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Old 05-10-2011, 04:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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For any other USAA members, I'll share the negotiating strategy that worked for me.

USAA has a car buying service for their members only (military or retired military) that offers pre-negotiated prices for just about all car makes and models. Their website walks members through the selection process which includes finding the closest few dealerships to your home.

However, you can also enter other zipcodes to look at quoted prices from dealers in other cities or even other states. There was a $700 difference for the base Forester I wanted within a three hour radius of Jacksonville. (not counting options which are always at invoice cost on USAA)

I prefer to have the car served where I bought the car, so I wanted to buy in Jax, but the quoted price was $700 higher. I told my salesman that I wanted to buy from him but $700 was a lot to leave on the table. I told him that not having to drive a couple hours has some value and offered $200 more than the lowest USAA price ($500 below the pre-discounted price for the Jax dealer) His sales manager agreed on that price.

When you do this, make sure you take into account the "Doc fee" or "dealer fee" into the total price (if your state allows these) They are posted in the detailed price bid from each dealer on the USAA website. Just get ready for a telephone call from each dealer.

This method worked for me. I got what was considered a very good price based on local Forester sales. I suppose they know you're not bluffing when they can also see the quoted price of the other dealer.
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Old 05-10-2011, 05:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Good info. I'm going to post a link to this at The official military/veterans thread.
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Old 05-10-2011, 05:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Just went through this process last week to get my 2011 2.5X Premium AWP. Got 3 offers within 3 hours drive (no offer from the local guys, amazingly). Typically one is lower than the other two and you can pretty much forward the lowest price around and have some success getting matches. Ended up driving 3 hours to Byers in Columbus after leveraging the price I got from a dealer in Cleveland. USAA is pretty slick.
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Old 05-10-2011, 06:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Usaa is awesome!
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info! USAA is the best, picked up my XT with the claim money from them when my Highlander got T-Boned. Sucked at the time but now I have a much more fun car!
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Agree. Just used it to buy a new Odyssey after no one was willing to come off MSRP (its just a dang minvan). I also didnt pay any dealer fees since I paid TTL to my local MVD.
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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USAA serves their members well. I have not used their new car negotiating service, but have heard great things about it.

With regard to buying a new car locally so that you can have the vehicle serviced where you bought it, I really don't think it makes much difference these days. In most cases the service department may not even be aware of which dealer you purchased the vehicle from. The only advantage would be for immediate post purchase issues which are not covered under normal warranty... such as paint dings, etc. In those cases, the selling dealer would be much more likely to make you whole.
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Old 05-11-2011, 07:02 AM   #8 (permalink)
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A number of dealerships will give you a loaner car only if you purchased the car from that dealer. I can understand their position.
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Old 05-11-2011, 01:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm sure the local dealer would have gladly serviced the car either way...but I though it may help me in certain situations...more the uncertainly of not knowing whether it would matter.

The USAA discount is good, usually below invoice. However, I think it's still a good idea to look at data of local selling prices to confirm it's a good price (that's assuming the data source is accurate)

USAA is a great company. Always the best customer service...
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