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I recently purchased a fully loaded RTL (silver) with moon roof and navigation system in San Diego for $32,755. I believe others should be able to negotiate a similar or better price. This post is intended to help those of you who have not yet made a purchase.

Pricing inevitably varies by location, availability, dealer motivation, and your preparedness to bargain. The MSRP, with destination charge, for a fully loaded RTL is $35,155. According to Consumer Reports Auto Buying Service (www.consumerreports.org), the dealer invoice is $31,774. According to Edmunds (www.edmunds.com) it is $100 less, or $31,674. Consumer Reports also states that the dealer holdback for each RTL sold, which is “a percentage of the total MSRP that the manufacturer holds and then gives back to the dealer, often at the end of the year or quarter,” is $1,039. Thus, the net cost to the dealer, according to Consumer Reports, is $30,735. If so, they are making $4,420 or 12.5% on any car they sell at MSRP.

Edmunds reports on True Market Value, which it states to be what others are paying in your area. For me, that was stated to be $35,155. Edmunds reports are supposed to be based on actual sales. In this case, because the vehicle is new, I suspect that there simply isn’t enough information to know yet, so Edmunds is reporting sticker price. That or the average sale in San Diego is sticker price, which seems unlikely to me.

Edmunds is free and an excellent resource for trade-in value. They advise what your trade-in should be worth both in trade and in a private sale. In my case, my car was considered to be worth about $9,000 on trade-in, but about $10,000 if I sold it myself, which I wanted to avoid. Kelly Blue Book also offers trade-in value, but my understanding is that Edmunds tailors its trade-in based on regional variations, whereas Kelly uses a national database. In any case, Kelly valued my trade-in significantly lower than Edmunds.

My goal was to get an RTL for $32,000 and a trade-in value of $9,500 for a net of $22,500. I missed that by $955, getting my RTL for $32,755 ($2,400 under MSRP) and $9,300 for my trade ($300 over the Edmunds valuation.) Here’s how.

First, I got the actual price and dealer hold-back information from Consumer Reports auto buying service. This is available for each model, costs about $20 and is instantly available to you on the web. Second, I researched Edmunds for both new and trade. Then I used Edmunds service to “Get Dealer Quotes,” which works via the Internet, with a request sent to the dealer and a quote back to you. I also used Cars.com and Autobytel.com, similar services. Where the opportunity was offered, I expanded my acceptable geographic search range broadly to take in multiple dealers. That’s easy in an urban area, but more difficult in a rural area. Finally, I used the COSTCO auto buying service. I did not mention trade in these cases. I also did not mention financing, as I was paying cash. Note: Dealers make money on financing, so that complicates the sale price and should help get a better price that I was able to get.

Within 24 hours, I received the following quotes from dealers within 75 miles from either Cars.com or Autobytel.com:

1) $33,655
2) $34,400

In the case of #1, without any in-dealer negotiating, I was offered $1,500 under MSRP.

For my third quote, Autobytel and COSTCO sent me to the same dealer. I decided to try for the COSTCO approach, which required that I visit the dealer. I was quickly and without haggle shown a book with the COSTCO price and offered dealer invoice plus $1,900 or $33,674. (As the salesman explained, for less popular models, the add-on to dealer invoice may be as little as $200, but the Ridgeline is considered more popular and priced accordingly.) This price then was in the middle, a little more than quote #1, but definitely below quote #2. However, there were two problems with the COSTCO price. First, it is understood going in that it is a no-negotiation price, so it appears that protocol is that they don’t bargain beyond this no-haggle price. In any case, I didn’t try because I was offered only $7,000 for my trade. This was $2,000 under the Edmunds estimated trade-in value. The salesman suggested that he might go up to $8,000, but that still wouldn’t have been enough. He did suggest that I sell my car on my own, which was good advice considering what he was willing to offer.

I emailed the other dealers back after receiving their offers to gave them details of my trade-in. I let each know via email know that I was shopping for the best deal and ready to buy. I made it clear that I was speaking with other dealers and I advised of an ideal net target price of $22,500 after trade-in. I advised that if anyone was willing to meet that price, I would buy.

