Car Deal Canada

How To Get Dealer Invoice Pricing

How To Get Dealer Invoice Pricing

Finding the true dealer cost or invoice price for a new vehicle can be tricky, but it’s an important number to know before negotiating with a dealership. The invoice price represents the wholesale cost that the dealer pays the manufacturer for the car before any incentives or holdbacks. Having this information allows you to negotiate a fair price closer to the dealer’s actual costs. However, automakers and dealers don’t publicly provide the invoice price, making it a challenge for car buyers to uncover.


This guide will walk you through strategies, resources, and tips to help Canadians find accurate dealer invoice pricing. Knowing the invoice price gives you power when it comes time to negotiate, helping ensure you don’t overpay. While the process takes some digging, understanding the dealer’s true costs is worth the effort for getting the best deal.

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What is the Dealer Invoice Price?

The dealer invoice price, sometimes referred to as the dealer cost, is the wholesale price that car dealers pay to manufacturers to purchase vehicles. This is different from the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), which is the sticker price listed on new vehicles.

The invoice price represents the base cost of the vehicle before any additional markups, fees, or incentives are applied by the dealer. It does not include shipping/freight charges that are also incurred when the dealer receives the vehicle.

Since dealers ultimately sell vehicles to consumers at prices above the invoice price, the difference between MSRP and invoice represents the gross profit margin that the dealer hopes to make on the new vehicle sale. Therefore, the invoice price is almost always lower than the MSRP or sticker price of a new car.

Knowing the dealer invoice gives consumers insight into the dealer’s markup and an estimate of how much room may be available to negotiate on the price. While invoice pricing isn’t openly shared by manufacturers or dealers, it serves as an important baseline for shoppers aiming to pay as little over dealer cost as possible.

 

Why the Invoice Price Matters

Knowing the dealer invoice price for a new vehicle gives you critical insight into the transaction. It allows you to understand the dealer’s markup and potential profit margin on the car sale. While the sticker price or MSRP is set by the manufacturer, the dealer invoice price represents what the dealership actually paid to purchase that vehicle from the automaker.

The difference between these two prices is the gross profit the dealer hopes to make on the sale. By researching invoice pricing, you gain knowledge to make an informed offer closer to the true dealer cost. This gives you more negotiating leverage to push for the best possible deal.

Having the invoice price information before you walk into the dealership levels the playing field. The dealer has the advantage of knowing their actual acquisition cost, while the customer is left to guess at what a fair price might be. Researching invoice prices helps remove that information asymmetry.

With an accurate dealer invoice price in hand, you can point out excessive markups and more confidently negotiate the lowest price. Knowing the dealer’s real cost for that specific car gives you power in the negotiation that the average customer typically lacks. In the car buying process, this inside information is critical to get the very best deal on your next new vehicle.

 

Challenges Finding the Invoice Price in Canada

Finding the true dealer invoice price for a new vehicle can be tricky in Canada for a few reasons:

 

The invoice price is not publicly listed or disclosed by automakers. They consider it proprietary information that gives dealers a competitive advantage. Manufacturers don’t want customers knowing exactly what the dealer paid for a vehicle.

 

Dealers are often reluctant to provide the invoice price upfront to customers. They may claim it’s against company policy or that the number is irrelevant. Many dealers won’t readily share the invoice price unless directly asked by an insistent buyer.

 

Holdbacks, incentives, and other costs make determining the real dealer cost complex. The invoice price doesn’t factor in things like factory-to-dealer incentives and holdbacks that effectively lower the net price paid by the dealer. This makes it harder to know the dealer’s true cost basis.

 

Strategies to Uncover the Invoice Price

Finding out the true dealer invoice price can take some work, but there are a few key strategies you can use:

 

Ask the Dealer Directly

One option is to simply ask the salesperson at the dealership for the invoice price. However, most dealers will be reluctant to readily share this number, as it gives away their negotiating power. You may need to press them to provide it, but there’s no guarantee they’ll be fully transparent about their true cost.

 

Check Third-Party Car Pricing Sites

There are many independent car pricing websites like Unhaggle and CarCostCanada that provide vehicle invoice prices and other data to help consumers negotiate. For a small fee, you can access detailed pricing reports that often include the dealer invoice price and calculations of incentives and holdbacks.

 

Use Online Forums

Visit online communities like RedFlagDeals and Beyond.ca to connect with other car buyers in Canada. You can search for threads where people have shared the invoice prices and negotiation details they received from dealers. This can help give you a ballpark figure to work with.

