Costco Auto Buying Program Experiences?

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After having some more issues with our 15-year old car, we may be in the market for a new or lightly used car. We were looking at the Honda Fit (the newest gen looks even better than the previous one), and went to a local dealer for a test drive. I actually sat down to haggle prices for a bit (stupid me) and after being lied to about four different times, I just got up and left.

I went home, and remembered the Costco Auto Buying Program that offered a no-haggle pre-negotiated price. Ideally in true Costco style, they would offer a “good” deal as opposed to a rock-bottom pitted-six-dealers-against-each-other-in-a-deathmatch price. I figured, why not give them a try?

I filled out the form, and the person calls me back. I was surprised to hear that he was an employee of Costco, not of the dealership. He gives me the spiel about how Costco is all about volume so he can offer a better price than a salesperson. However, it turns out that my Costco-affiliated dealership is the same one I went to for a test drive, and since I met with a salesperson they were not allowed to talk specifics with me for a period of at least 2 weeks after last contact. If I start up negotiations again, the date resets. I’m not in a hurry, so I’m just waiting around because the original guy definitely isn’t earning a commission from me.

Has anyone out there used this program before? How did you like it? I found this link which offered a mix of experiences.

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  1. You may want to consider as well. With Costco’s auto program, you’ve got an idea of the invoice price. My family’s last two cars, a 2000 Corolla and a 2006 Matrix, the price was lower than Costco’s price and AAA’s. Like Costco, uses a select network of contracted dealers. If the dealer is too far, you might ask if your local dealership would be able to price match the price which may be lower than the invoice price. I haven’t tried Sam’s Club’s auto program.

  2. Never used it. What sort of problems are you having with your car? I’ve got a 1994 Honda Accord that’s still running like a champ with 227k miles on it. Of course, it does look a little worse for wear.

  3. I have used this program and really liked it. Filled out the form and costco emailed me name of dealership. Went there and they offered me price $500 below invoice stating that it’s there standard costco member rate. Haggled with them further and got the car $1500 below invoice. The advantage with this program, the way I see it, is that you start your negotiations below invoice price so you get a much better price ultimately. Btw, I bought 07-Camry LE with some acc. such as mats+cargo net etc. for 19K incl. ttl+taxes+reg. This was back in Apr-06.

  4. I bought my 2007 Camry from a Costco dealer. It’s kind of strange how you don’t really go through Costco, you just go to someone who is affiliated and is “in the know”. I had to go to the 1 dealer in the state who was associated with Costco, show him my membership card and then he was able to show me the pricing that was available to members.

    I had been shopping around for a while and knew what I wanted, and the price he offered me at a no-haggle rate was a bit cheaper than the lowest I had been offered at other dealers so I ended up purchasing from him.

    This was back in 2006 when the car buying environment was much different than today. I had a friend who just bought a new Honda CR-V and got a much MUCH lower price by haggling with a non-Costco dealer than the Costco no-haggle price. So in my experience it’s worth finding out what the low price is, but YMMV.

  5. I had coworkers who used it and loved it.

  6. NewFitOwner says

    Bad news: I just bought a Fit & had to deal with the typical dealer runaround. I wish I knew about the Costco program.

    Good news: I’ve had my Fit for a week & am very happy with it. Good luck getting yours!

  7. use carbargains from consumer reports. You’ll get a better price, the $200 you pay is worth it, you’ll save more than $200 off the costco price

    I subscribe to Checkbook and got a small discount (175 vs 200)

  8. I used it before to buy 2008 Honda Accord V6 Coupe, full option. The new model just came out and I couldn’t negotiate at all. MSRP was 31K, Costco could deduct $500 from it. That was good enough for me, because I couldn’t find any dealer to discount coupes. Dealer actually showed me a Costco handbook that listed all the discount that I was supposed to get, and it said $500 for Accord Coupe V6 with full option. I was satisfied.

  9. We bought two cars through the Costco program.

    In the first case I entered a zip code near my home and was directed to a small town dealer, but I didn’t want to drive in that direction. I then entered another zip code near work and was directed to a large urban dealer who had a $400 lower price. I went to that dealer and got the car, but was not given much personal attention (fleet sales/just get the job done).

    In the second case we visited several Toyota dealerships nearby. One of them was pure sleaze (with no mention of Costco at that time) and tried to sell us a car loaded with junk we didn’t want. I then went to Costco and was directed to the best of the bunch–we got the exact car we wanted for $3,000 less than the sticker price.

