Edmunds Answers



  • Stever@Edmunds 01/06/10 1:30 am PST

    Dealers will add legit and junk fees as much as they can. Some of the fees are just profit.

    Everything is negotiable, but instead of haggling over every line item, use TMV to figure out what you want to pay for your car (including taxes and whatever you have to pay your local DMV). Then negotiate an Out the Door price. That way you're just haggling over one number and you'll have fewer surprises when you get ready to pay.


  • jb_turner 01/06/10 7:35 pm PST

    Pay OTD.

  • abster 01/09/10 3:19 pm PST

    Don't listen to the last two replies. Those are absolutely the wrong way to look at how you should pay fees or negotiate dealer documentation fees.

    Dealer fees include, Taxes, license, registration, smog, and documentation fees. In almost all states, taxes are collected from the customer and then given back to the government. The dealer only acts as a middle man for that process and gains nothing out of it. License & registration fees are based on a percentage of what the Department of Motor Vehicles for your state calculates. Depending on what state you live in, smog fees are collected from the consumer, because smogs must be completed as the process of registering a vehicle to a new buyer.

    The only fees of these that were stated that could possibly be negotiable are the documentation fees. These are collected by the dealer to pay for all the forms and paperwork associated in purchasing a vehicle. California has a cap of $55 for this charge. Considering the amount when negotiating the price of a vehicle, that fee of $55 is negligible.

  • Stever@Edmunds 01/09/10 6:10 pm PST

    Oh don't be silly. Any salesperson worth their salt can figure out what the taxes are going to be on a car sale, and they should know to the penny the license fees, smog fees, and whatever else the state or local jurisdiction requires to get the car registered. All they have to do if figure out what the car should sell for and then grab their calculator and plug the other fees in. It shouldn't take more than a few minutes to figure - just do it in Excel and you can have a nice print out for the customer showing what the bottom line is.

    But always get to your OTD price. Then you'll know exactly how much that new or used car is going to cost you. And again, you only have one number to negotiate that way - saves a lot of confusion.

    I wish all states would cap their doc fees. $50 is about right.

    You must work for a dealer. :-)

  • abster 01/10/10 12:41 am PST

    I do work for a dealer. Figuring the license fees without using a vehicle report from the DMV has always come out wrong. The reason is because you never know what hidden fees the DMV is going to charge. Some dealers pay for a service that gives them the report from the DMV that will show the exact license and registration fees, so they can include them in the out the door price. However, no salesman can just use a calculator and tell you the EXACT fees, only estimates. In California, the estimate is 10% of the price of the car.

  • Stever@Edmunds 01/10/10 1:14 am PST

    It's not rocket science.

    The State of California even has a handy dandy Vehicle Registration Fee Calculator on their web site so anyone can plug the info in themselves.

    Any city or county fees should be easily figured too.

    The only reason that I can think of not to disclose the final purchase price to a customer on the showroom floor is to obfuscate the price so the price or payment can get packed in the rip-off room.

    Every buy a house? There are all sorts of disclosures and protections built into the closing to protect the buyer - it's getting where it takes a couple of hours to go through the paperwork. Still, that's better than getting to the F&I office still not knowing how much the car you want to buy costs (and that car is likely the second largest purchase you'll make after your house). Then the "menu" comes out with the mop & glow, etching and other add-ons.

    Tell us what the OTD price is and quit trying to hide the ball please.

  • raymac 09/21/12 5:52 am PST

    Listen to Steve.

    Google it and you'll see he's right about the CA state sales tax and fees. I just printed mine out just to figure my OTD price.

    Edmunds TMV price is right on. Also, check out carbuyingtips.com and see how the details of how the dealers make their money.


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