Avoid Hassles & Save Money
Only $200 ($175 for CHECKBOOK Subscribers)
Dear Fellow Consumer,
Thank you for your interest in our CarBargains
We believe the service is, as scores of
customers have told us, "the only way to buy a new car.'' It is the
only service of its kind in the country. CarBargains has no ties to
specific dealers and gives each customer a choice of multiple bids
secured under current market conditions.
By using CarBargains, you will--
- Make dealers bid for your business,
- Be confident that you are getting the best deal in the market,
- By-pass hassles and high-pressure sales tactics,
- Avoid having to negotiate, and
- Have our nonprofit consumer organization with you throughout the purchase process.
Since we began offering CarBargains to the
public in March of 1991, we have served--and saved--more than 15,000
customers throughout the country.
Here's how the CarBargains service
works: (Texas customers: before proceeding you must read a special note by
- You tell us the make, model, and
style of car or truck you wish to buy (Toyota Camry, 4-door
sedan SE, for example).
- Within two weeks (time may vary
depending on demand), we get at least 5 dealers in your area
to bid against one another to sell that make, model, and
style. Each dealer commits to a dollar amount above (or
below) "factory invoice cost'' for which it will sell the
type of vehicle you want. Low bids are then confirmed in
- We send you a report that includes:
4. You contact a dealership
(presumably the lowest bidder)...
- Dealer quote sheets, which show how
much above (or below) factory invoice cost each dealer has
agreed to sell your vehicle, and the name of the manager
responsible for the commitment.
- Factory invoice cost information
for your type of car or truck, showing what all dealers pay
for the base vehicle and for each possible option.
- Other useful information, on the
value of your used car (based on a description you have
given us), low-cost financing options, pros and cons of
extended service contracts, how you may be able to get a
service contract as good as your dealer offers at a
substantially lower cost, etc.
- Identify yourself as a CarBargains
- Select the specific vehicle you
- Use the information we've sent you
to determine the factory invoice cost of the vehicle you've
- Purchase the vehicle at the
confirmed bid price.
Bids are also confirmed for factory
orders (if applicable) and local dealer trade to ensure the
availability of your vehicle.
We encourage you to contact us with any
questions. And we ask that you send us a photocopy of your final
sales contract to help us monitor the system.
Customers' Praise for CarBargains
- E.B. writes:
- ...Because I'm a bit of a skeptic (and you have a guarantee that
says that if I can beat the prices that you found, I can get my fee
back from you), I have been doing my own online research. I have
also contacted other buying services from organizations that I
belong to (USAA, MVCP, and UBS). None of my research or the other
(free to me) services produced the results that CarBargains did. My
own negotiations and "internet" pricing was pathetic compared to
what you found...Now I'm a believer. We will definitely recommend
you to friends and use your services again.
- J.R. writes:
- ....It was a real pleasure working with your staff. I dislike the car
buying process. I'm glad CarBargains takes a lot of the pain out of
buying a new car.
- J.D. writes:
- ....I just wanted to let you know that [the dealership] honored their
CarBargains bid of $1000 below invoice on a Ford Focus. I've used
CarBargains multiple times and think it is a great service.
- P.M. writes:
- ...Just wanted to drop you a note to tell you how pleased we are
with your service...It was so nice not to have to go through all the
haggling that is normally part of buying a new car! Completely
stress-free. We will certainly be happy to recommend CarBargains to
Extra Help For You
In addition to assuring you a great
price on your new car, the CarBargains service also gives you
other information to assure that you get a good deal on other
items that may come up related to your car purchase, including--
- Suggestions on how to find low-cost
sources of financing;
- Help determining the value of your
used car (trade-in), based on information you provide us
about the car;
- Advice on whether to get an
extended service contract; and
- Suggestions on how to get a
low-cost extended service contract (taking advantage of the
possibility of buying the car from one dealer and the
service contract from another).
If you don't wish to use our CarBargains
service, you'll still want to use our methods. The only power
any consumer has in the car buying process is the threat of
competition. If you were on your own, your best strategy would
be to gather extensive information on dealer costs and hidden
allowances and to try to get at least five dealers to bid
against each other.
But our CarBargains service brings big
advantages to this bidding process--
- Since our staff members are
experts, we can be sure all costs--advertising association
fees, dealer-installed options, processing fees, etc.--are
explicit in dealers' bids, not added on later.
- Dealers know we'll get good bids
from other dealers, so each dealership knows it will have to
bid very low to have a chance of winning. We remind dealers
of any ongoing factory-to-dealer incentive programs,
manufacturer holdbacks, carry-over allowances, and other
factors that give the dealer room to cut its price. Also,
dealers know that we know the market. They know that if we
don't get good prices locally, we can get prices from
out-of-area dealers who will deliver locally.
- Dealers know the bidding is for
real. They know we'll actually get at least 5 quotes. In
addition, they know that a consumer who has paid for the
CarBargains service is almost certain to buy now from one of
the quoting dealers, so refusing to quote means losing any
chance at a sale. In contrast, when you call for a bid, the
dealer may not believe you will bother to get bids
elsewhere. Worse still, dealers often make statements like
"shop around and I'll beat any price'' or "come on down and
I'll take care of you''--leaving you with no more
information than you started with. In addition, dealers may
believe you're just casually shopping and therefore may not
treat you seriously.
- We are a witness to each dealer's
quotes. We get signed commitments by fax, and the dealers
know we will follow up. In contrast, if a customer gets
quotes by phone, the dealer may believe it can back out
without serious consequences.
There are other services that promise to
help consumers purchase cars.
