I recently bought a new F-150 truck from Ford. I personally hate car dealerships and think they are pretty dishonest/shady establishments so I share my story and suggestions to try and help you save some money. I also bought a new Minivan from Honda earlier in 2016 (Click the link to be taken to that post).
Ford has a standard $500 Military Discount (keep reading on how to get $1000). The discount is available to the following personnel:
- Active Duty
- Reservists serving on active duty
- Veterans within 24 months of separation
- And spouses of the above categories.
To get your $500 certificate, you go to https://www.fordsalutesthosewhoserve.com and print out a certificate which you bring to the dealership with your military ID
There is also a $1000 and $750 discount that are occasionally offered. In the last 6 months, Ford has sent me the $1000 offer twice. The key to qualifying for this offer is to be patient or to register for the standard $500 offer, typically within 2-3 months they will send you a personal increased offer. I think it is a way to incentivize you to come back and buy their car in case you forgot about them. No matter the reason, it’s an extra $500 in your pocket above the standard offer.
I wrote about my personal experience and all the discounts I was able to get applied on an F150 Forum. Here is the link for full details. I ended up getting about $12,000 below MRSP using various discounts. It also describes how to get a better auto loan quote. I wouldn’t settle for the first offer you get. USAA originally quoted me 3.5% then I got a better rate and asked them to beat it and they counter-offered 1.87% (HALF the original offer)!
I was able to get my F-150 at a great deal. Here are a couple of suggestions.
- Check out online car forums beforehand. I searched several “what did you pay for your truck” forums to find out the cheapest price other people were walking away with on the same model I wanted. That way you can walk into the dealership with a hard figure you want them to beat. You want to walk out of the dealership with the lowest price anybody has ever gotten on the vehicle.
- Call multiple dealerships in multiple cities. For example, Fresno (CA) and Seattle (WA) are on average 8% higher than the national average. It may be worth driving 40 miles in order to save $1500. Here is a list of the 10 cheapest and most expensive cities to buy a car in
- Once you have a price from one dealership, ask the next dealership if they will BEAT the price. Don’t just say they offered me “20k” will you match it, SAY they offered me “20k” I need you to beat it by $500 for it to be worth my time. Be specific with them. If they beat it ask the next dealership or the original one to beat it by $200, etc. I contacted/negotiated with 7 different dealerships.
- TrueCar is okay, but Costco pricing is even better. Costco will often have specific incentives like an extra $1000 off.
- HOWEVER, Don’t settle for the TrueCar or Costco estimate, I got an additional $1400 off the Costco pricing and $2400 off the TrueCar estimate by asking for additional money off.
- When using TrueCars estimate, don’t include your $500 Military Discount or Graduation bonuses in the cost because you are just cheating yourself.
- I don’t recommend telling them about the Military Discount or Graduation Discount until the last second when you have already come up with a final price. At that time then say “Okay and I’m Active Duty Military so that will be an extra $500 off”. They don’t lose any money on the military discount but if you tell them about it at the beginning they will try and use it to their advantage saying they are giving you $500 off when they really aren’t doing anything
- 99% of the crap they say are lies. After this recent experience, I am convinced that Car Salesmen is one of the most dishonest professions. They all say the exact same crap. “We’ll throw in tinted windows and nitrogen in your tires. We are the only dealership that will do that”. They don’t tell you that it comes pre-installed on every new minivan. Every dealership has that in 100% of their cars. When you try and negotiate with them and say the other dealership gave you a better deal, they say crap like we’ll that’s what they said now… but when you get there they will tack on $1000 of dollars of extra fees. Not true. Salesmen just love to lie.
- When you negotiate talk about “price out the door”. That’s the price you want to be comparing between all the dealerships. All cars have Title/Tax/License fees. Taxes can be a ton, depending on what state you live in. I live in Texas so the tax is 6.25% which is ridiculously high.
- I made a google spreadsheet so I could keep track of all the different offers and update it when they gave me a lower price
- If you call them on the phone to get a quote, give them your email and ask them to email their total quote out the door. Don’t fall for their trick of saying you have to come into their store to get a quote. Just another sales tactic.
There are a lot of other companies that offer military discounts (Here are a few examples)
Crystler – $500 off (link)
Honda – $500 off (link)
GM – discount varies (link)
Hyundai – $500 off (link)
Toyota – $500 off (link)