Car Deal Canada

How Car Cost Canada Works

How Car Cost Canada Works

CarCostCanada makes the bold claim that they are “Canada’s #1 choice for New Car Buyers and the Nation’s Most Trusted Online New Car Pricing Service.” Statements like these naturally draw skepticism in today’s world where every company seems to proclaim they’re the “best” or “#1.” With so many options for Canadian car buyers to turn to for pricing information, research, and negotiation advice, does CarCostCanada actually live up to their confident self-proclaimed title?

In this in-depth investigation, we’ll analyze CarCostCanada’s offerings, reputation, pricing structure, and value proposition. We’ll compare them to competitors and assess whether their promised savings are realistic. By the end, you’ll have the information you need to determine if CarCostCanada is worth your time and money when making your next new car purchase.

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Overview of CarCostCanada is a Canadian company founded in 1999 that provides new car pricing information to consumers. Based in Mississauga, Ontario, CarCostCanada was one of the first websites to offer confidential dealer invoice pricing and rebate data online. The goal of the company is to empower car buyers with pricing information directly from manufacturers so they can negotiate the best possible deal.

CarCostCanada provides new car buyers with dealer invoice prices, current rebates and incentives, discounted pricing quotes, vehicle reviews, and other car buying tips and tools. The pricing data is sourced directly from manufacturers to reveal the wholesale dealer costs and hidden dealer profit margins. This inside information allows savvy shoppers to pay below dealer invoice price.

In the two decades since first launching online, CarCostCanada has grown to become one of the largest new car pricing services in Canada. The company claims to have helped over 400,000 members save money on car purchases. CarCostCanada has also expanded its vehicle data to cover new car pricing in the United States in recent years.


CarCostCanada’s Offerings

CarCostCanada provides several key services to Canadian new car buyers. Their main offerings include:


Confidential Dealer Pricing Reports

The core of CarCostCanada’s services are their pricing reports that provide the actual dealer invoice cost for new vehicles. This allows customers to see the price the dealer paid the manufacturer for the car, which reveals the lowest possible price the dealer could sell for. The pricing reports contain itemized and detailed invoice information that arm buyers with data to negotiate the best possible deal.


New Car Rebate Information

In addition to invoice pricing, CarCostCanada provides information on the latest new car rebates, incentives, and financing offers available from the manufacturers. This includes details on cash rebates, special financing rates, and lease deals. Having up-to-date information on incentives allows customers to combine invoice pricing data with available rebates for optimal savings.


New and Used Car Reviews

To help consumers research and compare vehicles, CarCostCanada offers both new and used car reviews. These reviews provide model overviews, performance assessments, feature analysis, and expert opinions. The reviews aim to give buyers a comprehensive information resource when selecting and evaluating vehicles to purchase.


CarCostCanada’s Pricing and Memberships

CarCostCanada offers different membership levels that provide access to varying numbers of pricing reports. Their basic free membership allows you to access pricing information on 2 vehicles. This gives you a taste of their services without having to pay anything upfront.

For more comprehensive access, they offer paid memberships. Their Silver membership costs $39.95 per year and allows you to access pricing reports on up to 5 vehicles. The Gold membership costs $69.95 per year and provides pricing reports on up to 10 vehicles.

Their highest tier is the Platinum membership which costs $99.95 per year. This gives you unlimited access to pricing reports on as many vehicles as you want for the membership period. It’s the ideal option for those shopping for an entire household of vehicles.

The membership fee is for access to the pricing reports only. There are no additional fees per report. Once you pay the membership cost, you can generate pricing reports on as many vehicles as your membership level allows.

Besides just the invoice pricing, the reports also contain information on any hidden dealer incentives and rebates available. This allows you to see the true dealer cost on a vehicle, giving you more leverage in negotiations.

They also offer one-off pricing reports without a membership for $39.95 per report. This can be useful if you only need pricing on a single vehicle and don’t want to pay for a full membership.


How CarCostCanada Makes Money

CarCostCanada generates revenue through several different streams. First, they offer paid memberships that provide access to their car buying tools and services. The basic membership starts at $29.95 for 5 vehicle price reports. More expensive packages provide unlimited reports and access to additional features.

In addition to direct consumer subscriptions, CarCostCanada also partners with other industry players. For example, some insurance and financial companies offer free CarCostCanada memberships as an incentive or benefit to their own customers. In these cases, CarCostCanada likely receives some sort of referral fee.

CarCostCanada also generates affiliate revenue from car dealerships. If a consumer uses their pricing report to make a purchase at a dealership, that dealership compensates CarCostCanada with an affiliate commission. So while their service is marketed to consumers, dealerships are also an important part of their business model.

