The last time we bought a new car was in 1999 when we bought the Honda Odyssey.

Yesterday we bought a new 2013 Toyota Prius, brand new with 2 miles on the odometer.

Don’t we all hate that part of the car buying process of haggling with the salesperson, who, when he can’t get you to sign on the dotted line, brings out the big gun “manager” who uses all the well-practiced textbook sales techniques to corner you to say “I’ll take the white one with leather interior”? Maybe some of you find it exhilarating to best them at their game, but I am glad that the internet and “fleet” dealers has made negotiating unnecessary. Or so I thought.

So here’s my story.

We contacted Costco auto program “With low, prearranged pricing…” They referred us to a Toyota dealer in Pasadena but they would not give us a quote until we come in. So we made an appointment to see the “fleet” manager.

We also contacted TruCar.com. My son bought his Prius V through their program. They quoted a “guaranteed” price through a Toyota dealer in Carson, with a price of $2,438 below MSRP.

With our TruCar written quote in hand, we went to the Costco referred dealership to see if they would give us a better price.

The person, who turned out to be a typical salesman, showed us their “dealer cost” and gave us a price based on blah, blah, blah. That price was $1,500 more than the TruCar quote. What! That’s the “low” price prearranged with Costco? The Costco that I trust for the best deals? The Costco that sells the lowest priced hot dog with drink for $1.50?

“Is that the best price you can give us?” We asked.

“Oh, we want to work with you. If you have a quote, I’ll see what I can do.” Oh, brother. Here comes the haggling that I thought we avoided through Costco.

So we take out our TruCar quote. As we expected, he goes to ask his manager, blah, blah, blah, and comes back and says he’ll match it. So he was trying to make an extra $1500 off me if we didn’t know better.

Then we said, “You’re going to take the Toyota incentive of $500 off of that price, right?”

“No,” he said. “That’s already included.”

“The TruCar quote doesn’t include the $500.”

“Yes it does.” He insisted. “You can call them, and I am sure I’m right.”

We called. He was wrong.

He said, “If you can get that price with another $500 off, buy it.”

I gave him one last chance. “You mean you can’t match the price?” Again, he told us to go buy it, but he’s very sure that the quote is just to lure us in. We promised that if they don’t give us that exact price, we’ll come back and buy the car from him.

Off we go to Carson, thinking that we’re probably wasting gas, and will have to come back to Pasadena.

I love a good ending, and here it comes right now…

We walk into the Carson dealership, the guy looks at our quote and said, “Of course the Toyota incentive is not included. You get $500 off this quote. Which color do you want?”

That’s how we drove off with the 2013 Toyota Prius Classic in Sea Glass Pearl.

2 Responses to “Costco vs TruCar buying experience”

  1. In your footsteps Says:

    [...] latest purchase was a Prius…you guess it, because my son bought a Pruis a year [...]

  2. jim Says:

    the reason is this. the same kind of sales guy is the one who negiated with costco to have that dealership listed with costco. you know how costco travel has a label on some of their deals that say “travel tested”? well costco never tests what kind of deal it is. i have had the same experience but also had the dealers try to upsell me on the higher grade models or a different model altogether.

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