Buying a car from Costco (yes, really)

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We recently bought a new car. . .through Costco. Yes, you read that right. After deciding on a make and model of car, I began contacting dealerships and checking out other methods – I probably had 10+ quotes when I was done (this is after bargaining dealers down, playing them off each other, etc.).

As part of the process, I got quotes through affinity groups – organizations like AAA, AARP, USAA, and pretty much any type of major membership organization will have arrangements with different local dealers to provide a discounted price to its members. A friend suggested adding Costco to the list and I was skeptical at first, but figured it couldn’t hurt. Lo and behold, the lowest price on the car we wanted out of all of the negotiated dealership prices, AAA price, etc. was Costco’s. And by several hundred dollars, too.

How it works:

  • Go to www.costcoauto.com and select the make and model of the car that you are interested in.
  • Select “Locate a Dealer” and enter your zip code – it will then ask for your name, number, and email. Costco will then email you your Member-Only Price Sheet, with a dealership and a fixed price. This is a fixed quote, not a contract.
  • Bring the Member-Only Price Sheet into the dealership to buy your car at that price (or better – you are still eligible for other rebates, discounts, etc. that the manufacturer or dealership are having). You can also negotiate on any extras, like getting the floor mats for free. Remember, since it’s a fixed quote you are not obligated to buy from that dealer – if you like the price and you go in but for some reason decide not to buy there, that is totally fine.
  • Note that you will get one quote, from one dealer – Costco sends you the lowest one of the dealers they have a partnership with, so the dealer can vary by model and make. The dealer will get your name and telephone number, so they will likely call you, but no one else gets your info.

Other tips:

  • You can research and compare cars on Costco site as well. It’s not fantastic, but it’s free (you don’t need to be a member) and the Compare feature is nice. They also have some other tools like a Buy vs. Lease calculator that I did not use.
  • They have similar programs for boats, RVs, motorcycles, and powersport products. Having never purchased a boat, RV, motorcycle, or “powersport” product, I have no idea if the rates here are as good as the car rates. But if you’re in the market for a yacht, it’s probably worth checking out. Then again, if you’re in the market for a yacht you’re probably not reading my blog. . .
  • BJs also offers a car-buying program. We aren’t BJs members but unlike Costco you can usually find a free 30-day trial membership to BJs floating out there on the internet so you could check it out for free (report back if you do!)

 

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4 thoughts on “Buying a car from Costco (yes, really)

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for taking the time to share your experience using costcoauto.com with your readers. I just wanted to take the time to clarify one item with your readers so that they are not surprised if their experience differs a bit from yours. It is not standard for dealers to send the Member-Only Price Sheet via email.

    Once you choose a new vehicle and locate a participating dealer near you, an Authorized Dealer Contact from the participating dealership will contact you to schedule an appointment. You’ll receive the Authorized Contact’s information to contact them at your convenience. At the dealership, the Authorized Contact, who is trained to provide the best experience and put no pressure on Costco members, will help you select a vehicle and provide the “Member-Only Price Sheet” to you. You are under no obligation to buy. From here the process should proceed as you have described.

    Once again, thanks for taking the time to share your positive experience with your readers online. .

    -DJ at Costco Auto

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    • I’m impressed that somebody from Costco actually read this – thanks, DJ, for clarifying. My experience (earlier this year) was that they did email me the sheet – is this a new policy that you have to do there to get it?

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  2. You’re welcome! Actually, our policy is that the Authorized Contact show the Costco Member-Only Price Sheet when the member makes a vehicle selection to illustrate the value in participating in the program. Since pricing is VIN-specific and varies by make, model, options, etc., members typically come to the dealership to choose their vehicle. Once they do, the dealer shows the Member-Only Price Sheet. However, if the member knows exactly what they want it’s not uncommon for a dealer to email the Member-Only price sheet to the member.

    If you want to stay up on the latest news and information regarding the Costco Auto Program, feel free to “Like” us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/costcoauto and keep up-to-date.
    -DJ at Costco Auto

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 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.

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