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Hi all, Mrs. Mc510 and I are planning to purchase a 2013 Outback for the family, in the SF Bay Area. We'll pay cash, and will not trade in. The base model has (almost*) everything that we want, so the only option that I'll spec is automatic transmission. We'll skip the prepaid maintenance, and I'll decide later whether to purchase an extended warranty (and not necessarily from the same dealer who sells me the car). I've got contact emails for about 15 dealers from Sacramento through Santa Cruz. We're not in a big hurry, so I'm thinking to wait until the week before Christmas, and email then. Then a little back and forth to see if my local dealer can meet the best price.



Some things I'm wondering, for anyone who wants to advise me:
  • How do I ensure that every dealer is giving me a comparable price (i.e., including all relevant fees, etc) and that they won't try to tack on extra mandatory fees once I show up with checkbook in hand?
  • Even among these 15 dealers, I imagine that there might not be all that much inventory of *exactly* the vehicle that I want, especially since it's going to be so no-frills. Is that a problem for getting a good price?
  • If I'm not getting any good prices, I might choose to not purchase at all right now. Is invoice plus or minus a few percentage points considered a good price?
  • I lied*; there's actually one option that I do kind of want, which is power memory seats, but the only way to get that is to jump to the Limited. The MSRP difference is about $5,000; is it safe to assume that this is also roughly the additional amount that I'd have to pay after negotiating with dealers? 'Cause the power seats just aren't worth THAT much to me. Can I ask all 15 dealers to quote both a base model and a Limited?
  • I thought I saw a very long thread here about email negotiation/purchasing, but I can't locate it. Is it here, or did I see it on a different site?
Thanks to anyone who feels like commenting on advising me. I'm looking forward to joining the Outback family!
 

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Hi all, Mrs. Mc510 and I are planning to purchase a 2013 Outback for the family, in the SF Bay Area. We'll pay cash, and will not trade in. The base model has (almost*) everything that we want, so the only option that I'll spec is automatic transmission. We'll skip the prepaid maintenance, and I'll decide later whether to purchase an extended warranty (and not necessarily from the same dealer who sells me the car). I've got contact emails for about 15 dealers from Sacramento through Santa Cruz. We're not in a big hurry, so I'm thinking to wait until the week before Christmas, and email then. Then a little back and forth to see if my local dealer can meet the best price.



Some things I'm wondering, for anyone who wants to advise me:
  • How do I ensure that every dealer is giving me a comparable price (i.e., including all relevant fees, etc) and that they won't try to tack on extra mandatory fees once I show up with checkbook in hand?
  • Even among these 15 dealers, I imagine that there might not be all that much inventory of *exactly* the vehicle that I want, especially since it's going to be so no-frills. Is that a problem for getting a good price?
  • If I'm not getting any good prices, I might choose to not purchase at all right now. Is invoice plus or minus a few percentage points considered a good price?
  • I lied*; there's actually one option that I do kind of want, which is power memory seats, but the only way to get that is to jump to the Limited. The MSRP difference is about $5,000; is it safe to assume that this is also roughly the additional amount that I'd have to pay after negotiating with dealers? 'Cause the power seats just aren't worth THAT much to me. Can I ask all 15 dealers to quote both a base model and a Limited?
  • I thought I saw a very long thread here about email negotiation/purchasing, but I can't locate it. Is it here, or did I see it on a different site?
Thanks to anyone who feels like commenting on advising me. I'm looking forward to joining the Outback family!
I suggest you go and buy your OB through Costco Car Buying program. Details available at any Costco outlet. It's a no hassle deal that I used, when I purchased mine.
 

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Ask for all quotes to be the final price out the door . Since you are paying cash , and it sounds like you do not " need " the car right now ,remember that you are in control of the transaction . Most salesmen and managers will stop playing games if they realize that you are fully willing to walk out the door . You can usually negotiate a better price on an "in stock " car than on a special order . Remember that most dealers can do dealer to dealer swaps if they can find a car that is what , or close to what , you want. Costco might be a good bet if you are custom ordering , but don"t be afraid to use the Costco price in negotiating . If you do not like the haggling game , then Costco is your best bet.
 

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Costco price can easily be beat by the dealer - go with Costco and your leaving money on the table.

Edmunds TMV -number has been pretty much dead on for the past 5 cars I've been involved in purchasing in and around the Bay Area. The subaru dealer that impressed me the most regarding low sales pressure and having pretty nice inventory was over in San Mateo right off of 101. I think they shared the dealer with a Mazda dealer if I recall right.