The company also leverages the data they collect through subscriptions to create high-value analytics products. These could provide consumer shopping insights to auto manufacturers, market research firms, financial institutions and other clients. The data they can compile on search trends, consumer preferences, buying patterns and pricing is very valuable.

In summary, CarCostCanada monetizes through paid memberships, partnerships, dealer affiliate programs and data analytics. This diversified model allows them to profit from both consumers looking for pricing information, as well as corporate clients who want access to their proprietary data.


CarCostCanada’s Reputation

CarCostCanada enjoys a good reputation among Canadian car buyers, based on reviews from popular third-party sites. On TrustPilot, CarCostCanada currently has a rating of 4 out of 5 stars, based on over 200 reviews. The majority of reviewers mention saving money off the sticker price and finding CarCostCanada’s reports helpful during negotiations. However, there are some complaints around inaccurate pricing or issues with lack of dealer cooperation after purchasing a report.

On Reddit and forums like RedFlagDeals, discussions about CarCostCanada tend to be positive overall. Many Redditors in r/PersonalFinanceCanada confirm using CarCostCanada’s reports to negotiate significant discounts, with several reporting savings of thousands off MSRP. Some express skepticism about promised savings and note mixed experiences depending on the brand and local dealerships. But most agree CarCostCanada provides useful pricing information.

Reviews on third-party sites point to CarCostCanada’s pricing reports being fairly accurate and up-to-date. However, some reviewers say specific trims or options weren’t an exact match. There are also complaints about lack of flexibility from dealers despite having a pricing report. But overall, more buyers seem satisfied than dissatisfied with the service and pricing accuracy.


Complaints About CarCostCanada

While CarCostCanada enjoys mostly positive reviews, they have received some complaints over the years that are worth considering. One of the most common issues cited is around the accuracy of the pricing information they provide.

Some customers have reported that the dealer invoice price quoted by CarCostCanada was higher than what they were actually able to negotiate with the dealer. There is a disclaimer that the pricing is only an estimate, but some felt it was too far off the mark to be useful.

For example, one reviewer claimed they were quoted an invoice price $2,500 higher than what the dealer eventually agreed to. Others have complained that the pricing information lacked certain rebates or incentives available at the time.

CarCostCanada relies on data provided by the manufacturers and dealers, so sometimes there can be discrepancies if that information is not fully up to date. However, for some customers, it called into question the accuracy and value of the pricing reports.

Another common complaint is that some dealers were unwilling to negotiate below the CarCostCanada invoice price. The service is dependent on dealers agreeing to sell at a set margin above dealer invoice cost. However, some dealers may not abide by this, reducing the potential savings.

Customers have reported dealers saying they could not go any lower than 1-2% off the CarCostCanada quoted invoice price. This could limit the promised savings, making the value of the report questionable in those cases.

While CarCostCanada states they will work with customers to get a fair price, there are mixed reviews on how responsive they are in resolving complaints about pricing accuracy or dealer cooperation issues.


Expert Opinions on CarCostCanada

CarCostCanada has received mixed reviews from industry experts when it comes to their reputation and reliability.

On one hand, some experts praise CarCostCanada for providing more pricing transparency in a traditionally opaque industry. As an early online car buying service, CarCostCanada helped pull back the curtain on dealer invoice pricing and manufacturer incentives. This gave buyers more power during negotiations.

However, other experts argue that CarCostCanada’s pricing data is not always fully accurate or up-to-date. They claim manufacturers and dealers change pricing frequently, sometimes on a daily basis. So CarCostCanada’s reports may reflect outdated numbers.

There are also concerns around how cooperative dealers are with CarCostCanada. Some experts say dealers may resist honoring CarCostCanada’s quoted prices if they are below what the dealer is willing to accept. This reduces the value of the pricing report.

Additionally, experts debate whether CarCostCanada’s recommended “target prices” provide enough savings off MSRP. While any discount helps, some argue more savings could be achieved through traditional face-to-face haggling with the dealer.

Overall, expert opinion on CarCostCanada is split. Most agree they offer a useful starting point for negotiations. But experts caution buyers not to rely entirely on their reports when making a final purchasing decision.


CarCostCanada vs. Competitors

When assessing the value proposition of CarCostCanada, it’s useful to compare their offerings and pricing to competing services in the Canadian new car pricing space. One of the most prominent competitors is Unhaggle, which also provides confidential dealer invoice reports to help consumers negotiate the best price.

