Here’s a sample email one man used to gather quotes from multiple dealerships. He ended up getting a 2007 Odyssey EX minivan for $25,780 before TTL, $630 under invoice, no trade, no accessories and the dealer beat his e-loan rate. [dbattery]


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  1. stuckonsmart says:

    Excellent “dbattery”. Most of the car-buying experience is BS that takes money out of the buyer’s pocket and puts it in the dealer’s/salesman’s pocket. Remove the opportunity for layers of BS and you get sweet deals.

    Don’t forget to also factor in quota spiffs that dealers get if they meet quota. Mucho dollars.

    One more negotiating lesson that has saved me many dollars over the years — The person who has the MOST TO GAIN in negotiations is the one who cares the LEAST about the outcome. Remember, on most purchases there is always someone else who WILL MEET YOUR PRICE, so be willing to walk when it’s NOT going your way.

    Happy deals hunting!

  2. Skiffer says:

    Since he approached them through e-mail, he was probably dealing with the internet sales department at the dealers.
    The internet sales team at most dealerships tend to get flat commissions based on volume sold instead of sales price – at least, that’s what one internet salesman told me.

  3. brendanm14 says:

    i did the exact same thing…set up a new GMail account just for car buying purposes and started emailing the dealers through edmunds and Unfortunately every single dealer came back with THE SAME PRICE! This was just a fact finding mission so I will use this form in 6 months when I am ready to buy and hopefully get better results.

  4. ARP says:

    dbattery- First great letter. Question. Why did you say, “(excluding tax, title and license)”? Couldn’t you provide some basic information (e.g. I live in area code 606XX) and have that amount be a part of the “drive-off price?” I figure the fewer items they can add on as extras, the better. I know some of these are “fixed” but never underestimate someone’s creativity to charge the “title fee” and the “title application fee”

  5. anatak says:

    “….ended up getting a 2007 Odyssey EX minivan for $25,780 before TTL, $630 under invoice, no trade, no accessories and the dealer beat his e-loan rate….”

    aaaaaaand still got screwed. Thats ok, someone will pick it up used for a song in 3-4 years.

  6. SmoovyG says:

    The Wife and I managed to get her a new 2007 HHR several months back for about 1500 under dealer invoice without all this hassle simply by using Costco’s auto program. It may be that we just got lucky, but it was ridiculously simple and worked out great for us.

  7. sayow says:

    While that is a good starter template, the deal he received on his 2007 Honda Odyssey is not very good.

    I’ve been following the Odyssey market for about 6 months. This month has had the best deals to date while Honda dealers are making room for the 2008 models, which received a mid-cycle make-over.

    A Honda dealer in southern California have sent me an email offering $2500 below INVOICE on all trims of the Honda Odyssey.

    I don’t think California deals and WI/IL deals should be that far apart!

  8. storm says:

    I hate to be a butt, but that e-mail isn’t all that wonderful or useful. I did like the part about “No calls, please.” I thought his conditions *about* the purchase were excellent, and I’ll add them to my repertoire, but the actual price negotiation takes a little more than that.

    I’ve bought or helped buy (for my mom and sister) about 10 cars over e-mail in the last couple of years.

    The most streamlined way of doing it is to simply pick your price and demand it, and e-mail every dealer that’s possible or economical to get to.

    Use the best offer to demand a match from the place that has the color or whatever else you want. Call bullsh– on *everything* they tell you, even if you know it’s true.

    You’ll hear “there’s a shortage” or “I won’t make a commission” or 50 other things that aren’t your problem. Be polite, but be firm, and don’t even be afraid to ridicule some of those things they say. Tell them “do better.”

    There are very few cars than can’t be had for invoice if you try hard enough.

  9. JustAGuy2 says:


    Actually, they won’t. Hondas have tremendous resale value, so the benefit of buying them modestly used is much less than for most other vehicles. Yes, it’ll be cheaper in 3-4 years, but it won’t be new, and it won’t be under warranty.

  10. Buran says:

    @anatak: Why exactly was he screwed? The “best deal” for different vehicles varies and that’s really good for a Honda that sells rapidly and doesn’t stay on the lot long.

    I paid a little over invoice for what I got but for what I got it was a good deal — AND it was a custom factory order so I got just what I wanted.

  11. Dear Honda Dealer,

    I am representing the Nigerian National Bank of Mufasa and I am ready to purchase a 2007 Odyssey EX minivan and would like a quote from your dealership.

    I have done considerable research and know invoice price, holdback, dealer cost, export costs, tariffs, and the average purchase price. I.m contacting a number of dealers in Wisconsin and Illinois and expect very attractive offers, as well as a pleasant buying experience.

    If you act now I will be willing to wire a sum of 1 (one) 1,000,000 lump some cash to appear into your bank accounts as there is an amount of unclaimed funds awaiting picking by their next of kin.

    Please respond via email with your lowest total price for the van (excluding tax, title and license).

    Thank you,

    King Mbuku

  12. AskCars says:

    Actually the 2007 Odyssey is a year end leftover right now and there are excellent deals on it in particular.

    The fact that you can get quotes and do it online pretty hassle free is one of the things that is driving the industry right now.

  13. jrobcet says:

    I recently used the same method to buy a new Toyota Rav4, but I took it one step further. I forwarded the lower quotes to competing dealers and asked if they could beat their competitor’s price.

    Two Toyota dealers engaged in a small bidding war, and in the end, I bought exactly what I wanted for almost $1600 under invoice. Of course, I already had financing arranged, and communicated that I would be paying cash for the lowest quote.

  14. zolielo says:

    An addition tip I have is if you have had repeat dealings with a part manager (found from car specific forums) call in the reciprocity chip. Only really a tip for those with brand preference and that source their own maintenance parts.

    Another tip would be to try to use collect bargaining power from work, unions, forums, and clubs (Costco, AAA, etc.).

  15. Brad2723 says:

    Arp, You would never want to include tax tag and license as part of the drive-off price.
    These fees are ste by the state and are non-negotiable. In Virginia, we have the ability to drive off of the lot without paying these fees up front. They can be paid directly to the DMV if you so desire.
    Additionally, if you are financing the vehicle, you should NEVER include these fees as part of the loan.

  16. foghat81 says:

    #1 – How would a reasonably informed consumer not be able to write that?! Nothing groundbreaking IMO.

    #2 While it doesn’t say when this vehicle was purchased, if it was recently, dbattery got hosed. There’s a $2000 manufacturer to dealer program out there. It’s not listed in edmunds’ incentive section, but Odyssey forums and edmunds’ own car forums talk about it. Most buyers are able to get most if not all of the $2000. For dbattery’s sake I hope he purchased his van more than a few weeks back or OUCH!

  17. jrdnjstn78 says:


    And you believed him??

    My ex was a car salesman and they are the biggest liars out there. They’ll tell you anything to make a sale. Wouldn’t you if you had to rely on a commission only salary. Alot of these guys make really good money.

    New cars have a set price that the salesman gets and used cars are where salesman can make some money. This was at least how they did it where my ex worked (Nissan).

  18. Buran says:

    @something_amazing: You’re not gonna take it lion around, are ya?

  19. EvilSquirrel says:

    I always find it amusing at how hard the rest of the country has it at buying a car. Since about just about everyone in the Detroit area has someone in their family working for an auto company, buying a car consists of nothing more than pointing at the one you want and having the salesman pull up your special below invoice price.

  20. balthisar says:

    My dad’s the internet rep at a car dealer. No commission on price. Of course it’s a fixed-price dealer, so not really any salesmanship, I think.

  21. Hexum2600 says:

    @EvilSquirrel: Thats what happens when you’re blue collar trash.