    You may be able to beat Costco on your own, but new cars are a different animal than used cars. If your credit is good or if you have cash then the price is largely shaped by factory incentives. Any monkey with half a brain can research the going price for a given new car at, while used car pricing is more of an art. The main exception is for fashionable new models that are in high demand.

    I STRONGLY recommend that you read the stories about car buying at, including “insider perspectives” on sales tactics. Never buy on the monthly payment, skip the extended warranty, etc.

    • We bought a new Subaru using Costco and were directed to a local dealer I have had bad experience with in the past. The price they offered was great. $500 less than I was able to negotiate on my own at a dealer 30 miles away. That dealer however I have used in the past and have always been impressed with their honesty and low pressure. We decided to go with the lower price at the local dealer. Bad idea. When it came time to sign the contract, they tried to slip $1300 in unwanted dealer prep charges past us. Then, if that wasn’t bad enough, they nearly tricked us into signing a loan agreement at 15% after claiming they giving us an interest rate 0.9%. Costco is a good program but it will not protect you from unscrupulous dealers. Go in with your eyes open. I wish I had thought to change the zip code.

  10. I recently bought an 06 Corolla off Craigslist. The woman bought the car for work and lost the job so sold the car. She got nervous as it had been posted several days and no calls, so she gave us trade-in value for excellent condition. The car had a clean record.

    My advice, is find the type of car you want, then patiently, regularly check craigslist,, etc. Pay $30 for a several month subscription to a car report website. Then, try to get lucky and be the first caller. Why deal with a dealer? What are they giving you for their commission?

    Although this isn’t relevant to you, since you have enough cash to buy a car outright, I got a 4.19% car loan through Think bank, out of Rochester, Minnesota. They approved me as a student with no income, after USBank had denied a co-loan to my father and I. You do not have to live in MN either.

  11. Depending on the car you planning to buy makes a big difference. Few months ago, I participated in the car clunkers program. All the Toyota dealers in MD/VA/PA area would not budge on the 2010 Prius. Even with Costco program, the most they knock off was $100 of sticker’s price.

    People were willing to pay sticker’s price and beyond so there were no incentive to participate in Costco program. Even though the car for clunker program is over, don’t expect huge saving if you are in the market for 2010 Prius.

  12. Bought a Honda 2009 CRV thru Costco program 3 months ago. Very satisfied with price and service. The one item that had to be negotiated (where I wasnt thrilled with the outcome) was the tradein value given to me for my older car. But then I figured that saved me any hassle of advertising/trying to sell that myself.

  13. Never used them.
    However, I did purchase a car through my Credit Union, and it was totally hassle free and under invoice.
    I walked in, told them what I wanted, and they picked up the car and brought it to the Credit Union. I paid (financed) through same Credit Union, and drove off.

  14. I have a 2007 fit and I absolutely love it – You can put so much stuff in it yet it is semi fuel efficient.

    While working on some home improvement projects – I have transported a bathtub in it, a dishwasher, etc.

    I haven’t driven in the new model but the old model is fantastic!

  15. Your milage may vary, and it really depends on the demand for the particular car you are buying, but my expierence has been the following.
    You can get pretty much any average demand car for invoice +1-2k. This is generally a few thousand off msrp.
    I purchased my 08 subaru impreza sti w/ nav and bbs (39 mrsp) for 33 OTD TTL included on a 0% 5 year loan.

    This however is an extreme example of an unwanted car. They were blowing them out to welcome in the 09’s, and there was a 2500 dealer incentive.
    _never_ pay MSRP. period. If that’s what they want, find another car, one that’s less popular.

  16. Why don’t you use CarsDirect? (
    You can custom-fit your car and it will give you a pretty good idea of what you should be paying for it. I did it with my last one and the dealer actually gave me even lower price than CarsDirect. Very happy with them.

  17. I used the Amex car buying site

    The closest dealer that participate was 80 miles away, so I printed their price and my local dealer matched it.

  18. you dont mention what you were lied to about. What did the salesperson lie about? Don’t leave us hanging like that.

  19. We’ve bought through the Costco program two times now (both Hondas) – a real time saver. To quickly estimate my best price, I first go to to get their price. Next, I’ll contact the Costco representative at the dealership to get their price. In both cases, the Costco deal was several hundred cheaper than These were the fastest, low stress car buying experiences I’ve ever had. Thumbs up!

