I hate buying cars. I hate going in and dealing with the salespeople. I always feel like there are a lot of fake niceties but in the end their goal is to sell me a car at the highest possible price and make a sucker out of me. I hate feeling like I’ve been played for a fool.
So, for the second time in the last 10 years, my wife and I bought a car through the Costco Auto Program. This time, though, the process included an unintended experiment, which added to my appreciation for the Costco car buying experience. I’ll tell you about that experiment in a moment.
A quick review of how the Costco Auto Program works
Costco does not sell you a car directly. Instead, Costco has a network of dealers it works with, and it sets firm prices on car models with those dealers. The price you get will probably be invoice + $500, but not always.
There is usually a dedicated person at the dealership who deals with Costco customers. He or she has a whole book that details what each model sells for; you can ask to see that if it is not volunteered by the sales person. Note that some dealerships leave out certain models from the program, usually popular models that they think they can sell at a higher price without Costco’s help.