- The Costco Auto Program allows Costco members to buy discounted cars from participating dealerships.
- A wide variety of vehicle types and models are available to buy or lease.
- Even as car sales slumped in 2020, members bought more vehicles through the program than in 2019.
- Visit Fintech Zoom’s homepage for more stories.
The pandemic didn’t just send Costco members flocking to stores for toilet paper, canned goods, and disinfecting wipes in 2020. It also saw them purchase significantly more vehicles through the big-box chain’s car-buying program.
Even as car sales as a whole took a dive, Costco members bought more than 689,000 new and used vehicles through the Costco Auto Program last year, a 12% increase over 2019 sales, a company spokesperson told Insider. Costco attributes that bump to an increase in the amount of “Limited-Time Specials” – member-exclusive deals with brands including Audi, Chevrolet, and Volvo – it offered last year.
Through the program, Costco members can search for a variety of vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, jet skis, and RVs.
Once you’ve chosen a vehicle and your preferred trim, features, and exterior color, Costco sends you the contact information for a participating dealership and salesperson, at which point you can visit the dealership to find out the vehicle’s discounted price and decide if you’d like to buy or lease it.
The range of available vehicles extends from budget options that start under $20,000 to luxury vehicles that top $100,000.
A Costco representative told Fintech Zoom in 2018 that Costco members saved an average of over $1,000 off the average price of a vehicle when using the program, and members can also get a 15% discount on parts, service, and accessories at participating service centers.
Here’s how you can use your Costco membership to get a discount on your next car.
From the Costco Auto Program webpage, you can browse and compare available vehicles, calculate monthly payments, and read reviews.
You can also call the company’s customer-service line to have an employee walk you through the process over the phone.
2. Choose the vehicle you’d like.
You can choose from a variety of classes, including sedans, sports cars, SUVs, trucks, and crossovers.
While you don’t learn the discounted price until you visit the dealer, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price ranges from under $20,000 to over $150,000 for vehicles available through the program.
You can also buy or lease a motorcycle, RV, ATV, jet ski, snowmobile, or UTV.
If you don’t want to buy outright, you can also lease or select a pre-owned vehicle, which the dealer inspects for any broken or worn-down parts and fixes before selling it again.
Read more: Vintage Land Rovers are staple for car lovers. This company wants to tap into a different market by building them brand new for $250,000.
3. Customize the trim, features package, and exterior color.
For many vehicles, you can select the trim, features, and color you’d like. For others, you can choose only the model.
4. Provide your contact information and Costco membership number.
After you’ve chosen your vehicle, you fill out a form with your name, contact information, and Costco membership number. Costco then sends you the information for a participating dealership and the designated salesperson you have to work with to get the Costco discount.
5. Go to the participating dealership and talk to the designated salesperson.
You’ll then be shown the discounted price for the vehicle you requested.
The Costco Auto Program FAQ notes that the dealer may not have the car you requested on the lot, in which case it may have to get it from another dealership or order one directly from the manufacturer.
6. Buy or lease the vehicle with the Costco discount.
Once you’ve reviewed the discounted price, you can buy or lease the vehicle — but there’s no obligation to do so if you don’t like the price or change your mind. You also have the option to trade in your current vehicle. A Costco representative told Fintech Zoom in 2018 that around 43% of dealership visits ended in a purchase
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