How can you buy a car at dealer cost?

The key to getting the best deal on a car is to make car dealers compete on price.  You can literally save thousands on the price of a car by taking the right steps.

  1. Get Internet prices from local dealers
  2. Email each dealer and ask them to beat your best price
  3. Setup an appointment

It's really pretty easy.  These steps often result in a price near or below dealer cost. Let's look at each of these steps in more detail.

Step 1: Get Internet Price Quotes

ZIP:

Edmunds is known as one of the top websites to research cars.  And they are also the best place to get new car prices on the Internet.  You can contact up to 5 dealers at once.  This is the highest number I’ve found (and most websites only offer 3 quotes).  Choose a make and model, enter your contact information and you'll start getting car prices emailed to you right away.

Edmunds new car price quotes

One of my favorite things about Edmunds is when you request prices, they also show you the Edmunds True Market Value® for each car so you can see what others have paid for similar cars in your area.

Step 2: Email dealers and ask them to beat your best price

You'll want to get prices from several local dealerships in order to create competition.  I recommend a goal of at least 4-5 prices from different dealers, but no more than 8-10 to keep the process manageable.  You may need to enter multiple requests using surrounding zip codes to get all the prices that you need. Try to keep your requests within 50-75 miles, but if you are comfortable driving over an hour to save several hundred dollars more, then feel free to expand your range a little further. If you do submit more than one request or use more than one service, make sure you do not send multiple requests to the same dealership.

Once you've reached enough car dealers, it's time to negotiate.

Ask each dealer to beat the best offer you received.  It's easy using an email template like this one.  You'll be shocked at how quickly each dealership will lower their price to try to beat their competitors!

Step 3: Setup an appointment and pick-up your car

Once you've reached a price you're happy with it's time to pick-up your car.   Make sure the dealer provides you with the VIN number of your vehicle and the “out-the-door” price.  You can confirm this in an email and then just setup a time to close the great deal you made in person!

How do you know when you've reached a good price and can stop negotiating?  Use the Edmunds True Market Value I mentioned above or get a free price report from TrueCar.