  20. Never used Costco Auto program, but i would recommend that you call the “Internet team” at dealerships around you to get pricing info. I did that for my new car purchase a couple of months back, i was amazed at differences in prices i was getting. Eventually i bought a SUV at 500 over invoice, in a no pressure deal where I had done all my homework sitting in front of my PC.

  21. Not all cars can be had for under MSRP even with a discount. New generation models tend not be budge as there is usually enough demand. You should do a little research into the different makes/models in your target price/segment. The 2010 Prius as noted above won’t net you significant discounts no matter what you do/where you go.

    1) Get the TMV of the exact car you expect to buy. Go into the dealership armed with this and the invoice price. Internet sales tend to be hassle free too. The price they give you can be lower than the invoice! Not all internet departments are the same though.

    2) Never tried Costco but you should still shop around and see if you can net positive.

    3) Used cars tend to be cheaper but this is NOT always true. If you plan on driving it into the ground, you might consider a new car not for peace of mind but simply because you will have more context on how it was treated during the break in period as it is a little more critical.

    4) Be patient and ready to walk out and follow John’s advice and read the Edmunds car buying hints.

  22. The easiest way to get a low price is to ask for online price quotes through the dealer website,, and Make sure you use a new email address since they will send you a lot of emails. Then just pit the best prices against each other by forwarding a few emails and you will arrive at a low price very quickly. There is no stress involved in this.

    When I did this to buy a new car, one Honda dealer told me that the price I got from another dealer was rediculous and they would never sell it to me for that price. Well, I ended up buying it for the “rediculous price.”

  23. I second what Jeff mentioned. Use,, and to negotiate the best price online. The problem with Costco pricing is that they want you to come in before they will give you a price. Also, use a throwaway phone number like a Google Voice number if you want to control when you want to contact them else they will be calling you. The new email account is not a bad suggestion but I didn’t find the amount of emails overwhelming. I just recently bought a new car for about $600 less than the best price I could get through a carsdirect dealer via one of the dealers.

  24. Have you looked at American Express’s Auto buying program?

    if so, please post comments so that everyone else can either stay away or try them out in lieu of Costco.

  25. I had a terrible experience at a Costco approved dealer.

    The program is setup so you walk in, ask for the invoice price and the Costco price… which is ususally X amount above invoice.

    I signed up, got calls from the dealer, and went to check out and test drive the car. The sales guy avoided the issue of the Costco price until after the test drive, so I played along.

    After the test drive I asked what the Costco price was. He asked “are you ready to buy?”. I said “no, I won’t know if I’m ready to buy until I see the price”. He says, “well I can’t show you the price until you are ready to buy”. I tell him that’s not how the program works, he says it is, then proceeds to tell me that the Costco Auto Program representative was wrong to tell me that’s how the program works. So I left and filed a complaint with Costco. Haven’t heard back on the outcome, I will follow up.

  26. The Consumer Reports car fax is also a great resource. Breaks down the dealer cost and how much the add-ons should run. Going in with the information handy usually will cut down on some of the sleazy dealer tactics.

  27. USE You will NOT regret it. Easily the best new car price negotiation service in existence. It’s basically a version of (the next best new car buying help service) that does all the negotiating work for you.

    A price from will be lower than Costco’s price and WAY lower than’s price (which is usually higher than what you can get just by walking into a dealership).

  28. To add another comment:,, etc. are all useless for figuring out what price you “should” pay since they don’t factor in secret manufacturer to dealer cash incentives that may be paid based on monthly or yearly sales targets (rather than just on the sale of your specific vehicle). The only way to get the lowest possible price is to make dealers bid against each other.

  29. Wow, thanks for all the helpful comments. I’ve been away from the computer most of today, and just wanted to say that I approved a lot of new comments just now, so if you’ve been tracking them I’d check for new ones. I’ll be back to add more later!

  30. If you do not mind a little hustle, you can do a the following ways my friend and I tried and got a decent deal in our opinion.

    First, I think the easiest way to compare price is the OUT THE DOOR price. You have to try to figure out the approximate OUT THE DOOR price for your specific car including tax and dmv car title fees in your area. I read this thread.

    Second, started emailing to all the dealers around your areas, asking for the best OUT THE DOOR price they can give to you. Then pick one of the lowest price from those dealers, use that as negotiating base price. And email again to dealers ask them if they can beat the lowest price. If they can, do it again until you satisfy with the price you want.

    I use and for email to dealers.

    just my 2 cents.

    hope it helps.

  31. I used the Costco program to buy a new car. It worked out great for me.

    – The best thing : no negotiation needed to get a good price. A lot of time saved.
    I didn’t have the feeling of getting ripped off.

