Can you buy a car below invoice price?

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Dear Driving for Dollars,
I see a lot of advertisements that offer services to buy a new car at the guaranteed lowest price, but is there actually a way to get a price that is a couple of thousand dollars below the invoice price?
— Buck

Dear Buck,
It is possible to buy a car below invoice price, even thousands below invoice, but not on all cars. The vast majority of cars that can be purchased below invoice are cars that are not selling well. This could be nationwide, regionally or even at a specific dealer. Sometimes, the model might not be selling well overall, or it may be a certain color or package of options for a specific car that isn’t selling well. Another common reason a car is sold below invoice price is that it is last year’s model.

One of the easiest ways to see if you can get a car below invoice price is to look for cars that currently have “dealers’ incentives,” the cash the manufacturer pays to the dealer for selling the car. You can find information on dealers’ incentives yourself on many third-party auto-pricing sites.

A buying service can be especially helpful to get the best price if you are looking for the slow seller of a more popular car such as one with a less popular color or option package. You also might want to use a service if you don’t want to do the legwork to locate such a car. Pay attention to the fees to use a car-buying service to make sure the cost doesn’t negate your savings.

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Read more Driving for Dollars columns and Bankrate auto stories. If you have a car question, e-mail it to us at Driving for Dollars.