Costco auto program
Saving Money

Is the Costco Auto Program a Smart Vehicle Buying Option?

Costco has more than rotisserie chicken and giant teddy bears. They also have vehicles for sale. In fact, the Costco Auto Program for new and used cars first started 32 years ago.

Today, thousands of members have taken advantage of the auto program for vehicle purchases and maintenance alike. Even RV enthusiasts have scored a new recreational vehicle for their adventures through Costco. But is it right for everyone?

How it works for new and used car purchases

Basically, participating dealerships near Costco locations partner with the wholesaler to offer reduced car prices to members. The dealerships pay a monthly fee to Costco to bring in traffic from shoppers and are expected to commit to the Costco deals.

To access those dealerships, you can call your local Costco service center directly. Alternatively, you can head to the Costco Auto Program website and enter your zip code to find participating dealerships near you.

Costco auto program

Costco Auto Program website

This program works best when you’ve already done your research and have one or two makes and models you’re specifically interested in. You can find out what special deals and reduced prices these dealerships are offering to Costco members only. Just use the online directory to gather the information you need to make an educated vehicle purchase.

The perks of the Costco Auto Program

Negotiating isn’t for everyone. If you’re not comfortable with haggling, the Costco Auto Program provides a solid alternative. The discounted price is set in stone.

On the online directory, you can view each car’s MSRP and invoice price, which helps you figure out if it’s actually a good deal or not. Before finalizing the sale, you can refer to the Costco staff to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

There are tons of new and used cars available across a range of automakers. Speaking of used cars, all participating dealers must thoroughly inspect and repair used cars before putting them up for sale in the program.

How to get access to the Costco Auto Program

Like most things for sale at Costco, you have to be a member of the wholesale club to get access to the auto program. For 2021, the annual membership fee is $60 per year for the basic package. This fee includes shopping capabilities at all warehouses and online. You also get two membership cards, which means you can split it with someone in your household.

If you want to up the ante, you can go for the premium membership package for $120 annually. You get additional benefits and discounts like a yearly 2% reward up to $1,000, as well as a subscription to the Costco Connection magazine.

Premium members in the Gold Star and Business groups also receive a $100 coupon for parts, oil changes and more. Executive cardholders get a $200 coupon.

What’s the downside?

No vehicle buying option is ideal, so what are the cons to the Costco Auto Program?

For one, it’s only available to Costco members. You also need to visit the dealership to make sure you’re getting an adequate discount. There may be other public offers ongoing, so it’s best to check.

Bottom line: If you’re already a wholesale loyalist, the Costco Auto Program delivers

It’s definitely possible to find better deals on cars outside of the Costco Auto Program, but not everyone has the wherewithal to find those special deals. For people looking for a straightforward route to a new or used car—who already have a Costco membership—the program is definitely worth looking into.  

 

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Rachel Curry
"Hey! My name's Rachel Curry and I'm a full-time writer who loves telling the world's stories as much as hanging with my dogs (and that's saying a lot). A University of Delaware graduate, I've traveled extensively, living everywhere from Ireland to Thailand. Bylines include Matador Network and Delaware Today."

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