almost no options last week. 14,200 + doc fee of $150. MSRP was 14,985. I'm sure I could have done much better with more time/effort and a different personality, but the dealer is a mile from my new house, and I just wanted to get it done. So I'm happy for being under MSRP!

    Yikes.....that's about $3,000 more than it would have cost you in Mass.

    I've read of a few people paying $14K or more for manual CE stripper models and it makes my head spin. How about this for a deal? Any time anyone else is tempted to spend this kind of money on a manual CE, let me know. I will personally pay for your flight and transportation to one of the two Boston area dealerships that give these things away for around $11,900 every other week. In return, all I ask is that you pay me half the difference in price of the two cars.
  • Emailing the dealerships is basically the same method as faxing but you must get to the sales manager and not a salesman. If you have never bought a car before you will want to read the car buyers guide at

    The site is a lot to read but it will prepare you for all the tricks the dealership will try and pull. After you have narrowed down your choice of vehicles, then the $35 packet from will give you all the ammo you need to get a great deal.

    Also, always remember that the dealer needs your business more than you need to buy a car from him. that puts you in a position of power. Don't be afraid to say NO and walk out of the dealership if you don't have a good feeling about the deal.
  • i agree with you on the Edmunds pricing. A few posts back I said that it was okay but then I tried to price out the car I bought on Edmunds. Edmunds didn't even have all the option codes that were available for the LE and their figures were off.

    Your comment of a rough estimate is more accurate!
  • They have to be using this model as a loss leader hoping that they can up sell most buyers to either the "S" model or the "LE".

    the CE is pretty spartan so I am sure that for most buyers, they wouldn't be that opposed to moving up with a little nudging from the salesperson.
  • Do people actually walk away from these places paying only 11,999 or whatever? I'm curious if they just don't advertise the price of options, or if there's a $600 doc fee, or whatever. Does this sort of advertising work so well they can afford to lose $1500 on the car?
  • beantownbeantown Posts: 228
    These dealerships each add $299 for doc fee, but that's it....unless you want an extended warranty, but that's completely optional. No forced pinstriping, tint, undercoating or any of the other crap that some dealerships usually try to pass off.

    How can they do this? They are very clear that it costs them less to move these at a $1,500 or so loss in one or two days than it would to keep them on the lot taking up valuable space for over a month (because that is how long it takes them to sell manual stripper CEs without discounts), and these are two of the largest volume toyota dealerships in the region. People just won't buy these specific models around here unless they are heavily discounted.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    I agree that I think this is a way for them to advertise "Toyota Corolla Less than $12,000" just to get people on their lot, and then when people realize there are no curtain airbags, ABS, et... they might end up buying something else. All the time you'll see ads like that and in tiny print, "one at this price." For a big dealer, the money lost is probably cheap compared to other forms of advertising.
  • how long does it take before u receive ur report from fighting chance
  • Should receive it within 48 hrs via email.
  • If you still have questions after reading the packet from Fighting chance, don't be afraid to call them. They are terrific about taking the time to answer any questions or walk you through how to calculate holdback figures, etc. (i.e. for Toyota the hold back is a % of the base MSRP at the top of the windows sticker - not the bottom)

    I must have called them at least 5 time with one or two quick questions before I finally had everything ready to fax out.
  • Hi,

    I bought my 2007 LE on August 29th. They had an LE with a sunroof (which is hard to find) without anti-locks and extra airbags. I haven't had a car with a sunroof in years. I was dying for one. But for the same price I took the safety over the sunroof. I'm not trying to make a point or anything and I'm sorry if it sounds like that but isn't safety more important than alloy wheels?

  • Of course safety is more important and if money wasn't an issue then I would be on the civic discussion board as the new civic comes with all the safety features and I probably would have bought one. Since the finances were tight, and I had a limited amount of money, I opted for the base corolla LE and the alloys.

    Side airbags and ABS really aren't a concern for me as I'll stack my driving style up against anyone. In the past 24 years, I've have had one small fender bender (14 years ago) in which no one was hurt and damage was limited to approx. $400.00. I don't tailgate, maintain proper following distances and constantly scan the road trying to anticipate trouble spots. most of my driving is local and over back roads so I don't see a lot of traffic.

    That's not to say that I couldn't be dead tomorrow but the odds of it happening in a car accident are not really high.
  • Yeah I see your point. I'm driving 30 years with no indicents also. I feel like I'm invincible too sometimes. But we can't stop another guy from killing us no matter what.

    I guess if it was just me driving I would have opted for the sunroof but my daughter drives to college with this car also. Take care.

  • I was just thinking, the bacon and eggs for breakfast and the occasional Philly Cheesesteak will probably be my demise...LOL
  • Keep us posted on your progress when you actually send out the faxes.
  • doug52doug52 Posts: 25
    With all due respect, your driving style will not prevent an idiot running a red light or stop sign and broadsiding you. For an extra few hundred, is it real worth the risk? After 24 years, the odds are shifting against you.
  • Your right, it won't. But you can lessen the risk by not trying to anticipate the changing of a light or taking a few seconds to double check that a car is actually slowing down at an intersection. Every one seems to be in a big hurry these days and that is why I drive defensively.

