How to Find Invoice Price of a New Car - Sane Driver (2023)

Howdy, Driver? Before you arrive at the dealership, know how to find the invoice price of a new car you want to buy.

How to Find Invoice Price of a New Car - Sane Driver (2)

The invoice price is one of the vehicle prices to look out for at the dealership. Typically, the dealer will keep it from you to get you to pay more money for the car.

Table of Contents

What is Invoice Price?

The invoice price is the amount of money an automaker charges a dealer for a vehicle. It may include additional charges such as destination charge and optional equipment cost.

Typically, the auto dealer pays less than the invoice price of a car because of added incentive bonuses, cash back or vehicle rebates, allowances, and discounts.

Dealers also enjoy a holdback amount that the manufacturer repays them for selling a vehicle, but it inflates the price they pay for the vehicle, and they are reimbursed later. The dealer holdback percentage is typically 2-3 percent and it is not offered by all auto manufacturers.

Is Invoice Price Different from MSRP?

Yes. While invoice price is the amount the manufacturer charges a dealer on the invoice, the MSRP (manufacturer suggested retail price) is the selling price suggested by the manufacturer. It is also called the sticker price and it is found on the MSRP of a new vehicle.

Note that a dealer can sell a vehicle costlier than the MSRP because it is a suggested price and not a fixed price. Typically, the cost of the car increases from added dealer charges such as the dealer prep fee, delivery charges, and dealer doc fee.

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One of the strategies to beat a salesman is to avoid paying the delivery charge.

How to Find Invoice Price of a New Car

Is it possible to find a vehicle invoice price?

Below are the ways to find vehicle invoice price on a new car:

  1. Request Invoice Price from the Salesman

The best way to find the invoice price of a vehicle is to ask the salesman. If the salesman proves abortive, then you want to ask the sales manager while emphasizing your willingness to buy from their dealership.

You have nothing to hide because it is business. If you are at the dealership, say to the salesperson, “the black Ford over there, kindly provide the invoice. I want to negotiate using the bottom line price.”

Typically, the dealership will not disclose the invoice of the vehicle. So, you have to walk away but leave your phone number behind.

If the salesman sees the need to disclose the invoice price and sell you the vehicle for their commission, they will call to inform you.

  1. Negotiate with Invoice Price

Assume that you the dealer the disclosed the invoice price of the vehicle.

Now, attempt to negotiate using the out-the-door price, which should include the unknown invoice price and other bonuses. Note that you must not include the rebate while negotiating.

  1. Consumer Reports True Car Value

Navigate to to research the possible invoice price of a car.

You will also discover the hidden dealer charges, dealer holdback, and the bottom line price of the vehicle you want to buy.

  1. Buy a Low-Demand Vehicle

Some vehicles do not sell fast and the dealer is willing to employ any strategy to get rid of the vehicle from the lot.

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It is for this reason that some cars carry lots of incentives to encourage consumers to buy them.

When you arrive at the dealership, ask the salesman for the vehicles with the most incentive offers to select from. You can request the invoice of the vehicle and the dealership would not think twice before disclosing the invoice price, hidden charges, and even the incentives/bonuses the dealer gets from the car.

The idea is to sell it out and make way for newer vehicles.

  1. Edmunds True Car Value

Navigate to and provide the details of the vehicle you want to buy for its true value on Edmunds.

Is Car Invoice Price Accurate on Websites?

Not really. Sites like Edmunds that provide the estimated true car value do so with available but limited data.

The invoice a dealer gets from the manufacturer contains additional charges that may not be mentioned by the true car value research website. Thus, the information is not accurate.

True car value research websites may not account for the following information:

Online Marketing Fees

If an automaker offers web design services to a dealership, the dealership is charged in the vehicle invoice. Since online marketing is optional, not every dealership signs up and so they are not charged on their invoice.

You cannot tell whether an auto dealer is charged this fee, except they reveal it.

Regional Advertising Fees

If a dealership participates in a regional advertising group offered by a manufacturer, they will be charged to the new vehicle invoice.

Note that the regional advertisement fee the dealer pays to the manufacturer is used for running ads in the region.

Of course, the cost of an advertisement is not the same in all the states, so it is difficult to know what the dealer pays out whether they participate in the program.

