Pricing Guide for New BMWs
The majority of people buying from luxury car brands pay Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price ("MSRP") for their new vehicles. Numerous BMW owners claim that BMWs have little to no margin for negotiation and typically visit the local dealership with a general monthly payment in mind and the sales representative finds a vehicle that fits that payment. The result is the buyer paying MSRP, or close to it.
Our philosophy centers around efficiency. The lowest price with the smallest time commitment. Below, we have laid out a step by step guide for you to get the best price with minimal effort.
1) Find your local BMW dealership
2) On the dealership's website, find the vehicle and it's vehicle identification number ("VIN") that fits your wants and needs (most dealerships list the entire VIN or at least the last 7 digits)
This step is often performed in conjunction with Step 3 because most dealerships only include the Model and MSRP. If the dealership details all option packages on the vehicle, proceed to Step 4.
3) Go to bmwarchive.com and decode the VIN.
By decoding the VIN, you can find out the exact option packages on the vehicle.
4) Go to TRUECar.com and build the vehicle selected in Steps 2 and 3 with all the same options. Typically, the MSRP on TRUECar is within $200 of the MSRP on the dealership website (sometimes dealerships round up or down on their listed MSRP).
5) Proceed through TRUECar to find specific dealership offers and select the lowest price offer in your commuting area. TRUECar will usually give you three dealerships with different pricing. When you receive the TRUECar certificate, you should use the TRUECar Estimate, not the TRUECar Dealer Price. The TRUECar estimate is the sale price before dealership fees. Dealerships have fees that are not included in the TRUECar certificate and they may attempt to double dip if you use the figure with the fees included.
6) Call or email your local BMW dealership and ask if they meet other local dealership's pricing (i.e. the TRUECar Estimate in Step 5).
Individual dealerships generally meet pricing of dealerships within 50 miles. At this point, you should verify what manufacturer incentives are being offered on your model, this would further reduce the purchase price. These incentives change monthly so be aware if you are pricing toward the end of the month.
If leasing, we recommend taking this opportunity to pin them down to the terms of the lease (i.e. Bank Fee, Document Fee, Money Factor, and Residual Percentage). See our Leasing Calculator to crunch the numbers on a lease.
7) Confirm that the vehicle chosen in Step 2 is still in stock and set up an appointment with your local BMW dealership to complete the purchase or lease paperwork.
If you have followed the above steps, your time in the dealership should not exceed one hour.
Bait and Switch: Dealerships will advertise low monthly payment deals on one specific vehicle, in order to get you into the dealership and switch you to another vehicle without the advertised low monthly payment. You won't fall into this trap if you follow our advice above.
Increased Fees and Finance Rate: In order to make up for a lower sales price, dealerships may add points to the finance rate or increase the bank fee on the transaction. BMW Financial requires a bank fee of $725, but dealerships may charge up to $925. Remember to keep track of the fees and verify that the dealership is not double dipping.
Not Knowing What You Want: This is a big one. If you need to test drive a model we recommend going into test drive then go home and work the numbers. You can probably do it in the dealership but you will be under pressure and may make a mistake.
Incentives: BMW incentives are different than dealership incentives. BMW incentives can get tacked onto TRUECar pricing, whereas dealership incentives would not.
Monthly Payment: Sales representatives are trained to focus on monthly payment because it is the easiest for the customer to understand. If you know that you can afford $600 a month on your car payment, do your homework and figure out what sale price will get you to $600 per month. Sale Price is the only number you should negotiate on. See our Leasing Calculator to crunch the numbers on a lease.
Finance Office Extras: When you are in the finance office, the financial officer will try to sell you on a variety of extra services. These include tire insurance, dent and ding insurance, paint insurance, paint protective coatings, and other dealer installed extras. Generally, we recommend saying no to everything offered in the finance office. The idea of insurance is to protect you from having to lay out a large sum of money if a tire goes flat or someone puts a big dent in your vehicle. In the long run, you will come out ahead if you decline these insurance offers (if that wasn't the case then the dealer would constantly be losing money). However, if you decide you want the protection, the prices quoted are negotiable.