    – The dealerships associated to Costco have an employee trained in the program. After I selected the dealership through Costco’s site, this employee contacted me by email in order to set up an appointment. Many times, I wasn’t able to get back to them, and they didn’t harass with emails/phone calls.

    – Some dealerships offer a fixed discount for any car. They offered me $250 off. This isn’t very good, but they were discounting on the invoice price. Perhaps it is just because I bought early in the year, when weren’t selling much.

    – Other dealerships have a Costco price list. They will show it only after you look at a car in the lot. The discount is smaller for cheaper cars because they have a smaller profit margin.

    – After I bought the car, I filed a survey and they gave me a $50 coupon for parts & service. It was valid for 6 months. The coupon paid for the first oil&filter change, and for some basic car checkup.
    I was able to use this coupon, even after my Costco membership expired.
    If you like/don’t like something of the dealership, you can mention this in the survey… hopefully, Costco reads it 🙂

    – Costco also gave me a 15% discount coupon for part and services at a dealership.

    Good luck.

  32. We purchased our Nissan Murano through Costco in November 2007. The experience was a very good one. We were referred to a local Nissan dealer in our area. The price offered by that dealer was the cheapest we could find. There was no haggling involved, no pressure. The dealer even wound up delivering the car to us at our home. We were waiting for the dealer to locate a model with a specific color and configuration. The car didn’t surface until the end of the month. We were planning to go in on the weekend to pick up the car and sign all the paperwork, but the dealer called on Nov. 29th stating that there was a rebate that we could also use that would expire at the end of November. Because of work commitments, we could not make it into the dealer, so they arranged to have the dealer come to us late on the evening of November 30th. They brought the car to our driveway, and we signed all the paperwork on our dining room table. Now that’s what I call service!

  33. Try to see what other people have been paying for their cars. Apparently their estimates are composed of actual sales data, so the numbers should be pretty accurate.

  34. We bought a new 2006 Toyota Corolla in 05 through Costco and it was a a good experience. We were pretty sure what we wanted but test drove a couple of models. Once we decided on the Corolla he showed us the price and it was the lowest price we found even comparing it with reported online dealer haggled prices if that makes sense. The exact color and options we wanted had to be ordered. He also told us I was eligible for an extra $500 rebate. It took about five minutes. The one bad part was while signing all the paperwork we were pitched a warranty contract and it was a pretty hard sell. I would use Costco again though because I didn’t feel pressured to buy the car and it went very smooth.

    I should also mention that I tried the “email/call every dealer” tactic and got very little response. It seemed like a big waste of time.

  35. I used Costco’s program and HATED it. After I filled out the form, a dealer contacted me and wanted me to come in. I told him I knew EXACTLY what model, color etc. I wanted, and to give me the best price.

    He insisted that I come in to the dealership because “I want to see your Costco card”. I told him I could fax it to him but he insisted on seeing me in person.

    I decided not to go and instead called Costco to complain. They were receptive and agreed that changes to the program were needed based on complaints they had from other Costco members. Not sure if any changes have been made (my experience is from Jan 2009)

  36. Negotiate hard (about $1000 below invoice) and after tat tell them u will take the deal if they let u charge the car. My dealer let me charge $10K on a 21K car.

  37. The trick with negotiating is to haggle hard to get their “best” offer then walk out of the building… They realize if you leave the lot, chances are you won’t be back. More often than not, you’ll get an even better offer on your way out the door.

  38. If you go the used route, I suggest checking out CarMax – or their website No haggling, all pricing posted on the cars and on the website. My wife and I have purchased and sold 3 cars with CarMax, not a single issue with them, we’ve been very pleased.

  39. I used the Costco program once 6 years ago, did not like the experience too much, because ended up negotiating with the sales guy anyway, and looks like did not get the best deal.

    I recommend to read, there is a ton of useful information and car buying advice there. I used on of their approaches to buy another car, worked great. Approach is basically:

    1. Do your homework and figure out the price you want to pay based on publicly available information on base pirce, all consumer and dealer incentives etc. and leaving the dealer a fair commission, compare your price with internet auto buying programs like
    2. Send the offer via fax or e-mail to all the dealerships in the area and wait for responses.
    3. Go to the dealer only to do the paperwork for the purchase, no negotiation.

