Invoice Price (or "Dealer Cost")

Invoice price (sometimes referred to as "dealer cost") is the price that appears on the invoice that the manufacturer sends to the dealer when the dealer receives a car from the factory.

Please note, however, that this price is almost always higher than the amount the dealer actually ends up paying to the manufacturer. This results from a variety of discounts offered to the dealer that do not appear on the invoice. The two most common discounts are Dealer Holdback and Dealer Cash Incentives, and there are others that may be based on factors such as a dealer's sales volume for a particular month.

Also note that the invoice price does not reflect any manufacturer-to-consumer rebates, the destination charge or the tax, title, license, advertising or registration fees. For more on such fees, please see What Fees Should You Pay?

Sometimes the amount quoted as the invoice price includes the destination charge and sometimes it does not, so look closely. On Edmunds.com, we always make that clear.

In the end, determining a dealer's actual net cost is difficult even for seasoned automotive insiders. This is why we developed the True Market Value pricing system, which is our determination of what other consumers are actually paying for a vehicle. TMV accounts for the effect of all of the manufacturer's extra charges as well as the dealer's hidden subsidies, and we believe it is the most important price to know when negotiating your purchase.

How to Find Invoice Prices

To find the invoice price for a vehicle, select the Make, Model and Year you're interested in using the drop-down menus at the top of any Edmunds.com page:

MainNavigation.JPG

Selecting a Make, Model and Year takes you to the main Edmunds.com page for that car, showing photos, local inventory, reviews, pricing, specifications, etc.

Next, scroll down to the Pricing area to see Factory Invoice, Average Price Paid and MSRP for the car with typical options:

Invoice.JPG

To get the most accurate pricing, click the blue Build Your Own link and then select the exact trim, color and options of the car you're researching. At the end of that process, you will arrive at a customized report of its MSRP, Invoice Price and True Market Value.

Invoice Price Discrepancies

Invoice prices on our site always match the price listed in a booklet prepared by the vehicle manufacturer and distributed to its dealers commonly known as the "dealer order guide"; however, an individual dealer may add additional items such as advertising fees. (For more on dealer fees, see What Fees Should You Pay?)

Please note when comparing invoice prices that it's important to ensure the vehicles' styles and options are an exact match. For example, the invoice price of a Ford Fusion SPORT FWD (front-wheel drive) will be slightly less than the Ford Fusion SPORT AWD (all-wheel drive).

Also, regional pricing differences can be the cause of a discrepancy. For example, in the South and Southeast, large independent distributors control the pricing of Toyota vehicles, and they may set prices at different levels than those established by Toyota for the rest of the country. Similarly, in the Northeast, an independent company distributes Subaru vehicles and can influence pricing in that region.

Comments

  • Avatar
    d10boe

    Not correct. I looked at Edmunds.com, and even joined the site, but found no such drop down menus on ANY page. Big waste of time.

  • Avatar
    Mark Holthoff

    Hi, d10boe. Are you by chance looking for invoice prices in Lousiana? If so, please note that Louisiana regulators asked Edmunds.com not to display invoice pricing for Louisiana ZIP Codes because of concerns that “invoice price” can be a misleading concept. Additionally, in the view of Louisiana regulators, our invoice prices were displayed too close in proximity to Louisiana dealers’ advertising, which caused the Louisiana dealers to be violating regulations that saying they can’t incorporate invoice pricing into their advertising.

    You should still be able to see True Market Value (TMV) prices for cars in Lousiana, though. As noted in the article above, TMV is actually a better way to determine what to pay for a new vehicle than invoice price because TMV accounts for the effect of all of the manufacturer's extra charges as well as the dealer's hidden subsidies.

  • Avatar
    paul2006

    Mark,

    Respectfully, I liked Edmond's method of reporting on dealer costs before TMV.  While Dealers might like TMV, it complicates negotiations for me.  Previously, I would simply determine dealer cost with Edmond's tools, ask a few dealers to quote based on my understanding of dealers cost, and take the best offer.  Now, with TMV, I will likely overpay.  Edmonds was the only place I would check before buying.  Now I feel like I need to do more pricing research.  Was TMV invented to make dealers like Edmonds?  What do you think?

