clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

SHOPPING FOR A NEW CAR?

Are you in the market for a new car? To help you drive a hard bargain, Consumer Reports Auto Price Service provides detailed computer printouts on more than 1,000 new car and truck models. Each printout compares the list (sticker) price with the dealer's cost (invoice) for the vehicle as well as all factory-installed options.

According to the service, the price comparison is particularly valuable in negotiating prices on domestic models. Discounts are usually greater than on imports and domestics come with a longer list of factory options.The service costs $11 for one car; $20 for two cars; $27 for three cars; and $5 for each printout after number three.

You can order by mail by writing to Consumer Reports Auto Price Service, Box 8005, Novi, MI 48376, or by faxing your request to (313) 347-2985.

Include the make, model and exact body style of the vehicle. Orders should include a Visa or Mastercard number, expiration date, total charge authorized, daytime telephone number and signature.

For instance, the service's latest printout lists the dealer invoice on the basic Ford Taurus GL sedan at $13,163 and the sticker price at $15,280.

Add to those figures the dealer invoice and sticker prices of optional factory-installed equipment. Examples: the dealer invoice of the value option package that includes air conditioner, rear window defroster, speed control, power door locks, etc., is $1,720; the sticker price is $2,023; the dealer invoice of anti-lock brakes is $506, the sticker price is $595; the dealer invoice on passenger's side air bag is $415; the sticker price is $488; dealer invoice for a compact disc player is $418, the sticker price is $491.

Add up the dealer invoice and the sticker price. The difference between the two is your bargaining room.

The service also lists current advertised cash rebates to consumers as well as unadvertised rebates to dealers. By applying those rebates you'll lower the price you pay for the car even further.

Another way to approximate the dealer's invoice is to use the "cost factor." The sticker price multiplied by the cost factor approximates the dealer's invoice. For instance, a car with a sticker price of $20,000 and a cost factor of .85 cost the dealer about $17,000.

Cost factors for various models of cars are listed in the April issue of Consumer Reports.