 

Calculate Incentives and Holdbacks

You may be able to estimate the dealer invoice price by researching the various incentives and holdbacks offered by the automaker. Add these amounts to the advertised price to deduce the underlying dealer cost. This method takes more work but can provide a reasonable approximation.

 

Resources for Canadians to Find Invoice Pricing

There are a few key resources Canadians can use to uncover dealer invoice pricing on new vehicles:

 

Unhaggle and CarCostCanada Pricing Reports

Two of the best services are Unhaggle and CarCostCanada. These companies specialize in providing new car pricing data for the Canadian market. For a fee, you can order a pricing report that includes the factory invoice price as well as information on incentives and holdbacks for the specific vehicle you are interested in. This gives you an accurate picture of what the dealer paid the manufacturer.

 

Consumer Reports New Car Price Service

Consumer Reports, the well-known consumer magazine and website, offers a New Car Price Service in the US and Canada. For a per-report fee, you can get the dealer invoice price as well as fair purchase price estimates based on actual sales data. The service is accessible online and easy to use.

 

Online Forums

Canadian online forums like RedFlagDeals and Beyond.ca have active automotive discussions. You can search past threads or post questions to try to get invoice pricing details from other members, especially for very new or limited production models. While not officially confirmed numbers, these community sources can provide helpful ballpark figures.

 

Using Invoice Price in Negotiations

Once you’ve obtained the dealer invoice price, you’ll want to use that number strategically in price negotiations to get the best possible deal. Here are some tips for leveraging the invoice price effectively:

 

Make an offer slightly above invoice – Start your offer around 2-3% above the invoice price. This gives the dealer a small profit while still getting you a competitive price.

 

Point out excessive markups over invoice – If the dealer won’t come down to near invoice pricing, show them how much they are marking the vehicle up over their cost. This exposes high profit margins.

 

Be ready to walk away if needed – Your best leverage is being willing to walk away. If a dealer won’t negotiate based on the invoice price, be prepared to leave and shop other dealerships.

 

Bringing up the invoice price during negotiations signals to the dealer that you’ve done your research. Use it to anchor negotiations around the dealer’s true costs. But also be flexible – invoice pricing isn’t everything, and finding the right vehicle for your needs may sometimes be worth paying a premium. Know your target price and when to compromise versus when to walk away.

 

Other Dealer Costs

While the invoice price is what the dealer originally pays the manufacturer, there are often other costs and incentives involved that affect the dealer’s bottom line. Some key ones to be aware of include:

 

Holdbacks

Holdbacks are an incentive paid from the manufacturer back to the dealer after the sale is completed. This typically ranges from 2-3% of the vehicle MSRP. For a $30,000 car, that could mean a $600-900 holdback for the dealer.

 

Incentives

Manufacturers offer dealers various incentives and rebates to encourage sales of certain models. These can range from cash bonuses for selling specific cars to discounts on financing rates. This lowers the dealer’s effective cost.

 

Advertising Fees

Manufacturers often require dealers to pay into regional or national advertising funds. This averages around 2% of MSRP, so another $600 on that $30,000 car. This is an additional cost for the dealer.

While you likely can’t get the full details on these costs, being aware of them provides context on how flexible a dealer may be in negotiations. The invoice price is just one part of the puzzle.

 

Strategies Beyond Invoice Price

While knowing the invoice price is critical, there are other strategies you can use beyond just negotiating up from the dealer cost. Here are some additional tips:

 

Shop Multiple Dealers

Get quotes from several different dealerships, even if they need to be further away. Seeking multiple bids allows you to leverage dealers against each other to drive down the price. Let them know you are shopping around for the best offer.

 

Buy at Year-End

Aim to purchase near the end of the model year when dealers are trying to clear out remaining inventory. You can often score huge discounts as they make room for next year’s models.

 

Check for Rebates/Incentives

Research current offers and incentives from the manufacturer around the time you are buying. Extra cash rebates can instantly lower the price and give you more room to negotiate.

 

Buying a Popular Model

When a new model is in high demand, it can be harder to negotiate a good deal. Popular models may have waitlists, pre-orders, and limited availability. Dealers know they can sell these vehicles quickly at or above MSRP. This leaves less room for negotiating significant discounts.

If you want the latest hot model right away, you’ll have less leverage. Dealers may ask for deposits just to get on a waitlist. When supply is short, you may have to accept paying closer to sticker price.

One option is to custom order the vehicle from the factory if you can wait. This allows you to get the exact color and options you want without paying over MSRP. The wait could be several weeks or months, but at least you won’t overpay.

With a little patience, you can avoid the supply constraints and frenzy over a new release. Wait until the initial demand dies down, and you’ll have more negotiating power.