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Market Value Adjustment

Manufacturers often adjust the prices of vehicles, especially during the mid-year to boost sales. They also disclose the updates on their websites, but websites that estimate true car value may not update the data to reflect the changes in the invoice price.

The Difference Between Dealer Cost and Invoice Cost

The dealer cost and the invoice cost differ somehow.

The dealer cost is the actual price that a manufacturer charges a dealer and that the dealer pays to get the car. Moreover, dealer cost represents the minimum value of a vehicle and it is as low as the dealer can sell the vehicle without losing money. Other than the dealer, it is difficult to know the actual dealer cost because it changes based on the number of variables, which differ depending on the dealer.

Invoice cost, on the other hand, is the estimated amount of money that a dealer pays a manufacturer for a car. Unlike the dealer cost, invoice cost is an estimated quote by the dealer regarding what they will be charged for the car. The amount often increases higher than the vehicle value and it includes vehicle options and add-ons.

Can You Determine the Invoice Price personally?

Yes. However, you must collect the correct information from the manufacturer’s website, dealer websites, and true car value websites such as Edmunds to determine the invoice price.

To discover the dealer cost, which is the actual value of a car, you have to determine the invoice cost of the vehicle.

You should focus your research on the possible dealer incentive amount and the percentage of the dealer holdback, typically 2-3 percent. You must also know the vehicle options and additional charges from subscriptions by the dealership such as online marketing and district advertising.

You can calculate the holdback in 4 ways, including the following:

  • Total MSRP
  • Base MSRP
  • Total Invoice
  • Base Invoice

You may refer to my article link I embedded above that describes the dealer holdback to know how to calculate the holdback amount.

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General Manager at Jay Leno"s Big Dog Garage

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.

Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

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How do you find the dealer's true cost of a new car? › lists the holdback and dealer incentives in its price report for each vehicle. The report, which is free, also shows the site's best estimate of the actual dealer cost, the higher, factory-invoice price and the average price that buyers are paying.

What is the invoice price of a new car? ›

Simply put, the invoice price of a car is the monetary amount that the dealer claims to have paid the manufacturer for the vehicle. And it usually serves as an ideal starting point for hammering out a deal on that ride you've got your eyes on.

How do you calculate invoice price? ›

So, invoice price of goods = cost + loading on cost = Rs. 1,80,000 + (Rs, 1,80,000 x 25%) = Rs. 1,80,000 + Rs.

How far below MSRP is invoice price? ›

The total invoice cost on a vehicle typically ranges from several hundred to several thousand below its sticker price. For example, a midrange 2018 Honda CR-V with a $30,000 sticker price may have an invoice that's around 7 percent lower, or about $27,900.

What is the average difference between dealer invoice and MSRP? ›

MSRP, or Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price, is what the automaker thinks is a fair price for the car that also nets the dealer some profit. It's typically 20 percent higher than the invoice price, but varies somewhat depending on manufacturer.

Is dealer invoice the same as MSRP? ›

MSRP is the price an automaker recommends for a car, while invoice price is how much a dealer pays an automaker for a car. Knowing both numbers gives you an idea of a dealer's profit margin — and whether you could have an opportunity to negotiate the price.

Is it OK to ask for the invoice price of a car? ›

You can always ask a dealer what they paid for a used car, but there typically won't be a willingness to share that information. On the new car side of things, dealers are much more likely to be open and transparent about the invoice cost they paid to purchase a vehicle.

Is dealer invoice price true? ›

The definition of a dealer invoice price should be simple. It's supposed to show the price that a car dealership paid an auto manufacturer to buy a specific vehicle. But here's the truth: The price you see on a dealer invoice almost never shows what a dealer actually paid for that car.

Is it possible to pay MSRP for a new car? ›

In some cases, paying MSRP may be the best deal possible. After all, this is a market in which Toyota Corollas are selling for $5,000 over MSRP. While there can be ways to avoid a dealer markup, consumers simply don't have the negotiating power or access to discounts like 20%-off-MSRP deals like we've seen in the past.

Do dealers ever go below MSRP? ›

It's Possible. Although it may seem counterintuitive, it's actually possible for a dealership to sell a car for “below invoice.” There are three major reasons why this can happen: A special promotion, holdback, or financing deal.