The other dealer I've heard lots and lots of good sales experience with was Auburn Subaru.

Steven's Creek historically has a slimy sales crew. Redwood city Subaru off Whipple seemed OK they worked on my old Subaru a few times did a decent job and prices were fair. Sales team seemed hit or miss never bought from them.

I bought two 2010's from Fairfield Subaru there at 80 and Travis BLV - we were some of the first customers of theirs when they opened the shop. They don't seem very competitive on prices or servicing now I wouldn't really recommend them.

WC Subaru has done some work on my cars - service garage seems pretty decent - sales staff seem fairly low pressure - no idea on their pricing though.
 

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Because there are so many dealers within your area, one way to approach this would be to get something akin to bids on a "standard" car they have in stock (without worrying about things like color). That way, you'd have a good idea of which dealer gives the best price.

Then, you could just have that dealer get the car you really want from one of the other ones. Dealers swap cars around like baseball trading cards all the time. HPH
 

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^ if your particular to a color as long as the dealer has the same model ie trim on their lot they can easily trade for your color with another dealer - this should not alter the price unless the car is the only one in CA and a long distance away. Our Blue one was traded with a dealer in Palm Springs - the dealer agreed to split the trucking cost for the trade with me over the settled on price we agreed on. I think it was like $430 for my half of the shipping.

At the time it was the only blue limited west of the Mississipi - also a tip monday through Tuesday cars in transit or swapped between dealers do not show on the inventory system till they are logged in at the dealer so Monday Tuesday the cars may be in swap or shuffle mode and by Wed your car might appear on the system just around the corner from the dealer your negotiating with.
 

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I bought mine at Elk Grove Subaru and like you, self financed with no trade.
Done in two hours, paperwork was completed before I arrived, all negotiations was email and phone. Never visited the dealer until I took delivery.
Negotiations was through both the IMBA discount and http://www.carprousa.com/
I also used my Subaru Chase Mastercard coupons to get an additional $500 off.
I ordered mine over the phone too, waited 6 weeks before it arrived. Very pleased with the whole process.
 

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The best price I got was through Consumer Reports build and buy pricing. This price was better than Costco and Edmunds and the Napa Subaru dealer was very easy to deal with. No pressure, he did not continually bother me, just gave me the price, indicated when the car I wanted would be available. That was it.
 

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Even among these 15 dealers, I imagine that there might not be all that much inventory of *exactly* the vehicle that I want, especially since it's going to be so no-frills. Is that a problem for getting a good price?

Shouldn't be a problem. The dealerships I visited were cutting deals and undercutting each other without even having the car I wanted. One of them was going to cut me a better deal on a special order than the one they found for me, due to the installed options. I didn't want to wait X weeks for a special order, though.


I lied*; there's actually one option that I do kind of want, which is power memory seats, but the only way to get that is to jump to the Limited. The MSRP difference is about $5,000; is it safe to assume that this is also roughly the additional amount that I'd have to pay after negotiating with dealers? 'Cause the power seats just aren't worth THAT much to me. Can I ask all 15 dealers to quote both a base model and a Limited?
Not just the Limited - if you want MEMORY seats, you have to get the Special Appearance Package - which is very specific and will limit your availability by a lot (as well as limit the other options you can get and even the paint color!)

If you just want power seats, though, all the trim models have it (Premium and Limited are 8-way, base model is 6-way)

And sure, you can ask for quotes on all the options you want. Basically, though, you can just take whatever the first quote they give you and figure out how much below MSRP that is, and that amount will be true for all the quotes. Unless you are able to haggle on a specific car, previous model year, etc.

I thought I saw a very long thread here about email negotiation/purchasing, but I can't locate it. Is it here, or did I see it on a different site?Thanks to anyone who feels like commenting on advising me. I'm looking forward to joining the Outback family!
I think it's called "How much did you pay for your..." or something like that. What I got out of it was "~2500 under MSRP is not unreasonable"
 

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Thanks everyone, I think I'm ready to go. Well, almost; Mrs. Mc510 and I still need to agree on a color! I'm feeling silver. (Thanks for the correction about power memory seats; I'm sure I don't way to step all the way up to the Limited SAP $$$$.)
I thought I saw a very long thread here about email negotiation/purchasing, but I can't locate it. Is it here, or did I see it on a different site?
Found it in my browser history; it was actually at Fat Wallet, where they get a little obsessive about grinding out the last dollar the dealers got: How to buy a new car, FWF style
 
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