 

Leasing Instead of Buying

While buying a new vehicle outright gives you the most control, leasing can also be a smart option in certain situations. When leasing, the focus shifts away from the invoice price and more towards the negotiated selling price and monthly payment.

Similar to purchasing, you’ll want to negotiate the best possible selling price upfront. This is where invoice pricing still comes into play, as it gives you a reference point for fair dealer markup. Aim for a competitive selling price relative to the invoice.

The key numbers to understand when leasing are the money factor and residual value. The money factor is similar to an interest rate, while the residual value is the estimated worth of the vehicle at the end of the lease term.

Lower money factors and higher residual values lead to lower monthly payments. Use resources like Edmunds to look up typical money factors and residuals for the vehicle you’re considering. This helps you determine if the dealer is offering a fair leasing deal.

While leasing shifts the focus away from the dealer invoice price, it still provides useful context in negotiations. Knowing the invoice cost helps you push for the best possible selling price before agreeing to a monthly payment.

 

Avoiding Dealer Tricks

While most car dealers are honest, some may use sneaky tactics to boost their profits. Be on the lookout for the following:

 

Spot Delivery Scams

This is when a dealer lets you drive home in a new car before financing is finalized. If the rate or terms change afterwards, they may call you back to sign a new contract. Refuse spot deliveries so you don’t get stuck with a bad deal.

 

Yo-Yo Financing

Similar to spot delivery, this is when the dealer tells you the financing fell through after leaving with the car. They will pressure you to sign a new loan with worse rates. Reject yo-yo financing and be wary of too-good-to-be-true deals.

 

Added Extras

Dealers may try charging you for “documentation fees” or add-ons like rustproofing without permission. Make it clear you won’t pay for any extras you didn’t agree to upfront.

 

Consider a Demo or Used Vehicle

Another option to avoid paying full MSRP is to consider a demo or used version of the vehicle you want. Demo vehicles are brand new but were used by the dealership as loaners or for test drives. Since they have a few miles on them already, they are often discounted a few thousand dollars off the sticker price.

You won’t get the thrill of being the very first owner, but you can score significant savings on a barely used car. There will be limited selection though, as dealers don’t keep a huge inventory of demos. It’s also wise to thoroughly inspect any demo model, as some employees may have driven them aggressively.

Looking at used vehicles can yield even better deals. Let’s say you wanted a 1-year old version of a popular SUV. The original buyer likely paid close to full sticker price. But after a year and 12,000 miles, their loss is your gain. The used price could be thousands below the new MSRP.

Again, you’ll have limited selection buying used. But if you can find the right vehicle in good shape with an attractive discount, it makes the hunt worthwhile. Between demos and used, you may luck out with significant savings off the new car price.

 

Know When to Walk Away

Even with the invoice price information, some dealers may be unwilling to negotiate or offer a reasonable deal. Don’t feel obligated to buy if the dealer refuses to come down to a fair price above invoice. Walking away sends a message you won’t overpay. Give your contact information and ask them to call if they reconsider.

High-pressure sales tactics are also a sign to head for the exit. If you feel pushed into making a rash decision or add-ons you don’t want, leave. You can always go to another dealer that treats you better.

Likewise, if the vehicle ends up not being what you expected, don’t hesitate to walk away during a test drive. Your money is better spent elsewhere rather than an impulse purchase you’ll regret.

Know your bottom line for monthly payments or out-the-door pricing before entering negotiations. Stick to those limits and be willing to walk if they won’t make it work. Patience and shopping around leads to the best deal.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, finding the dealer invoice price is just one tool in your arsenal when negotiating the best deal on a new vehicle. While uncovering this wholesale cost gives you insight into the dealer’s markup and profit margin, the invoice price alone doesn’t guarantee you’ll pay rock bottom. Dealers have additional costs and incentives that make their true bottom line more complex. Combining strategies such as shopping around, knowing your target price, leveraging rebates and dealer competition, and walking away from a bad deal all contribute to maximizing your leverage and getting the lowest price.

With persistence and the right information, Canadian shoppers can find accurate invoice pricing to use in negotiations. But even armed with this knowledge, you’ll still need to employ multiple tactics to land the very best offer. Use online resources to dig up invoice numbers, point out excessive dealer markups, and make reasonable counteroffers over invoice. Yet also cast a wide net with multiple dealers, have backup choices and a target price in mind, and be ready to walk away if needed. With the right combination of preparation, pricing knowledge, flexibility and negotiation skills, uncovering that mysterious dealer invoice price can pay big dividends in the final discount.