How much over invoice should you pay for a car? ›

You should expect to pay no more than 5% above the invoice price. If you do, you shouldn't take the deal and go elsewhere. Car dealers may say they make only 12% on the invoice price from the MSRP, but with the incentives, that number is doubled usually.

What should you not say to a car salesman? ›

Things to Never Say to a Dealer
  • “I'm ready to buy now.” ...
  • “I can afford this much per month.” ...
  • “Yes, I have a trade-in.” ...
  • “I'm only buying the car with cash.” ...
  • “I'm not sure…which model do you think I need?” ...
  • “Oh, I've wanted one of these all my life.” ...
  • “I'll take whatever the popular options are.”

What is current invoice amount? ›

Current Invoice – The total amount invoiced by the Vendor in the current invoice. Invoice shall provide an accounting of Contract Total; Amount Previously Invoiced; Current Invoice Amount; Amount Remaining on Contract.

What is the total invoice value? ›

Total Invoice Value means the total amount (inclusive of any applicable tax but less applicable discounts, rebates and/or redemption of existing Go Points, if any) stated in Go Shop's sales invoice invoiced by Go Shop to a Customer for payment of an Order.

Are dealers still charging more than MSRP? ›

And while new cars were selling for an average of $700 over MSRP last spring, by December of 2022, new car buyers were paying an average of $300 below MSRP. But while that's good news for consumers, CNN was quick to point out that it still pales in comparison to the $2,600 you could expect to save back in 2019.

Do dealers make money selling at MSRP? ›

It's above and beyond the factory MSRP. A dealership makes its gross profit on a vehicle from the spread between what it must pay the factory for a car and the amount it collects from a customer at the point of sale.

Are dealers asking more than MSRP? ›

Some vehicles command well above MSRP.

In other words, even the fairest dealers don't have an incentive to dicker, so be prepared to pay sticker. With that bit of folksy poetry fixed in your mind, you'll need to guard against any dealers treating today's short supply of cars like a winning lottery ticket.

Can you negotiate documentation fee? ›

Unless the dealer documentation fee charge is set in stone, you can typically negotiate and ask the dealer to reduce that cost. You may have more leverage in states where fee limits are not established.

Is MSRP out the door price? ›

That's because the MSRP of the vehicle is just the suggested retail cost of the car. It does not factor in any other fees you're required to pay when you purchase a vehicle from a dealership. The out the door price includes the MSRP of the vehicle, plus all the other fees that get added into the sale.

How close to MSRP should I pay? ›

It depends on the car's make and model; however, paying a 10% markup at the most is ideal. According to Autoblog, “the average price for a new car hit $48,043 (as of August 2022).” That's a 12.7% increase from June 2021, as buyers were reportedly paying an average of $1,000 over MSRP.

How do I ask a car dealer for a quote? ›

Give the dealership what it needs for a quote

Most dealerships have an online form prominently placed on their websites, with options for contact via email, phone or text, and many have staff dedicated to responding to those Internet leads. It may be labeled “Contact us” or “Check availability.”

What do you say when negotiating a car price? ›

When negotiating, it helps to be able to justify what you're asking for, he adds: “Instead of saying, 'I want to pay this,' try something like: 'I've looked at five or six different cars that are similar to yours in the market. The price range goes from $19,500 to $20,700. I'm comfortable making an offer of $19,100.

Is invoice price the dirty price? ›

The invoice price is sometimes referred to as the “dirty price” because it takes into accounted accrued interest, which changes every day. The quoted price is also called the “clean price” and is what Wall Street uses to quote Notes and Bonds.

Do dealers make money on invoice? ›

The invoice price, or the dealer price, is the amount a dealership pays the manufacturer for the vehicle. If dealerships can sell the vehicle for more than the invoice price, they keep that excess as profit.

Is KBB invoice price accurate? ›

For the most part, Kelley Blue Book (KBB) is one of the most accurate sources when it comes to prices for buying and selling used vehicles. Kelley Blue Book is a powerful resource. However, it is just one of multiple sources that folks use to help guide them in the car buying or selling process.

Does invoice include price? ›

The invoice price or dealer cost is the amount that car dealers pay for a car in total, including the cost of the base model and added options. This amount is usually lower than the advertised price, commonly known as the MSRP or Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price.

