You should be able to get a better deal yourself, using the info in the Guide. Sometimes I compete with these services for a client’s business. I’ve noticed that I beat these services about 70 percent of the time, as I can save money on parts of the deal (trade-in, financing or leasing) that they’re either not well versed in or unwilling to tackle.
Also, they only contract with certain dealers, and often other dealers are unwilling to trade inventory with them when the vehicle in question is in high demand, limiting a consumer’s selection—which is getting more common these days, because of lower overall inventory levels. And you’ll still end up dealing with some type of salesperson at the dealer.
If you have no trade-in and have already secured financing, buying services can be a great way to save on a new car. One nice thing about these services is that you can leverage the price quotes they give to use at other dealers. But with the exception of CPO [link] vehicles, they don’t handle used cars, and they won’t insure you’re getting the most for your trade-in. As a broker, most of my new car contacts are in the fleet departments of franchised dealers.
These started out handling big orders of multiple vehicles for larger companies; over the years many have begun to work with brokers such as myself. Fleet deals are usually lower margin than retail, but the volume they create (a good fleet manager sells 25-40 cars a month) gets the dealer sales bonuses and more inventory allocated from the factory.
Not all fleet departments will work with the general public, but many will. An Internet search and a few phone calls will determine which dealers might have ones that will work with regular consumers.