The dealer who had emailed me back with the lower price for the Ridgeline (#1 above) did not immediately respond to my target price that included the trade-in, but an assistant called, stating that he was willing to be “very competitive” and would get back to me. The dealer who had emailed me the higher price (#2 above) advised that, based on my description of my trade, he would be willing to go from $8,000 to $10,000 for my trade, but would need to see it. I knew my trade-in was very clean and therefore felt that the $10,000 would be possible, based on his statement. It certainly appeared this would be a better option than the COSTCO dealer when the trade was considered.

I reiterated to him my target price, implying that I didn’t want to come into the dealership unless we were in the ballpark, and he stated he’d be willing to “work with me” if I’d be willing to “work with him.” Classic car dealer lingo. He wanted me to come into the dealership.

Before leaving, I received a return phone call from a fourth dealership. This was where I had first test driven the car. I advised of my net target price and that I was heading to visit dealer #2. After some discussion, he said he would check with his manager and called back with a net price of $24,500, which was $2,000 over my target. I advised I would consider this, as I was driving to the other dealer.

I then visited dealership #2 and advised, again, that my target price was $22,500 with trade-in, but before taxes, etc. They checked my trade-in. It helped a lot, I think, that this was a Honda and Ford dealer and my trade was a Ford. (The COSTCO dealer said they’d be taking my trade-in to auction.) The salesperson advised that my trade was worth $8,600 or something of that nature and was sticking to his original quote of $34,400 for the Ridgeline (i.e. net of $25,800). This was $1,300 more than dealer #4 had just offered. I told him I’d be willing to up my target net price by $1,000 from $22,500 to 23,500, but no more, and wanted mud flaps installed.

At this point, the sales manager (or someone who is supposedly the sales manager) entered the picture. He offered $24,600 net. I said no and politely advised that I wasn’t in a hurry to buy, just looking for the right price. I also pointed out that I had come up $1,000 from the target price I’d advised them of before I arrived at the dealership. He said for my price, he’d need to check with his boss, whose day off it was and who he might not be able to get in touch with. (Whatever.) I advised him this was no problem, and if he couldn’t get in touch with his boss, I would be happy to come back another day. He asked if I was ready to write a check for the car today. I confirmed that I was. He left, came back in 10 minutes, and agreed to charge me $32,755 for the Ridgeline (with the mud flaps installed) and to give me $9,300 for my trade, for a total of $23,455. (Don’t ask me why he undercut my bottom line net by $45. I didn’t.)

I came away believing that using the COSTCO program and the Internet has significant benefits. If I’d had no trade-in, the COSTCO no-haggle price would have been $32,674 or $2,481 under MSRP and less than I technically paid another dealer. Not bad and very easy, but the trade-in complicated things and made it a relatively bad deal. By using the Internet pricing system, visiting a motivated dealer, and making it clear that I was on the one hand ready to write a check, but on the other hand not in a hurry, and by setting what I considered a fair price, but coming up from it a little, I ended up with what I considered a good deal. Moreover, aside from two test drives and a 15 minute visit to the COSTCO dealer, I spent a total of about 20 minutes in the dealership negotiating my price.

I do not know how these cars are selling in other parts of the country, or even here in San Diego. I believe Honda has a new car on its hands that it knows might be a big winner, or a flop, or something in between. At this point, no one really knows, but as the positive reviews pile up, it is probably looking to dealers like something they don’t have to deal too much on. I suspect they want to get the first cars on the road so that they are out there in view.

My sense, having driven the car and seen the reactions of others, is that this car is going to do very well. At some point down the line, it may indeed command list price or even more. For now though, I have concluded that careful bargaining can yield positive results. In particular, I would suggest that starting with some initial quotes via Internet and COSTCO (or similar pricing service) prices, visiting the dealer with a bottom line price and a maximum you are willing to pay, but being fully and completely ready to leave the dealership if you don’t get it is a good approach. They never want to see you walk out the door. In my area, with no trade-in, you ought to be able to get the car for $32,675 or so. Maybe less.

Good luck with your negotiations!
 