Many services sell factory invoice cost
printouts that are supposed to help you negotiate for a car. But
because of "hold-backs," factory-to-dealer incentives, and other
allowances, these printouts don't tell you what the cost to the
dealer really is. More important, even with one of these
printouts, you are on your own to figure out what is a
reasonable markup and to get a dealer to agree to that markup.
There are also services that promise to
find you a good deal from one of a list of pre-committed
dealers. Some of these services get commissions or other
financial benefits from their selected dealers. Even if such
financial arrangements don't exist, there's a good chance that
the dealers affiliated with these services won't be those with
the best prices for the car you want. Non-affiliated dealers may
be getting larger cash incentive payments from the manufacturer,
may have excess stock of the kind of car you want, or may simply
be willing to accept a lower profit. In contrast to these other
services, the CarBargains service, since it has no ties with any
dealer, is designed to find dealers that have the best prices at
A third type of service is that offered
by auto brokers, who promise to go through a dealer to secure a
car for the customer at a good price. The problem with auto
brokers is that you have no way of knowing whether the broker is
really getting you a good deal. The broker may always deal with
a particular dealer, may allow that dealer a big profit margin,
and may add an additional markup that the broker keeps. In
contrast, the CarBargains service has no relationships with
dealers, guarantees to get at least five dealers to bid
competitively, will include in the bidding any dealer you
request, and gives you copies of all the bids. Everything is in
What is the "factory invoice'' cost?
The "factory invoice'' cost is
theoretically what the dealer paid the manufacturer for the
car. The dealer will actually have a printed invoice that shows
this cost figure. It is less than the "manufacturer's
suggested retail price'' (MSRP), which is the "list price''
shown on the window sticker of the car. The manufacturer's
suggested retail price is the price for which the manufacturer
theoretically thinks the car should be sold to you.
Actually, almost all cars are sold below the
manufacturer's suggested retail price and some cars are sold
below the factory invoice cost.
How is it possible for a dealer to sell
a car below factory invoice cost? It is possible because the
factory invoice usually doesn't reflect the true cost to the
dealer: dealers often get "holdbacks,'' factory-to-dealer
incentive payments, end-of-year-carryover allowances, and other
allowances that reduce the cost below what the factory invoice
We use the factory invoice cost figure
only as a reference point for dealers' bids. The factory invoice
cost for the same car with the same options is the same for all
dealers. So, if one dealer bids, for example, $200 below invoice
and a second bids $400 above invoice, you know that the first is
$600 lower priced than the second.
Is it necessary to decide now what
options you want on the car?
No. You need only tell us the make,
model, and style of car you want. The dealers bid an amount
above or below factory invoice cost. We send you a factory
invoice cost printout that shows you the invoice cost for the
base vehicle and the invoice cost for each possible option. So
you can add up the invoice cost for whatever vehicle you decide
you want, with whatever factory-installed options it has on it.
Then you simply add (or subtract) the dealer's agreed markup (or
markdown) from this total invoice cost figure. (For some few
vehicles, dealer quotes are made as markdowns from MSRP.) Thus,
you can figure the price you need to pay for any car of your
choice before you even talk with the dealer.
What about rebates?
Often manufacturers offer factory-to-customer
rebates. Your CarBargains report will tell you whether the car
you are buying carries one of these rebates. If so, you will be
able to get this rebate directly from the manufacturer, or you
can have the dealer apply the rebate to your purchase price,
further reducing the price of the car.
Manufacturers also often have
factory-to-dealer incentive programs. These are sometimes
referred to as "dealer rebates.'' This is money the factory
gives the dealer for each car sold. The dealer can use the money
for advertising, employee bonuses, extra profit, or many other
purposes--or the dealer can pass this money along to you as a
price reduction. One of the purposes of the CarBargains bidding
process is to use competition to squeeze this incentive money
out of the dealer in the form of a price reduction for you.
How close will the dealers be to your
We have a computer file of all dealers
in the country. When you order our service, we identify dealers
close to you and get them to bid. (You can have us include or
exclude a dealer of your choice.)
What if you have not yet decided on a
make, model, and style of car?
There are many sources of information to
help you choose the type of car you want. Our CarBargains
service steps in only after you have made that decision.
An excellent source for comparative
information to help you choose among new cars is The Car Book,
which can be purchased from many bookstores or for $14.50
(including postage) from the Center for Auto Safety, 2001 S
Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20009. (The Center for Auto Safety
is a nonprofit organization.) You will also find information on
new cars in Consumer Reports magazine and in various special
interest auto magazines available on many newsstands and in
We get dealers' bids by phone and then
confirm the best bids by fax. The dealers know that they will
not get future opportunities to bid if they fail to follow
through as they should. Failure to honor a confirmed bid has
been a rare problem. Should any problems or questions arise,
CarBargains is only a phone call away.
If you are able to buy the same car that we shopped for you at a price lower than the best quote included in our report, in the same bidding area and time period, without using our information, we will gladly refund our entire fee, with proof of purchase.
CarBargains is a service of the Center
for the Study of Services, an independent, nonprofit consumer
organization, founded in 1974 with the help of funding from the
U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs. The Center's purpose is to
provide consumers information to help them get high quality
services and products at the best possible prices.
The Center also publishes a national new
car rebates and incentives newsletter called
and various national books, including the Consumers' Guide
to Hospitals and the Guide to Top Doctors.
The Center is supported by subscription payments and
donations from individual consumers who subscribe to our
magazines and by fees for our information services, such as
CarBargains. We do not accept support from the businesses we
rate and our publications carry no advertising.
If you have any questions now or at any time later after you
get your personalized CarBargains report, please give us a call
at 800-475-7283. We look forward to helping you get a great
price on a new car.