How to examine the sales price of a car

When walking into an automotive dealership, don’t think “how much am I going to spend?” as opposed to “how much of a deal I can get today?”

Purchasing a vehicle can come with a bunch of fees and markups you either didn’t expect or don’t even see on the sticker price. This is how auto dealerships makes their profit from that tiny markup that’s right in front of you. You just didn’t know it.

Here are some things to consider before you buy your next car:


This is the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, or what the manufacturer says the car should be sold for. This doesn’t mean this is price it will be sold at. Dealers often mark up and adjust their prices to increase the profit on the sale.

The Invoice Price

This is the cost of the car to the dealership. This can run from a few percentage points off the price of the car to a few hundred dollars. Remember, the dealer will only bend so far to make sure they make a profit on the sale. As a business, their goal is to make money.

Extra Features

Be wary of extra features that are additional costs but may not be necessary items. These include the navigation system you really didn’t or the leather seats that turns out to be more of an inconvenience in the summer than you really expected.

Miscellaneous Costs

Transport fees, future service contracts and extended warranties can all add to the cost of a vehicle. It’s important to thoroughly read your final purchase contract before you sign on the dotted line so you don’t get caught up paying for things you didn’t want or need.

Ready to find the right ride? Check out our Auto Buying Center.

Auto Buying Center Vehicle Loans