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great description of the process. i got the holdback figures from one of the posts here for free( isn't this site great). i had visited the dealership i went to and asked if they were willing to deal yet and talked about holdback and if they're dealing a few hundred above invoice etc...(salesmans reply "oh we've already spent the holdback on advertising" and "you can't even get a pilot for a few hundred above invoice much less a ridgeline"- i corrected him on that one. thank you utvnut!) i also asked them if they were going to participate in the special promo rates for memorial day. the guy said it was news to him. I went home and used edmunds for internet quotes and the only guy that replied was the salesman from that dealership. he's slightly familiar with me since he's seen me sniffing around the RLs every so often for the past few months and he learned i had been around asking about the truck. he said they only got the notification about the rates the day after i had come around.(again the power of bulletin boards, we learn about some things faster than the dealership). his first offer was immediately $500 above invoice. i think this was partly because of the prior conversation regarding holdback and that they sensed i was seriously buying. they probably needed numbers too being end of the month. from there each step was negotiated separately i.e options and trade in.(I got prices form H&A as reference and used KBB for the trade in). this was were i was subjected to the classic "let me talk to them about it ". i was prepared to walk away at each stage if there was a problem. i was also considering walking away if they didn't give me the special rates since i knew i should qualify. they came through except for a mistake regarding destination charges.
 

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Congratulations! Your synopsis is well written and informative. I did not know Costco would be so competitive. I’ve done the same research and presented the same evidence with decent luck here and am very close to pulling the trigger. Are you happy you made the purchase? Are you enjoying driving your new Ridgeline? Any other add-ons planned?
 

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Way to go, Lifesaver1. You made a great deal and others will benefit from your write up. We paid significantly more, but I don't regret it. We've had our truck a month now, so she's got some break in miles on her and we're ready for summer fun with our hitch installed.

Have a blast in your new ride and be ready for getting some attention in the places you travel.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
In answer to RangerAv8r, first, it is evident that others have been able to negotiate an even better deal of invoice plus $500. That may be due to regional variations or simply better negotiating skills than mine. Don't know. My ultimate cost is a bit fuzzy due to the trade-in, but I'm quite satisfied.

As for add-ons, I purchased the cargo net, which has proven extremely useful. I've hauled several large loads of tree trimming items to the dump with it and I'm amazed at how sturdy it is. It also has a simple storage system if you want to leave it in the back. It could be stolen that way, of course, but it's not that expensive and I can't picture too many people wanting to steal something like this.

I purchased a bed extender, but I'm going to send it back. I had one in my Ford Ranger, but on balance it doesn't seem useful for the Ridgeline. It obstructs the trunk and I can use the cargo net more easily.

The vehicle came with mud flaps, which I would highly recommend. I will also likely get a trailer hitch.

In addition to these items, I got a rubber tray for under the back seat to protect the carpet and a net bag for the trunk to put tools and whatever in.

I have considered the roof rack, but for my purposes, it seems unecessary, will certainly cut down on gas mileage, and will inevitably create some wind noise, however slight. It's interesting to note that some who complain that gas mileage is less than expected have tricked out their truck.

I personally have no interest in or use for fog lights, but there does seem to be value in the backup sensors or camera. There is a big rear view void with this truck. I have mastered parallel parking in the couple of weeks I've had it, but backing up in other areas, with kids running around or whatever, would seem a concern.

The bottom line suggestion I have on all the neat add ons that are available is this: The truck itself is so well laid out that items you might have wished for in any other truck may be totally unecessary in this one. Drive it for awhile with nothing other than what you really need and then see if you have real use for items like the bed extender, especially considering the trade-offs.

This is an amazing vehicle. Until now, I considered driving all about getting from one place to another. Now I'm happier when the trip is longer!
 

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Great deals and a lot of good info for anyone looking to buy !!! ALSO .. Today is the 31st, you may find a hungry dealer out there today that may bend a little more than normal to make quota !!!

Good Luck !
 

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I purchased my car in New Jersey 2 weeks ago. RTL with Sunroof. I paid Invoice. The Costco program here was $500 over invoice. The dealer was very quick to sell me the auto at invoice and in fact another dealer I went to was also willing to sell at invoice.

I just told them what I was willing to pay and they could take it or leave it, that I was buying a Ridgeline at invoice and it was just a matter of where. I ended up buying it through the internet salesman. After the deal was done, I told them about the trade-in. I got more for that then I expected. Have fun. Love the truck...
 