Why are people paying over MSRP for new cars? ›

“Consumers are willing to pay well above sticker price for new cars because inventory is so scarce and because they know that new car pricing is not expected to improve until 2023 at the earliest,” said Karl Brauer, iSeeCars' executive analyst.

What is the difference between the sticker price and MSRP? ›

A car's sticker price or MSRP is the manufacturer's suggested retail price. It's called car sticker price because it's required by federal law to be placed on the window of a vehicle for sale. The dealer doesn't have to stick to the MSRP when selling the car, but the MSRP must remain displayed.

Should I buy a car now or wait until 2023? ›

Our analysts tell us that new car shoppers are better off waiting for discounts to kick in in the second half of 2023. Falling used car prices make it a good time to buy used. Even as new car prices begin to drop, they remain elevated.

Are all car dealers asking over MSRP? ›

Some vehicles command well above MSRP.

With that bit of folksy poetry fixed in your mind, you'll need to guard against any dealers treating today's short supply of cars like a winning lottery ticket. Many are tacking thousands of dollars in dealer markups to the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP).

What is the average dealer markup on new cars? ›

However, you may encounter cases in which limited availability can require paying well over MSRP. In 2022, a chip shortage has resulted in more consumers paying markups. According to the website iSeeCars, the average markup fee is $3,753, or 9.9% over MSRP.

How do you determine dealer value? ›

Current Industry Market Indicator

The blue sky multiple (pre-tax earnings X multiple = intangible value, or "blue sky") remains the most commonly used method for determining the value used in actual dealership transactions.

Is it cheaper to buy a car directly from the factory? ›

All things considered equal, ordered vehicles cost no more than vehicles in dealer stock and, in some cases, may actually cost less. When you buy from dealer stock, you may have to settle for a vehicle with either more or less equipment or your second or third color choice.

Can dealers lower MSRP? ›

The short answer is yes. However, for many, even the thought of negotiating new car prices can seem intimidating. Treat this experience like any negotiation and go in with a plan. The more thought you put into it upfront, the more confidence you'll feel about speaking with your dealer about the price of your new car.

What is a fair dealer profit on a new car? ›

Front-end gross profit is usually described as the difference between dealer invoice and the selling price. That percentage tends to be somewhere around 20%. If a vehicle was sold with a $1,000 front-end profit, the salesperson would earn somewhere around $200.

How much under MSRP do dealers pay? ›

Depending on the car company, dealer holdbacks might range between 2 and 3 percent of the invoice price or the manufacturer's suggested retail price. That can add up to more than $1,000, depending on the cost of the car.

Are dealer markups negotiable? ›

Feel free to negotiate: Dealers don't always expect people to pay the full markup, so if the vehicle you really want has a market adjustment, try offering half of its cost.

What does the dealer cost equal? ›

In the strictest terms, dealer cost is the actual price the dealer paid to the manufacturer for the car on the lot or showroom floor. In practice, dealer cost is the lowest price a dealer can accept for the vehicle without losing money.

What do dealers use to determine trade in value? ›

As stated above, the Black Book is what dealers usually refer to when trying to figure out how much a used vehicle or trade in is worth. Consumers will typically use Kelley Blue Book values when estimating new and use vehicle costs.

What mileage is best to trade in car? ›

30,000 To 40,000 miles

The depreciation of your vehicle will generally begin to accelerate faster after this milestone, so the closer your car is to this mileage, the better your trade-in will likely be.

What is the most cost effective way to purchase a vehicle? ›

Buy a used vehicle

Not only will it ensure that you can actually drive away with a car, but it will also mean money saved. “Those looking for a great deal should look at used cars,” Moody says. With such high demand for vehicles and low inventory, new car prices will remain high.

Will car prices go down in 2023? ›

Prices could drop up 5% for new vehicles and 10% to 20% for used vehicles in 2023, according to a report in November from J.P. Morgan. The basis for the prediction is that demand has stabilized and vehicle inventory is improving.

Can you buy cars straight from the manufacturer? ›

Yes, you can configure it to your specifications and order it from the factory. Some automakers make it easier, some harder. And for almost all brands, the purchase will still involve a car dealer as a middleman in the transaction.


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