At a quick glance, Unhaggle and CarCostCanada offer similar services. Both provide pricing reports showing dealer cost price and hidden dealer incentives, along with tools to help configure the car you want. However, there are some key differences:


  • Unhaggle offers free invoice reports, while CarCostCanada charges $29.95 for a package of reports.
  • Unhaggle claims to provide pricing on every new car sold in Canada, while CarCostCanada has a smaller database.
  • CarCostCanada offers more flexible membership options, like pay-per-report or one month access.
  • CarCostCanada provides vehicle reviews and more editorial content beyond just pricing data.


When comparing the user experience, CarCostCanada offers a more modern interface and mobile apps. However, Unhaggle’s no-frills design may appeal to some consumers looking just for pricing.

Overall, Unhaggle likely beats CarCostCanada when it comes to the completeness of the pricing data. But CarCostCanada offers more flexibility in how you access that data, along with complementary car-buying advice.


Do CarCostCanada’s Savings Claims Add Up?

One of the biggest claims made by CarCostCanada is that their pricing reports can help buyers save thousands of dollars off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) on a new vehicle. But are these promised savings actually realistic?

According to CarCostCanada, the average reported savings per vehicle in 2022 was $2,854 off MSRP. They state that their members saved between $500 to $11,000 on their new car purchase after using their pricing report.

At first glance, potential savings of several thousand dollars seem impressive. But when you look closer, there are reasons to be skeptical:


  • MSRP is rarely what people actually pay for a new car. Most buyers are able to negotiate the price down below sticker price even without services like CarCostCanada.
  • Advertised discounts may include incentives, rebates, or promotions that would be available to any buyer from the automaker, not just CarCostCanada members.
  • Quoted savings are averages across all purchases – for any individual car, the discount could be much smaller.
  • There is no transparency into how CarCostCanada calculates these savings numbers.


The lack of details on what baseline prices are being used makes it very hard to judge if the promised savings are in line with reality. And there are no guarantees that the invoice prices CarCostCanada provides are any better than what an informed shopper could negotiate on their own.

While CarCostCanada’s pricing reports may offer some additional insights that could help in negotiations, their claims of saving buyers thousands of dollars need to be taken with a grain of salt. For any individual purchase, the actual savings realized after using CarCostCanada could end up being negligible or non-existent compared to just directly negotiating with multiple dealers.


Value Proposition of CarCostCanada

When considering the value proposition of CarCostCanada, it’s important to analyze whether the pricing offers good value for money. At first glance, the membership fees seem high compared to free services like Unhaggle. However, CarCostCanada provides additional benefits beyond just a dealer invoice price.

For the $39-$79 membership fees, CarCostCanada members gain access to pricing reports on multiple vehicles along with rebate and incentive data. The pricing reports contain dealer cost information that isn’t available anywhere else for free. This allows savvy car buyers to understand the true dealer markup and negotiate from a position of knowledge.

According to CarCostCanada, members can expect to save an average of $3,000 off MSRP using their pricing reports. While the actual savings will vary, the ability to see real dealer invoice costs provides transparency into the negotiation process. For many car buyers, saving a few thousand dollars makes the membership fee worthwhile.

Beyond pricing reports, CarCostCanada also offers vehicle reviews, tools to find the best financing, and advice on getting the maximum rebates. The package of services aims to provide multiple angles for saving money on a new car purchase. While CarCostCanada may not be the cheapest option, the value is reasonable for access to non-public dealer data.

For car buyers serious about getting the best price and conducting thorough research, the pricing structure of CarCostCanada offers fair value. The membership fee is a small investment compared to the potential savings off MSRP. While not necessary for all buyers, the unique services of CarCostCanada are worth the cost for many.


When CarCostCanada Reports Are Most Useful

With all the pros and cons to weigh, you may be wondering when CarCostCanada reports will provide the most value. Here are some recommendations on the best uses of their service:


If you’re buying a hot, in-demand vehicle where supply is limited – Reports can help you know where you stand price-wise and if a dealer’s “best price” claim stacks up.

When price shopping across multiple dealers in a region – Seeing all the dealer costs in one report allows you to focus negotiations on the dealerships with the most markup/wiggle room.

On luxury or highly optioned vehicles – There’s often more variance in pricing and incentives on higher end cars, so having the data can really pay off.

If you’re not wanting to negotiate much – Knowing the factory invoice price upfront takes a lot of legwork out of the buying process.

When trading in your current vehicle – Having the dealer cost information allows you to better calculate the real value of trade-in promotions.

