I don’t know why I haven’t written about this sooner. About a year ago now, we bought our car through the Costco Auto Program. It is a 2008 Toyota Highlander if you want to know. Here is the basic process and my review of it…
In the Costco Auto Program, Costco has relationships with dealers around the country, I think it’s for new cars only (this was my first brand-new car BTW). The basic agreement seems to be that Costco will send new car buyers to these authorized sites in exchange for those dealers giving the lowest possible price. The dealer gets a profit, but it is worked out between Costco and the dealer what that profit will be beforehand — the customer has a take it or leave it price. If you want a new car you will take it because you probably won’t get a better price elsewhere. I didn’t do a MASSIVE amount of comparison shopping, but did talk to a couple of dealers and I believe we got the lowest price out there.
We talked to the dealer representative about the Costco program and he gave us some details. He says Costco is VERY picky in their requirements, both on price and service. In fact, after we bought the car he kind of pressured us to give him excellent ratings when Costco followed up to see how it went. Must be worried that Costco could pull the plug.
He did an OK job, although we were looking for a certain color that was difficult to locate and he didn’t communicate all that well with us. It was probably 3 months between when we ordered the car and when we finally got it, and that was only after we changed our color preference in order to get our hands on an available vehicle. I think that was a Toyota thing, not our salesman, but he could’ve kept in touch better. We always had to call him to see what was happening.
Anyway, not just anyone at the dealership could sell to us. As Costco customers, it had to be that particular guy who was trained or whatever in the ways of Costco.
Overall it wasn’t much different than any other car buying experience other than price. The dealership still put the screws to us in trying to sell us an extended warranty, practicaly calling us fools for passing it up. I’m a fool I guess!
So that’s it. If it seems weird to buy your car from Costco, it’s not really. It’s not like you pick up a bulk pack of TP and a Volvo on a Saturday afternoon. You’re just getting a price break and maybe (maybe) better service than you might normally get at a car dealer.