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I'm still rather embarresed what I paid 2 months ago; actually I'm not even going to look again.

The advice y'all gave is great and I'm impressed. I can only add, stay physically away from the truck and dealer as long as possible. I fell in love with the truck and the sales guy played me like old, beat-up piano. He was pleasant about it though (and actually I didn't do that bad).

Still, I love it, and amortized over 10 years a few thousand won't matter (my last car purchase was 15 years ago). Money is not everything and if the worse thing you do is overspend on a car, you're doing quite well.

Also, don't bring anyone with you who's a free spender - unless you want them to talk you into buying. :eek:
 

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The market for this truck was completely different two months ago. No comparison.
 

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LIfesaver1:
Dang, that is a great lesson in buying. Thanks !

I am beginning to look around after just being beat off the line, in my 99 Ody, by a 2000 or so Pontiac Ventura - a friggin 180 hp GM6! Yes I've got the old 4spd and only 205 hp but I was running 93 octane good for 229 ft lbs torque (big difference in accel).
The Ody was moving slightly and would not shift to first, so torqued through to 60 mph. Great....not. Was clean match but I hate it when the steed mirrors the weak old guy driving it.
Time to invest in more ego.

Laters,
 

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I went into the dealer and offered 31,645 for a Ridgeline RTL S/R Navi Billet Silver / Gray. Found out what dealer paid for the truck then went in and offered this price. Salesman said he didn't think they would take the price but would try. Came back with 34,950 I just crossed it out and put down 31,950 gave it back and said this was it... salesman went into manager and it came back with 34,450. I crossed this out and put down 32,125 and told my salesman that if they didn't take the deal then I was out the door and going to walk period. He left and came back and said ok they would take the deal. The truck had mud flaps, pin strips, locking lugs that they installed and of course the 239.00 dealer prep on the price. Added the backup sensors that they wanted 699.00 to install... I told then I'd pay 499.00 for the sensors and no more period or I'd walk on the deal. They came back and took the deal. Also took the Honda Care Warrenty since this is a first year truck just in case I got took on this one... but hay I think I did well on everything else... Sticker price was 35,695 so getting it for 32,125 wasn't a bad thing and they do need to make some profit to stay in business.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
SilverRidge said:
... and they do need to make some profit to stay in business.
Firstly, good job! Second, I agree with everything you said except the above. the auto business is a supply and demand element of our economy, just like everything else. Don't forget that generous dealer holdback and don't forget the many who have paid close to MSRP. As well, if these cars are built as well as I expect they are, Honda will make money on your warranty and you can bet the dealer is making a good profit on it as well.

Bottom line though, congratulations on a good price and good negotiating.
 

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Just about to pull the trigger and would love some advice please...

OK. So I'm getting very close. The exact timing will depend on whether my son buys my Accord or I have to sell it to another private party yet to be identified.

I'm looking at the RTL with XM, no moonroof or Navi.

Edmunds says invoice is $29,877 + destination of $515. A total of $30,392 prior to these options, prices from HandA:

Front Grille: $214
Bed Extender $203
Running Boards $335
In bed trunk cargo net $35
Body Side protectors $395
Rear Splash Guards $47
Honda Tonneau Cover $1199, (this price from Honda) I'd prefer something that doesn't LEAK
Rear Underseat Storage system $106
Auto Day/Night mirro $208
Roof Rack $258

Total of options:$3000, not including installation.

Add the two up and the new total is $33,392

Here's my question; With the new hold back money, and the fact that the dealers are now selling at or near invoice, with installation of all of these optional things how close to this 33 and change number do you think I can get?

Also, of the above mentioned options, which would YOU drop first?

Thanks for all your help. I hope you are loving your Ridgelines and I hope to be joining you soon as a full fledged member, not just a wanna be!

Embo_9
 
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Re: Just about to pull the trigger and would love some advice please...

Embo_9 said:
OK. So I'm getting very close. The exact timing will depend on whether my son buys my Accord or I have to sell it to another private party yet to be identified.

I'm looking at the RTL with XM, no moonroof or Navi.

