Donate |

The Consumer Reports Bottom Line Price

Find out what the dealer really paid for a car

Last updated: March 2014

To get the lowest price on a new car, don't negotiate down from the sticker price. Instead, negotiate up from the dealer's cost. How can you find that figure? It used to be difficult, but the Consumer Reports Bottom Line Price now makes it easy.

To begin, don't be misled by the dealer-invoice price. The invoice price, which is the figure printed on the automaker's invoice for each vehicle, is now commonly available on Web sites and in pricing guides. Automakers and dealerships freely give you the dealer invoice price. But the invoice price is not necessarily what the dealer paid for the vehicle.

The manufacturer often makes behind-the-scenes payments to the dealer in the form of hidden sales incentives and holdbacks, which increase the dealer's profit margin. These incentives, which can be hundreds or thousands of dollars, aren't revealed to the public, and the dealer can choose whether or not to pass along any savings to the customers. This is how a dealer can afford to sell a vehicle for close to the invoice price, or even below invoice.

The Consumer Reports Bottom Line Price is the only figure that takes all of those factors into consideration. It subtracts any dealer sales incentives, holdbacks, and rebates available in your area from the dealer-invoice price and adds regional advertising fees to give you a good starting point for your negotiations.

The Consumer Reports Bottom Line Price, as well as CR's exclusive reliability information and valuable buying advice, is included in Consumer Reports New-Car Price Report.

Arming you with behind-the-scenes dealer incentive and holdback information, summary information on recent local purchase prices, and knowledge of customer rebate and incentive amounts, the New Car Price Service provides you with all the tools you need to get the car you want at an optimal price. For Canadian new car shoppers, check out the Consumer Reports Canadian New Car Price Service for access to all of the pricing information you need to negotiate your best deal.

   

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters!
Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Latest From Consumer Reports

REFRIGERATOR REVIEWS
Find your new fridge at Home Depot, Lowe's, or Sears The stores have Labor Day deals on some of our top-rated models.
DIGITAL CAMERA REVIEWS
How to take better underwater photographs and video Getting the shots you want in the pool or at the beach requires know-how.
GAS GRILL REVIEWS
6 ways to make your Labor Day barbecue a winnerVideo These grilling tips from the pros will guarantee everyone a good time.
PICKUP REVIEWS
Ratings update: Find out which pickup to pick upVideo The 2015 Ram Diesel is the top full-sized pickup in our latest tests.
RETIREMENT PLANNING GUIDE
Why you can stop freaking out about retirement How to worry less and plan better for a secure and satisfying future.
WHAT TO BUY WHEN
7 products on deep discount in SeptemberVideo Our lab tests and shopping tips will help you find the right stuff.

Connect

and safety with
subscribers and fans

Follow us on:

Cars

Cars New Car Price Report
Find out what the dealers don't want you to know! Get dealer pricing information on a new car with the New Car Price Report.

Order Your Report

Mobile

Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more