For leased vehicles – Seeing the breakdown of residual values and dealer fees can help you get the best possible lease terms.

On your first time purchasing a car – Their reports simplify the process if you have limited experience negotiating.


Pros of Using CarCostCanada

Despite some of the concerns raised, CarCostCanada does have some notable benefits and strengths as a new car pricing service that are worth highlighting:


Access to Dealer Invoice Pricing

One of the biggest pros of using CarCostCanada is that it provides members access to confidential dealer invoice pricing for new vehicles. This shows the price the dealer themselves paid the manufacturer for the car, which can be thousands below MSRP. For buyers, seeing the dealer cost gives you an informational advantage when negotiating.


Rebate Information

In addition to invoice pricing, CarCostCanada also provides details on available rebates, incentives, and special offers on vehicles. This information can help you maximize savings by stacking rebates on top of a low invoice price.


Vehicle Research and Reviews

The CarCostCanada website offers research, reviews, and comparison tools to help you narrow down vehicle choices. This can be handy homework before heading to the dealer.


Price Match Guarantee

CarCostCanada offers a lowest price guarantee, promising to match a lower price if you find one. This provides some reassurance on the pricing accuracy.


Choice of Membership Options

CarCostCanada provides different membership tiers based on how many reports you need. This allows some flexibility whether you are buying 1 or multiple vehicles.


Cons of Using CarCostCanada

While CarCostCanada offers some useful services for car buyers, there are also a few potential drawbacks to be aware of when using their reports and pricing information:


Pricing Not Always 100% Accurate

Some past customers have complained that the final negotiated price from dealers ended up being different than what CarCostCanada’s reports suggested. There can be discrepancies between the invoice pricing they provide and what the dealer claims it to be. This may be due to rebates or incentives not accounted for.


Lack of Cooperation from Some Dealers

Since CarCostCanada reveals confidential dealer invoice pricing, some dealerships refuse to negotiate with customers who present CarCostCanada reports. They may claim the pricing is inaccurate or outdated. This limits the usefulness of the reports at certain dealers.


Upsells and Hidden Fees

While the basic membership is free, CarCostCanada encourages upsells to paid memberships tiers to access more pricing reports. There are also fees charged for accessing additional tools or information. Make sure to factor these extra costs in.


Doesn’t Replace Doing Your Own Research

The reports provide a useful baseline for pricing information, but you still need to put in legwork contacting dealers yourself. CarCostCanada is not a car buying service – you need to negotiate yourself using their data.


Refund Policy and Customer Service Issues

Some past customers have complained about difficulties obtaining refunds from CarCostCanada if unhappy with the reports. There are also mentions of poor customer service when trying to get pricing issues resolved.


Verdict on CarCostCanada

After closely examining CarCostCanada’s offerings, reputation, pricing, and value proposition, what’s the final verdict on whether this company lives up to its bold claim of being “Canada’s #1 choice for New Car Buyers”? Here’s a summary of the key findings:


On the positive side, CarCostCanada does provide some useful services that can potentially help Canadian car buyers save money in certain situations. Having access to dealer invoice pricing, rebates, and other insider information can be valuable leverage when negotiating with dealers. For savvy shoppers who know how to use the data effectively, the pricing reports offer insight you can’t easily get elsewhere. There’s also evidence from customer reviews and forums that some buyers have achieved significant savings with CarCostCanada’s help.

However, CarCostCanada seems to exaggerate the simplicity of the process and how much the average buyer can realistically expect to save. Achieving thousands in savings off MSRP still requires negotiating prowess and persistence, on top of buying at high-volume times of year when automakers offer the biggest incentives. For more casual buyers just looking for straightforward pricing information, CarCostCanada’s paid membership structure may not offer enough value to justify the cost.

Overall, CarCostCanada can be a useful tool for some new car shoppers who are willing to put in the effort to maximize the opportunity. But for buyers who just want a quick and easy way to get a good price, CarCostCanada’s claims of being Canada’s #1 service may be a bit overstated. It’s worth cross-shopping their paid pricing reports against free services and weighing if the membership fees will pay off in your specific situation.



In conclusion, CarCostCanada can provide some value to Canadian new car buyers looking to get the best possible price, but they may not be the magic bullet solution they market themselves to be. Their confidential dealer reports give you helpful data points to use in price negotiations. However, you still need to put in the hard work of shopping multiple dealers and negotiating the final price yourself. For buyers that are willing to invest some time and effort, the CarCostCanada reports can give you more ammunition to save money off MSRP. But you shouldn’t expect to automatically save thousands just by using their pricing information. While they provide useful data, you have to combine it with smart negotiation tactics to get a great deal. So in the end, CarCostCanada may be worth considering as part of your new car research, but have realistic expectations about the money and effort required to get the best price. Use CarCostCanada’s intel as an aid, not a substitute for your own negotiating skills and shopping efforts.