  40. I looked into using these services before, and found that I could get a better deal on my own. I followed the plan of attack laid out by the FiveCentNickel blog. I emailed a bunch of dealers in my area (living in the DC metro area, there is a lot of competition, which helps). Went back and forth with a bunch via email only. Finally came down to two dealers, and I was able to get the closest dealer to give me the best price. Most important was getting him to agree to the “out the door” price before even going in.
    Once I got to the dealer, it was a quick test drive of the vehicle offered, filling out the paperwork, and then done. Minimal effort of keeping track of emails on my part, and I believe I came in a couple thousand less than the proposed buying service’s no haggle price.

  41. If you know the exact make, model, color and trim package for a new car, then I would do the following… contact the internet sales people at each dealership within 50 miles of where you live. Tell them what you want and ask for a drive off price. Do not go into a dealership, you’ll just get the grind! At this point, it couldn’t hurt to try the Costco program or other similar ones. After you get quotes back, take the highest one and tell the other dealers about it. Repeat the process a bit and see if they will come down even more. When I did this, I had 2 or 3 dealers that were lower than Costco and Cars Direct. Go into the dealership, test drive the car and close the deal.

  42. I haven’t used this program, but when I was buying a new Honda Odyssey a year or so ago I ended up paying $25,200 including tax.

    I called each dealer in the area, I think 4. Told them I was looking to buy today and knew what model I wanted to buy the LX, no add-ons. Then asked for the lowest out the door price including tax and everything I could get it at. Took about two hours and a few call backs later I moved it from 28k to 25,200 including tax. I think I got a good deal, so try it out if u’d like

  43. Just bought my new ’09 Honda Fit Sport for 16.3k, tax included. It was a spectacular deal, and the dealership must have lost money on the deal. It was a cash for clunkers corporate extension program where they gave us $3,000 trade in value for a car worth $100 by KBB. 16.3k was 2.5k less than a price I negotiated another dealership down to. You can imagine how ecstatic I was!

  44. Ditto what rick said, how exactly were you lied to?

  45. Go to the edmunds Prices Paid forums. Chances are the deal you can negotiate on your own is a lot better than what you’ll find with Carsdirect or Costco.

    my personal approach is to just find the closest 5 dealers, find the fleet/internet department contacts for all of them, and then send them all an email asking for a price for a specific car.

    once they respond, play them off each other. once you got the price you want, in writing, go down there and pick it up and don’t buy any of the crap they try to sell you.

  46. Never used Costco but I have used AAA car buying program and it was really easy and we got $800 lower than what we were offered by the dealer.

  47. I echo what Nomono said…try It isn’t a site that is trying to sell you a car or connect you with a dealer, they siply take the car you are looking at and show you a breakdown of what others have paid for that same exact car across the nation, in your region and locally.

    I did it with the VW CC that I am looking at and will be saving $4000 off MSRP (about $1500 below invoice).

    If you are looking for a site that will connect you with a dealer that will give you a low upfront price, I would recommend If you are a member of USAA Bank, I would try their auto buying service…they have some great prices plus if you are buying a Mercedes or GM, they have members only incentives on top of all of the others.

    I’ve been shopping for a while, can you tell? LOL!

  48. I used USAA’s car buying program to get a price that was $3,400 below invoice for a Hyundai Santa Fe (bought it 2 days ago). I didn’t use the dealers they had agreements with but I printed out the price I could get the car for and got a local dealer to match it. The price was about the same as the Edmunds TMV (True Market Value) price but with the added bonus of having the exact dealer I could get the car from at that price made the deal that much easier. They had no choice basically.

  49. Called the Costco authorized dealer that was emailed to me to get a pricing idea. The salesman said he would match or beat the price I had from another dealer (my sister-in-law is a car broker, yet I wanted to know if this deal was better).
    I went to the dealership the next day, my original saleman was busy so I spoke with a different salesman who gave me the “great” $500 above invoice – costco deal. But like others have said, the invoice cost and other fees are variable. It was not a great deal and he was not interested at all in adjusting the price. At all.

    Later that day, the first saleman called me and offered to match my price only, no beating it. He would not come down an extra $300!

    Not too sure if this is because I’m in the Bay Area and Toyota Tacoma pick-up trucks like the one I want are hard to come by or what, but no salesman is dealing, they’re barely even trying to sell these cars. I’ve been ignored in 2 dealerships!

    Costco is probably an ok deal if you hate the haggling and can base your price on, what others are paying.

  50. Look, the price you get all depends on how much legwork you’re willing to put into it.

    yes, costco (and USAA, Amex, Zag, etc) are all great — its a low hassle way of buying. But the bottom line is that you can frequently get much better prices by contacting dealers directly via their internet departments and pitting them against one another. This may not be the case in some parts of the country, but in highly competitive LA definitely the way to go.