Edmunds says invoice is $29,877 + destination of $515. A total of $30,392 prior to these options, prices from HandA:

Front Grille: $214
Bed Extender $203
Running Boards $335
In bed trunk cargo net $35
Body Side protectors $395
Rear Splash Guards $47
Honda Tonneau Cover $1199, (this price from Honda) I'd prefer something that doesn't LEAK
Rear Underseat Storage system $106
Auto Day/Night mirro $208
Roof Rack $258

Total of options:$3000, not including installation.

Add the two up and the new total is $33,392

Here's my question; With the new hold back money, and the fact that the dealers are now selling at or near invoice, with installation of all of these optional things how close to this 33 and change number do you think I can get?

Also, of the above mentioned options, which would YOU drop first?

Thanks for all your help. I hope you are loving your Ridgelines and I hope to be joining you soon as a full fledged member, not just a wanna be!

Embo_9
Hi Embo.
Well...good luck. We'll be here for you.

First, my advice, make sure you really don't want the MoonRoof and Ivan. I didn't want them at first but they BOTH have paid for themselves over and over again. JMHO :D
Second, as far as options to drop, that of course is your choice, but I will tell you what I was going to do and what I did.

What I wanted!!

Bed Extender
Running Boards
Body Side protectors
Rear Splash Guards
Honda Tonneau Cover
Roof Rack

What I got!!

Bed Extender
Running Boards
Body Side protectors
Rear Splash Guards
Truck Dividers
Roof Rack
Hitch and Harness

I will wait for Honda or someone to make a locking cover that does not leak. I may be waiting but I am sure someone will come up with one in time.


Good Luck. Keep us posted.
 

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Thanks LadyRidge!

I appreciate your advice.

I find that I hardly ever use my moonroof on my passat except when it's exceptionally hot here in KC. I like having it, but I don't think I'd miss it. Do you like the truck divider? My wife thinks the roof rack is ugly, I really think it finishes it off.
 

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I can't believe I got that wrong. Thanks for the correction. I'll probably opt for XM and the moonroof. I don't like it when they pull apart the dash to change out radios etc. More rattles and things are likely to happen with the installation done away from the factory imho.
 
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Embo_9 said:
Thanks LadyRidge!

I appreciate your advice.

I find that I hardly ever use my moonroof on my passat except when it's exceptionally hot here in KC. I like having it, but I don't think I'd miss it. Do you like the truck divider? My wife thinks the roof rack is ugly, I really think it finishes it off.
I can't spell for yit!! :eek: TRUNK dividers. And I love them. Saves the stuff I carry around and groceries from being all over the place.
I agree with you, I think the roof rack sets it off. But, to each his own. Because we are in short supply of women members I won't say your wife is wrong, just opinionated. YOU GO GIRL!! :D
 

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Well don't stick too closely together with my wife. She keeps saying we should keep our '98 Accord. So she's seriously in need of counseling.

(She may be right, but I didn't write that here)

But at the same time, she's the one who really wanted a truck in the first place. If I didn't have a spine I'd be driving an Avalanche as we speak. Fortunately it wouldn't fit in my garage either unless I built a shed for my mower and other implements of destruction.

Of course one could argue that I should wait until model year two on the assumption that Honda will listen to most of those requests elsewhere on the site. But, darned if a new truck wouldn't be very helpful building my new deck and hauling stuff to tailgate in Iowa City.......
 
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Embo_9 said:
Well don't stick too closely together with my wife. She keeps saying we should keep our '98 Accord. So she's seriously in need of counseling.

(She may be right, but I didn't write that here)

But at the same time, she's the one who really wanted a truck in the first place. If I didn't have a spine I'd be driving an Avalanche as we speak. Fortunately it wouldn't fit in my garage either unless I built a shed for my mower and other implements of destruction.

Of course one could argue that I should wait until model year two on the assumption that Honda will listen to most of those requests elsewhere on the site. But, darned if a new truck wouldn't be very helpful building my new deck and hauling stuff to tailgate in Iowa City.......
Once she drives it and gets to know it, she'll love and then you'll have to buy one for her very own. We have a few 2 RL families on here. I think we may be one next spring. :eek:
 
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