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Questions About How Car Cost Canada Works

CarCostCanada is Canada’s leading online new car pricing service. Founded in 1999, CarCostCanada provides new car buyers with access to dealer invoice pricing and hidden incentives to help negotiate the best possible deal on a new car purchase.

CarCostCanada works by providing customers with pricing reports containing the dealer invoice price and any available incentives or rebates on new cars. Customers can access pricing reports for a low one-time fee, which allows them to see what dealers paid for inventory. Armed with this information, buyers can negotiate a lower price closer to the dealer cost.

A CarCostCanada pricing report includes the vehicle’s MSRP, freight and PDI charges, dealer invoice price, any incentives or rebates available, fair purchase price range, and expected negotiation range. It empowers buyers with knowledge to secure the absolute best price.

Yes. CarCostCanada offers pricing reports on all new cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, and crossovers sold by franchised dealerships across Canada. If a vehicle is available at a Canadian dealership, CarCostCanada can provide transparent pricing information on it.

CarCostCanada prides itself on providing new car shoppers with the most accurate and up-to-date pricing information available. Pricing reports are generated in real-time and pricing data comes directly from manufacturers and other industry sources. Shoppers can trust CarCostCanada pricing as the benchmark for negotiating deals.

Yes, a basic CarCostCanada membership is completely free. All members get access to pricing details on at least two vehicles along with bonus reports on similar models. Upgrading to premium membership provides unlimited pricing reports to find the best possible deal.

With decades of experience and endorsements from top consumer advocates like Ellen Roseman, CarCostCanada is widely considered the most trusted source for Canadian new car pricing data. They maintain an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau with no registered complaints.

Knowing what the dealer paid for inventory compared to the asking price reveals the true markup and wiggle room in negotiations. Shoppers can target a fair offer closer to dealer invoice plus reasonable profit for the best deal possible. This inside information saves buyers thousands.

Yes. Armed with national dealer invoice pricing from CarCostCanada, shoppers can negotiate the same low pre-tax price at any dealership across Canada. This eliminates the need to haggle on a dealer-by-dealer basis for the best price.

A CarCostCanada pricing report contains full details on all rebates, incentives, discounts, or promotional offers available on a vehicle. This information combined with dealer invoice pricing helps shoppers maximize savings off MSRP.

No. CarCostCanada specializes exclusively in new car pricing data. However, they recommend using their reports when trading in a used vehicle. Understanding dealer cost on desired models means negotiators can reduce an offer on the trade-in by a corresponding amount to maximize overall savings.

CarCostCanada offers flexible and affordable pricing report packages. Shoppers can access a single report for $14.95. Bigger bundles with multiple reports run from $19.95 to $39.95. Premium all-access memberships are $99.95 per year.

According to AutoTrader data, the average new car price in Canada for 2023 is $67,817 plus taxes and fees. This represents nearly a 20% increase over 2022 prices as demand outpaces constrained inventories. Shoppers should expect to budget more for a new vehicle purchase this year.

New car prices in Canada peaked in September 2022 and have fallen slightly in recent months as supply chain issues ease and inventories rebound. However, continued high demand means elevated asking prices versus pre-pandemic norms persist industry-wide for now.

Canadian car buyers have long paid a significant premium over American prices for the same vehicles. With the weak Canadian dollar and lower sales volumes, consumers can expect to pay 15-20% more for both domestic and imported new car models.

Along with higher base prices, Canadian car buyers also pay extra fees above sticker price. This includes provincial/territorial sales taxes, air conditioning levies, tire recycling fees, documentation charges and more. These can add thousands to the final purchase price.

The best tips include researching dealer cost through CarCostCanada reports, shopping at high-volume dealers with greater discounts, focusing on models with high inventories, checking for rebates and incentives, securing pre-approved financing, and being ready to negotiate based on fair profit above dealer invoice.

Armed with dealer invoice data, fair negotiations generally center on a purchase price between 3-5% above the documented dealer cost. This allows for reasonable profit while securing maximum savings off MSRP for the buyer.

The Hyundai Kona and Kia Seltos currently lead the pack as the best new car buys in Canada based on value, pricing, reliability and ownership costs. Well-equipped compact SUV models offer the most features and space for the money versus pricier segments.

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