    ABS and side curtains are normally sold together and was on very few cars I saw. the invoice on them was approx. $900. basic laws of supply and demand dictate that if there is a limited supply of what you want then the price is going to be higher. I doubt I would have gotten such a good price if I was trying to get one of those vehicles.
  • Hi,
    I got a red corolla LE auto with carper floor mats, all weather guard package, audio value package for $15,300(excluding sales tax and registration). I tried out a few dealers and asked them to beat the lowest one and I paid a 300$ deposit for this car after getting a fax with the car details and vin signed by the manager. I think I did a right thing by paying a deposit for 15.3 , please let me know if I got a fair deal.

    Also, I am currently working on my PhD for 3 years and the toyota financial services website says one of the conditions to avail the $400 student rebate is to be enrolled as a grad student since 2 years and to show proof of future job, I believe i can show them the fellowship which is more than enuf to pay the 150$ monthly payment for my financing. any comment will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for your time.
  • Hi,
    Looks like you got a great deal. I got a deal for 15,300 for exactly the same configuaration so i made a 300$ deposit after getting the car details and vin faxed and signed by the manager. I am still trying to use the 400$ graduate student rebate. Do you know if I should resolve the rebate thing at dealers or with the toyota company people?

    the requirements says if we have graduated in the last 2 years or would in the next 6 months or we are currently enrolled as a student for the last 2 years then we r eligible, i have been a student for the last 3 years i hope i am eligible here and they also need a proof of future job but currently i have my fellowship which covers most of my expenses do u think i can show that to avail the rebate offer?

  • it appears the invoice on your vehicle should be around $15,548.00 so at $15,300 you did good. (beat my deal by $200) Are you in one of the Southern states that gets their cars from Gulf States Toyota?

    Gulf states was offering a $500 rebate on new LE's but I think it expired on the 31st. Worth checking out if Gulf States is your distributor. Good luck with the $400 student rebate. Hopefully you'll get it.
  • nope, i live near chicago, the dealer in schaumberg just yielded when i told him I wud make a deposit on phone. I wud get the car in a week from now and am not really in a hurry.
  • When I went to the Toyota Dealer yesterday, they were not impressed with my internet information and the salesman said, "You know they won't go much lower than MSRP." And he tried to steer me to a used car or Yaris. Does the haggling not work so well when there are only two dealers in town.

    Because I want ABS and side airbags, the salesman also said that I could just order it, but if I ordered, there would be no negotiation off of MSRP.

    At the other dealer, they didn't even bother to approach me - just let me write down the sticker information.

    There are only two dealers in town. Does this not work in my kind of situation.

  • try to go to a bigger downtown, i live 100 miles from chicago and at my place they quoted a corolla ce 07 with power package for 16K and in chicago they quoted 14.5K. I wud always be ready to move to a bigger city where there are more dealers to save some bucks.
  • Do not pay anything close to MSRP for Corolla. I just got one for $173.00 below invoice and Sam1461 found one for about $250 below invoice. If you go back a few posts I gave two websites you should go visit which will help you in your purchase.

    The salesman saying your internet pricing is wrong is a typical response they will throw out there. While some pricing sites are a little off, the packet was dead on.

    Like Sam1461 said, you will need to expand your search area. I was willing to drive up to an hour away to get the best deal.
  • Dealer cost below invoice on a corolla is about $400 below invoice. If you are an invoice buyer they will try and give you want but they WILL make it up on FEES. Many people do not say what they paid in fees.

    Never assume that you have to pay the fees no matter what, so I will try and get the cheapest price before the fees. Fees are ADP (additional dealer profit).

    If you us the OTD (out the door) offer the fees will disappear. I give them what I am willing to pay with an OTD price with a fair profit. I have NEVER been charged dealer fees. The only way to stop the fees is with an OTD price. If they turn down your offer, go to another dealer. Give them a fair price and they should accept it.

    Hold back on a toyota is 2% of the base car. On american cars it is ussually 3% of the MSRP. Somepeople think they got a great price but they are not counting the FEESSSS.
  • You are not naive. They are not selling them below invoice. They make up for the discount with FEES. You have to take your total price including the fees and then figure just how much over invoice or below MSRP that you paid.

    Dealers would probably want $500 over invoice for a corolla. I offered the dealer about $1,100 total profit, for my 2004 camry without any fees. It was accepted without and debate.

    That is about $600.00 over invoice. Never ever be a monthly payment, trade in, or invoice buyer. They will get you every time. Beware the fees, be a OTD buyer. The fees will disappear.

    Skip the extended warranty, you don't need it on a toyota. They are practically all profit for the dealers.
  • Use an OTD price that includes everything. Explain just what the OTD price includes. If you don't they will try and add fees. Fees are just additional dealer profit. They do pay toyota advertising fees but they do not have to be listed seperately.

    If they do not have what you want ORDER the car. I never take a car off the lot. I don't compromise on what I want. You can get a better price by ordering. Paying for options you do not want will not save you money on the overall price.

    Do not be an invoice buyer, they will use that against you. With an OTD price they can't add extra things. If they accept your offer good, if not go to another dealer.
This discussion has been closed.