  • Avatar
    Mark Holthoff

    Hi, Paul. Unless you are in Louisiana, you still have access to all of the same information that you've had in the past to understand dealership cost on a new car, including invoice prices (as described above), incentives details and dealer holdback. Check out this article for tips on how to use all of this information to get the best possible deal.

    If you are in Louisiana, you might want to take up the matter with state officials because they are the ones who asked us to remove invoice pricing from our site for viewers in the area.

  • Avatar
    paul2006

    Thank you Mark.  I will look for that information again.  I don't mind the dealerships making a fair profit.  I just  want to be able to understand their cost structure and be able to negotiate with them.

  • Avatar
    paul2006

    Mark,

    I am having trouble finding info on Edmonds.  How do I calculate the TMV and see the actual dealer's cost on a vehicle?

  • Avatar
    Mark Holthoff

    Hi, Paul. Please call our Live Help team at 1-855-782-4711, and someone will be happy to walk you through the steps. Thanks.

  • Avatar
    paul2006

    OK Thanks.

  • Avatar
    seahawks3

    I am planning to buy Honda CRV 2014 model LX AWD at $21678 plus tax, license and equipment. I this a good price?

  • Avatar
    Mark Holthoff

    Hi, seahawks3. Yes, that's a very competitive price for a 2014 CR-V LX AWD in your area. I'm attaching an appraisal from our site (http://www.edmunds.com/tmv.html) that shows the average transaction price for that car near year you (before tax, license and registration) is about $23,000 (about $500 below invoice). Hope that helps!

    Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 8.35.30 PM.png

  • Avatar
    Joseph Sexton

    MSRP, Invoice, it's all BS, no way to really know what a car costs a manufacturer to build & sell or the actual profit margin. It's the same as in buying a mattress. These are all a guide BUT not fact. I knew a women who worked for GM, as an employee she said her price was 18% off retail. Most have a Friends & Family plan, we bought a Mazda 3 $500 BELOW invoice.

  • Avatar
    cw6

    In the post above from 11/14/14, you show this TMV pricing that list the total invoice, MRSP, TMV with the components.  I used this in November 2010.  I have been on the site this year and cannot find anything like this for new car purchases.  I see "What others are paying for" but don't really see it in this format.  How/where can I find this information now.

  • Avatar
    Mark Holthoff

    Hi, cw6. The easiest way to get there is to start at this page: http://www.edmunds.com/tmv.html

    Hope that helps!

  • Avatar
    cw6

    It is not as easy as that.  The only way I can get the page listed in the 11/14/2014 post is to select the option to build and price your car.  None of the other options provides the image shown above.  I happened to stumble on it when I did the "build and price your car" selection.  This is not very intuitive.  The same screen should be always shown. 

  • Avatar
    tyson122354

    Please advise who provides the Gas Card-- is it the dealer or Edmunds and how do I get the card once I have purchased the car tks

  • Avatar
    mish13

    I'm looking at a 2014 Prius C Three, is the destination charge to be considered part of the invoice when negotiating a price.  According to Edmunds the Invoice Base Price is $20,261, but after adding Destination Charge of $825 and Advertising of $500, the total Invoice is $21,586.  Which is the more accurate total?  Thanks!

  • Avatar
    texyat

    Mark Halthoff, who should I contact in Louisiana about this? I would like to ask whoever made this decision why they are more interested in protecting the interests of big businesses rather than the local citizen-consumer. Please let me know which office to contact. Thanks.

  • Avatar
    texyat

    Mark Halthoff, who should I contact in Louisiana about this? I would like to ask whoever made this decision why they are more interested in protecting the interests of big businesses rather than the local citizen-consumer. Please let me know which office to contact. Thanks.

  • Avatar
    Joseph Sexton

    Mark, thanks helping the folks, I go to Edmunds for reviews, I will try your method of finding the INVOICE PRICE but as you said this is NOT the actual dealer cost. I was looking at Audi's, I received an email stating this saleswoman would take $8000 off the MSRP, I got this without even asking.