One of the most commented-on posts in the history of the CarGurus Blog is an article on the Costco Auto Buying Program. For whatever reason, folks tend to get fired up, either fiercely defending their beloved Costco or ranting against the perceived inconsistencies of the program.
For the record, I do not believe Costco’s Auto Buying Program is a scam. I also don’t believe the program will offer a dealer’s best price and know for certain that savvy negotiators can arrive at a better price than what Costco offers.
The difference may not be much, though, and that’s why I think the Costco Program has been such a success. Buyers get a discount and don’t have to do anything to work for it other than fill out an online form. Now, Costco and General Motors hope buyers of bulk mayonnaise and peaches will be interested in special discounts on trucks.
The two companies announced yesterday a deal that will allow Costco members to purchase certain Chevrolet and GMC light trucks at a “preferred price.” There’s no indication of what, exactly, that price will be, but it won’t be as good as employee prices. More likely, the discount will be roughly equivalent to what General Motors offers suppliers’ employees. Pretty murky territory, if you ask me.
Someday, I think it would be great to see vehicles actually sold from Costco stores at a price that is truly magnificent. A Yukon sitting just down from the video cameras, jewelry and caskets with a black & white price tag hanging above it would truly be a convenient auto-buying experience. Until that happens Costco shoppers will have to make do with contacting a dealership, requesting the Costco price, then arranging a time to fill out the paperwork and take delivery. How smoothly the process goes depends on the willingness of dealers to accommodate such buyers without giving them the ol’ run-around, which seems to have happened a lot, at least according to the comments left on our blog.
If you were considering a truck purchase, would going through Costco persuade you to buy a GM product?