Buying a Car From Costco - Is it a Good Idea?

The Costco Auto Program offers pre-arranged pricing on new and used cars as well as superior service from a range of authorized auto dealers nationwide. So, does it really make sense to buy a car from Costco?
Updated 17 October 2022
Buying a Car From Costco - Is it a Good Idea?

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14% increase in reports
120k reports

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Source: 2019-20 Consumer Sentinel Report

Sections on this page
  1. How does the Costco Auto Program work?
  2. Are all makes and models available?
  3. No pressure to buy through Costco Auto Program
  4. Will I always get the best price?
  5. Assistance with the purchasing transaction
  6. Top tips for buying a new car
  7. Frequently Asked Questions

Costco is known for its great deals on bulk items, but did you know that they also have a car-buying program? The Costco Auto Program allows members to purchase new and used cars at discounted prices from participating dealerships across the country. In addition, special financing offers, extended warranties, and other perks are available through the program.

Consumer Reports and Edmunds have both rated the Costco Auto Program as one of the best car-buying services out there, so if you're in the market for a new or used vehicle, it's definitely worth checking out this program.

How does the Costco Auto Program work?

Costco selects participating dealerships across the country and then trains and certifies staff members at those dealerships to operate within Costco's customer service and pricing policies. Each participating dealer offers prearranged pricing on vehicles to ensure you get the best value and a haggle-free experience.

The Costco Auto Program has assembled a network of more than 3,000 dealerships in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, so there are many dealerships to choose from.

The first thing to keep in mind is that you need to be a Costco member to take advantage of their auto program. Once you're a member, you can browse through the selection of cars online at the Costco Auto website, filtering on selected models, years and trims. When you find a car you're interested in, you can schedule a test drive and then work with one of their certified dealerships to finalize the purchase.

Are all makes and models available?

The Costco Auto Program has a large number of participating dealerships so there are many makes and models available through the program. However, due to Costco's strict criteria for pricing and service, there may be some makes or models that aren't available.

For example, if you're looking for a Toyota Camry, Costco might not have the exact model year or trim level that you want, but they'll likely have several Camrys to choose from. So while you might not be able to get exactly what you want, chances are good that you'll find something close enough at Costco.

No pressure to buy through Costco Auto Program

One of the best things about buying a car through Costco is that you won't feel any pressure to buy. The sales staff at Costco are trained to be helpful and informative, but they're not pushy. They'll answer all your questions and give you time to make a decision.

And, if you do decide to buy a car from Costco, you'll get an excellent price. You can take your time test driving different cars and compare prices before making your final decision.

Will I always get the best price?

The prices are generally very competitive, and you get other benefits like no pressure to buy and no haggling. So even though it may not always be the absolute cheapest option, it's still a great choice and can give you negotiating power at other dealerships in your local area.

Often dealers will try and sell you other things for the car such as extended warranty, financing and other extras and accessories. Costco has negotiated discounted prices on many of those things too, so you are likely to get a very good overall deal on the vehicle.

In addition, Costco offers member-only incentives, which are exclusive, limited-time Costco incentives offered by top manufacturers. Add these incentives to your already low, prearranged price, plus any publicly available rebates and incentives you’re eligible to receive for even bigger savings.

Assistance with the purchasing transaction

Costco operate a Member Advocacy Group that offers dedicated staff to assist you at any point before, during or after the transaction. Member Advocates can answer your questions about the buying process, explain the information on the vehicle price sheet and review your purchase documents.

The Member Advocacy Group is available Monday to Friday 6am to 7pm and Saturday and Sunday 7am to 5pm Pacific Time.

Top tips for buying a new car

Buying a new car is a big financial commitment and it's important to be prepared before you start the process. Here's our top tips for buying a new car:

  • Research different models and be clear on the type of vehicle that you are looking for. Consider things such as space, safety and fuel economy.
  • Always test drive potential vehicles. Try to choose your own route and drive in a variety of conditions to get a better feel for the vehicle. Try to test drive the exact model that you wish to purchase.
  • Be clear on your budget before you visit any dealerships and don't share that with the dealer. Also, don't let a salesman talk you into spending more than you can afford.
  • Consider the warranty and maintenance costs. Some car brands are more expensive to maintain than others and it's important to consider the long term costs of each vehicle.
  • Decide whether to trade-in your current vehicle or sell it privately. Trading in your current car can be hassle-free, but you could potentially get more money if you sell it privately.
  • Organise your financing before visiting the dealership so that you can save time and it will give you  more flexibility if you don't like the financing options that the dealer can offer directly.
  • Prepare to be at the dealership for a while as it takes time to go for a test drive and review all the paperwork.
  • Make sure you insure your new car before you drive away from the dealership. The last thing you want is to have an accident in your brand new vehicle and have no insurance cover.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I buy a car through Costco?

Yes, Costco operates a service called the Costco Auto Program where you can buy discounted vehicles from a large range of participating dealerships.

Is it cheaper to buy a car from Costco?

The Costco Auto Program provides access to discounted vehicles from over 3,000 participating dealerships. You can also get discounts on extended warranty and other extras and accessories.

Are all makes and models available through Costco?

There are many makes and models available through the Costco Auto Program. You can search online to see if your desired make and model is available.

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