    CarMax follows the same model. Very easy, low pressure. But if you’re a decent negotiator and/or are willing to buy from a private party, you can do much better on the price.

  51. Jake @ Dollar Commentary says

    I just recently bought a 2007 Honda Civic SI and I absolutely love it! The civic, (especially the SI model) is a little sportier than the Fit, and doesn’t sip gas quite as well as the fit does.

    I bought this Honda specifically for the fact that it’s a Honda with low mileage, meaning that as long as I change the oil regularly, it’ll last FOREVER!

    I want to one day see the odometer spin past 200,000 miles. I’ve only got 180,000 miles to go…

  52. Prtlndblnd says

    Interesting comments… seems that every dealer and state are different. I contacted Costco last summer and never ended up purchasing a car. Back in the market, I called again – to request a different sales person. (was not thrilled with the original one) The Costco rep was horrified when I told her of my first experience and recommended a different contact at the same dealer. I called him immediately so I was linked to him.

    Chris has been absolutely fabulous. Not only did he disclosed the pricing over the phone (which the original salesperson did as well), he e-mailed me stickers and the final price (yes, it computed based upon what I have researched) along with the current rebates… on SEVERAL vehicles which might meet my needs. Even ones not on their lot. His follow-up and service have been excellent thus far and the prices they are ultimately quoting is great. I have a meeting with him tomorrow afternoon.

    I will also share with you that he told me that they are rated by the consumer after the sale, which is why the Costco rep chose him. IMO Costco has dropped the ball and should get ratings and feedback from those who do NOT buy.

  53. I tried Costco Auto Program by signing up and a rep called me. I asked for a two year old car with 30-50 miles per gallon. He sent me an email link to a new Cadillac with 550 horsepower (ugliest car I ever saw). When I asked for a dealership for a Lexus the only one they referred me to was 200 miles away..over the mountain passes which were snowed over for the winter. NO help at all.

  54. To asnwer some of the earlier questions Costco isnt a franchised dealer so they cannot sell a car only help you with some of the hassles involved with the buying prossess. Second its funny to hear people using the costco program saying they want to not play the typical games but then want to still haggle even more. Isnt that game playing? the Costco program isnt perfect but they try hard to let you use your time to find the right car instead of hours dealing with price which buying the right car is the most important part of the buying prossess. Also I have found if you ask your local dealer up front if they accept the costco pricing many do. Costco isnt a perfect mode but am glad they are there to at least try hard for their customers in and out of the warehouse

  55. The reason why all this works is pretty interesting, and raises some ethical questions. The fact is that the money lost to customers who use buying services is made up on customers who do not use buying services. While it is true that there’s plenty of packed money in a car deal, it’s also true that plenty of the “buying service” deals that dealers choose to accept result in a loss of thousands for the dealership – even when you factor in the packed money. They have to make it up somewhere, or they’ll go out of business.

    Meanwhile, dealers are locked in a game of chicken with each other. They’re all losing money like crazy on these deals (and paying Costco et al for the privilege), but they’re all afraid to be the first dealer to stop doing these deals and thus stagnate. In a way, they’re being victimized by our greed (poetic justice? Cue the world’s smallest violin.)

    In any case, it is worth noting that people think nothing of demanding that dealers sell their product at a loss, then turn around and accuse dealers of finding “sneaky” ways of making money on the back end of a deal. What do you expect? It’s no different than when we see a demographic without legit options turning to illicit means of survival.

  56. There is nothing sneaky in the Costco program the price is usually very competitive to what you would get after negotiating with the dealer. But the dealer will make the bulk of there product in the back end financing or leasing. I have worked at dealer and we would love the Costco deals because we would make 3k on the back end. You can read about back end finance profit here

  57. Hoku Gilbert says

    I just had a very unpleasant experience with the Costco buying program involving Honda Windward in Hawaii, but I believe it was largely due to the bombastic style of the salesman. As to that, he refused to let us see the car until he had gone through his entire “presentation”–which takes TWO hours. This presentation involved being locked in his office, with him spending the majority of the time talking very fast about Consumer Reports ratings, paint quality (why?), bad mouthing the competition (in this case, Toyota) and basically telling me how great he was at sales and how little I knew about cars (and therefore should trust his expertise). He got in to a shouting match with my husband at one point and told us he didn’t need our business because people buy cars from him and Costco all day long. He was 15 minutes late for our appointment with no apologies. He didn’t even have a clean car ready to show us. Despite my repeated requests that I just wanted the price and I wanted to see the car, he refused to accommodate me in any way. If such is the Costco mandate–grind through this presentation no matter what the objection from the customer–then Costco didn’t make the process any easier for me. I will happily return to the old-fashioned way of buying cars–finding a salesman who listens to me, takes an interest in my questions and concerns, doesn’t trash the competition, and finds me the car I want, not the car he wants to sell me. And I will gladly pay more for the privilege. It’s not always about the money.

