Buying a new car used to be a nerve-wracking experience because consumers had no idea of the true cost of a vehicle. As Sarah Breckenridge reports on The Wall Street Journal’s SmartMoney.com, that changed once the Internet came into popular use. Now consumers can tap into a wealth of information, including invoice prices for new cars. The invoice price only tells part of the story, but it’s still a good starting point when you’re ready to buy a new vehicle.
Ask the car dealer if he will allow you to see the invoice. Invoice prices used to be a closely guarded secret, and dealers would rarely share this information. Now invoice prices are widely available on the Internet, so many dealers will give you the price on request during negotiations to keep you from leaving the showroom and heading home to look it up.
Consult an automotive research website. You don’t have to go to a dealership to get the invoice cost if you prefer to find it ahead of time. Sites such as Cars Direct, Edmunds and Kelly Blue Book allow you to look up invoice prices for free. Enter the make, model and year of the vehicle and specify any options. The site will give you the total invoice price and break down the cost of each item.
Compare the invoice price on another website. Sometimes automotive sites are slow to update their records when auto manufacturers change their prices. If you compare the invoice price on two websites and there is a discrepancy, consult a third to see which one it matches. That will most likely be the true invoice price.
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