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Questions About Finding Out Dealer Invoice Pricing

The dealer invoice price in Canada is the amount the dealership pays to the manufacturer for a vehicle before any discounts or incentives are applied. It is essentially the wholesale price of the car. The dealer invoice price does not include any markup or additional fees the dealer adds.

Typically Canadian dealers pay around 8-12% below the MSRP for new cars. However, this varies greatly based on the vehicle’s popularity, availability, and the relationship between the dealership and manufacturer. Luxury and high-demand vehicles tend to have less discount from MSRP, while slower selling models may have more significant discounts.

Some sources for finding Canadian dealer invoice prices include:

– Automotive websites like Unhaggle.com, CarCostCanada.com, AutoTrader.ca, and Edmunds.com.

– Third party vehicle pricing guides like the Canadian Black Book and NADA Guides.

– Getting a copy of the invoice from the dealer directly, though this is more difficult.

You can typically negotiate 4-8% below the dealer invoice price on most vehicles. However, very high-demand or limited availability vehicles will have less negotiation room. Getting 8% or more below invoice is only realistic on models that have high inventory levels or slow sales.

No, the destination and delivery charges are not included in the dealer invoice price in Canada. These charges are added by the manufacturer to ship the vehicle to the dealership’s region. Expect to pay $1,500-$2,000 on top of the invoice price.



Common fees Canadian dealers add beyond the invoice include:

– Administrative or documentation fees ($500-$800 typically)

– Freight/PDI (pre-delivery inspection) fees

– Federal air conditioning tax

– Provincial sales tax

– Licensing fees

– Dealer installed accessories or options



The holdback amount (2-3% of MSRP that the manufacturer refunds the dealer) does not come off the invoice price. Even though dealers get this holdback amount eventually, it does not reduce the wholesale invoice price they pay upfront for the vehicle.

The best way is to ask the dealership directly to reveal all the factory incentives available on the model you’re purchasing. These can include cash rebates, discounted financing rates, or lease incentives. Many dealers will provide a breakdown of incentives as they use them to advertise sale prices.

In extremely rare cases, a vehicle with limited availability may get a dealer invoice that equals or exceeds the MSRP. This only occurs when supply is far below demand, such as for a very hot new model in its first year of production. Over 99% of the time, the dealer invoice is well under MSRP.

There can be slight invoice price variations between dealers in Canada based on:

– Volume discounts (bigger dealerships get better pricing)

– Vehicle availability and demand in the region

– Franchise agreements and relationships between dealership groups and manufacturers

Yes, for very high-demand trucks like the Ford F-150 or RAM 1500, you will likely pay full sticker price or a markup above MSRP even if the dealer has no inventory on their lot. Limited supply allows dealers great flexibility in pricing these truck models.

Yes, the dealer invoice prices can change over the course of a model year as automakers make adjustments based on inventory levels, demand, and market conditions. Prices typically go down later in the model year as next year’s vehicles begin to arrive.



Factory-to-customer rebates do not change the wholesale dealer invoice price in Canada. However, the rebates allow dealers to advertise sale prices at greater discounts without impacting their bottom line. Manufacturers use rebates to stimulate showroom traffic and sales.

The best approach is to research invoice pricing online first, then make an offer 4-8% below a dealer’s invoice considering any additional incentives and rebates available. Have evidence to support your offer and be prepared to make concessions if necessary to reach a fair deal.

When negotiating a lease in Canada, use the dealer invoice price and residual value to calculate monthly payments, then make an offer based on getting the best lease rate possible through manufacturer incentives. Aim for total lease payments 10-15% below MSRP.



Very high demand models in short supply give dealers tremendous leverage to price vehicles at or even above MSRP. Limited inventory combined with lots of customer demand allows dealers great flexibility on vehicles like the Toyota RAV4 Prime or Kia Telluride.

While you cannot deduct the holdback amount from the invoice, knowing that dealers get 2-3% of MSRP refunded later can help justify slightly lower offers. Dealers still make healthy profits even at 4-8% under invoice after accounting for holdbacks.

Automakers prefer to keep dealer invoices as secret as possible so customers focus negotiations primarily around MSRP. Highlighting rebates also stimulates more sales. Ultimately invoice pricing reduces automakers’ flexibility to adjust wholesale pricing.

The USMCA increases regional automotive content requirements over time. This may gradually increase production costs for manufacturers, potentially raising dealer invoice prices in Canada. However, the impact should be very small annually.

Mainstream brands like Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Ford, GM, Nissan, Hyundai, and Kia tend to offer the highest factory rebates and incentives to dealers in Canada. Luxury makes like Mercedes, BMW, Audi offer fewer discounts off MSRP or invoice price.

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