  58. The Costco Auto Program is no more than a joke. I was able on my own to get $1200 less than what the Costco car affiliate was offering. Yes I used the old technique of knowing what I want first, and then researched what it is worth, and then used the best dealer offer to negotiate with other dealers. The Costco Auto Program is just another way to scam trusting Costco members.

    • Have to disagree with you. I saved $1800 below actual invoice, not dealer invoice. Dealt with the fleet guy who was specially trained, in and out in under 3 hours including finance. Got 2 cars this way, cheaper, easier and quicker.


    In 2007 I purchased a Sienna from Tustin Toyota using the Costco plan. Everything worked great. Now, only 5 years later I attempted to do the same thing again. This time Tustin Toyota totally screwed me. The sales person lied about the 2012 Sienna we were purchasing. It wasn’t until we drove it home that we discovered it did NOT have many of the upgrades we had paid for.

    Tustin Toyota’s position is “If you drive it home … It’s your problem.”

    I tried to talk to someone at Costco, but the phone numbers for the auto plan section no longer work. I hope this helps someone else from getting screwed.

  60. We just bought a new Lexus for my wife through the Costco program. The Costco price was $100 over dealer invoice (~$2500 off sticker), which was much less than I would have ever thought possible. Overall it made for a very pleasant car buying experience.

  61. Costco pricing was way higher than un-negotiated prices from 2 other dealers.
    The Costco pricing for a CX5 from Orem Mazda was $400 off MSRP. This made it over $1,000 higher than the un-negotiated price from the Ogden dealership.

  62. Rick Skinner says

    Costco pricing is different at each Dealer. My Costco price is $1200 below invoice on F150. Find out the Costco Deal before proceeding. The Dealership may try to circumvent the agreed pricing. I recommend this. 1. Call Costco and get a referral. 2. Go to the Dealer 3. Check that price with Costco and check with other Dealers to see if they will beat it. It really just depends what your time is worth. When the deal is done, ask Costco to review it and make sure you got the negotiated deal. Typical Car Dealerships are snake pits. They make money cheating you out of yours. If you want to get the best deal, you must be ready to play hardball. If you buy extended warranties, undercoating, pay high-finance rates and don’t understand that the profit on extended warranties is half of what you agreed to pay, then…okay? Costco saved me thousands.

  63. Well it seems as though i am the only one who was taken advantage of by using this program. I went to a costco dealership in south Jersey(Tom’s River) and my experience was not so magical. It semms that when i had problems with my Prius there somehow was a document faxed and copied into Toyota’s records at another dealership, ( I refused to go back to the orignal purchase place) which said my auto start had been put in at 250 miles)
    I have the carbon which proves they are lying, and i contacted Costco, but they did nothing about this lie. I ended up leasing a truck from Route 22 Toyota, on my own and got an ok deal. At least i did not get taken advantage of. I hop this gets posted. But i doubt it.. The truth should be told..

  64. Nothing but good things to say. Did have to travel to dealership as no dealer in my city. Easy, professional and a great price as well. Highly recommended saved about 1k on the best deal I could negotiate on my own. Price was $300 under invoice on a 2013 Honda Accord Touring (Cincinnati, Ohio). Couldn’t be happier with the price or process. Helps that I also really like the car.

  65. Costco auto program didn’t work for me. Thought Costco has a negotiated or some discounted price for their members, just select the car and complete paper work. Costco member price offered by San Leandro Honda is Car Invoice + $790 + $950 which is $1740 more than invoice. There is not much difference from MSRP and member price. Got a quote online from another dealer which $1250 less than costco member price.

    • Have to disagree with you. Worked with KIa El Cajon. I saved $1800 below actual invoice, not dealer invoice. Dealt with the fleet guy who was specially trained, in and out in under 3 hours including finance. Got 2 cars this way, cheaper, easier and quicker.

  66. If you want to save money and don’t want to bargain, do go with Internet or fleet pricing and DO NOT GO WITH COSTCO.

    Costco pricing is $500 below in the car invoice, where as internet of fleet pricing is $1200 below invoice.

    Last time we bought our car with Cars Direct, we got way better price than Costco. This time we bought with Costco auto and not a good experience. Not good price, again we had to bargain and Costco doesn’t make sure that you will get the best price as they mention.

    If you want to save money, time; don’t go with Costco auto for sure.

    • Have to disagree with you. I saved $1800 below actual invoice, not dealer invoice. Dealt with the fleet guy who was specially trained, in and out in under 3 hours including finance. Got 2 cars this way, cheaper, easier and quicker.

  67. I just went through the Costco auto program and was very disappointed. They advertise a no pressure, stress free buying experience where you get a discount but that wasn’t the case at all for me. The dealer still subjected me to endless sleazy sales tactics and negotiations and I could have gotten a MUCH better deal by NOT going through Costco and just haggling on my own and going to someplace else.

    I really don’t think I’ll use Costco again and would NOT recommend their auto program to anyone. By the way, I also got this $200 50% off coupon but just found out you MUST use it at the dealership where you bought the car.

    I’m so reluctant to ever go back to that dealership again that I don’t even think I’ll use the coupon. I feel totally misled by Costco.

  68. December 3, 2015. I had two awful experiences at car dealerships that were Costco Authorized. Earnhardt Toyota in Avondale Az and Arrowhead Toyota in Peoria AZ. Let me just start off by saying I wasn’t expecting the greatest price ever, but I was expecting the types of savings I have come to expect when I shop at Costco. I went on the Costco Auto website and put in my info and was given the name of a local Honda dealership. I called the Costco auto buying dept up and asked if their was another Honda dealership closer to my work and they resent my information to another dealership. My evening started off with deception and high pressure sales tactics and ended up the same way. The sales/pricing managers at both places forged (i.e. created from scratch and put them on a piece of paper that they titled Costco Pricing” their prices and provided me estimates that were just a few hundred dollars off of MSRP (not Factory Invoice) on 2016 Honda Civic LX models with the additional Honda Sensing upgrade. I took pictures of the printouts from both of these dealerships when these people left the room. Online prices for the exact same cars just down the road at another Honda dealership (non Costco) were starting at around 2-2.5K below MSRP or within $100 above or below of Factor Invoice pricing for the new 2016 Civics. I contacted the COSTCO auto buying team about both incidents and then emailed them the pictures I took and screen shots of the local prices I found online from those other Honda dealers. Haven’t heard back from the Costco autobuying team yet. Something else of note was that when I was in the car with the first sales person (who wasn’t directly part of the Honda Costco program) he even said the price was going to be just under factory invoice and looked shocked when his sales manager brought out my “special Costco Pricing” which was quite possibly the highest price anyone had ever been quoted who wasn’t on a waiting list for a brand new model. I drove down to the 2nd dealership, which was the original Honda dealership Costco had sent my information to, the same night because I was so upset about my first Costco buying experience to see what their price was. I chose not to inform the people at Earnhardt Honda that I had just came from the Arrowhead Honda or what the price I had been given. I was still trying to give the entire Costco Auto Buying experience the benefit of the doubt. I love, love, love Costco 99.99% of the time…. until now. The whole point of the Costco buying experience, according to Costco’s auto buying website is that it is a “PREARRANGED PRICING AND AN EXCEPTIONAL AUTO BUYING EXPERIENCE.” By the way, the 2nd Honda dealership Earnhardt quoted me an extra $600 below what the Arrowhead Honda had, but informed me that this special pricing was part of a package deal and I would need to buy around $2300 worth of dealer added items to my car (e.g., tinting, something called auto caddy, nitrogen in my tires, clear plastic door guards, dealer installed alarm, etc). I don’t want to sound like i’m advertising for the other Honda dealership, but do yourself a favor and pull up all the local online Honda websites until you find one that has actually discounted prices for all their models displayed or try using Autotrader or Carguru online. I’ve decided that anytime the dealer website says I have to call or come in for special pricing it’s a bad deal unless I was planning on pitting dealer against dealer and haggling all day anyways. I’m going to post this comment in a few places and see if I am able to upload the pictures I took as well. p.s. I don’t blame the actual salesmen who showed me the cars. In both places they were actually very helpful and knowledgeable. Although I have most been meeting the awful type when I have gone to different dealerships just to look at new competing cars from other Manufacturers in the price range I am in.

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