inside costco Engine of progress
Costco Auto Program drives
home the bargains
By T. Foster Jones
YOU’VE PROBABLY NOTICED the new
car parked near the entrance of your local
Costco and thought, “Wow, Costco even sells
cars at the warehouse.”
Not exactly. The vehicles on display are
actually a reminder of another valuable ser-
vice that’s been available to Costco members
since 1989: the Costco Auto Program (CAP).
CAP has hand-selected a nationwide net-
work of dealerships that provide Costco
members with outstanding value and service
on their vehicle purchases.
As a result of the program’s success, CAP
has expanded by offering similar values on
factory-certified pre-owned cars; discounts
on parts, service and accessories at participating dealerships (regardless of whether one has
purchased a car through CAP); and the occasional special promotion by specific manufacturers, such as Volvo, Chevrolet and GMC.
Here’s a closer look.
Through a simple process (see sidebar),
Costco members can find the car they’re
looking for at a low, hassle-free, prearranged
price. Relationships have been established
with auto dealerships across the country to
provide members with this valuable benefit,
and more than 1 million cars have been purchased by Costco members through the program in the past five years.
“It is one of the most successful programs
in the industry,” says John Gleason, Costco
Services manager. “Costco members receive
low, prearranged Costco member pricing—
the best in class and the best in market for
most makes and models.”
In 2008, CAP added factory-certified
pre-owned (CPO) vehicles to the program.
These vehicles must pass rigorous diagnostic
testing on all major mechanical systems and
exceed factory standards for mileage and
physical condition before receiving a factory
certification and warranty.
“CPO vehicles receive a more thorough
inspection than the non-certified used vehicles and pass inspections at an average of
about 150 to 160 points,” says John. “Buying a
CPO vehicle is an excellent way to get a reliable car at a great value.”
Discount on parts, service, more
Costco has negotiated a 15 percent discount on parts, service and accessories for its
members at participating auto dealerships.
More than 1,200 dealerships are currently
signed up, and John says they expect to sign
up the majority of the program’s 2,400 participating dealerships by the end of 2012.
“Members can receive the 15 percent dis-
count regardless of whether or not they have
purchased a vehicle through our program,”
says John. “The offer is good on any car
owned by a Costco member. It’s an ongoing
discount and applies every time the member
visits a participating dealer for service.”
Visit www.costcoauto.com to get more
information on the parts, service and accesso-
ries discount; find participating locations in
your area; and print the coupon. Call the par-
ticipating dealer to set up an appointment and
get an estimate for the service you require.
Present the coupon and your Costco member-
ship card to the parts or service employee at
the time you authorize the service.
The Costco Auto Program periodically
partners with vehicle manufacturers to offer
special promotions to Costco members.
“Vehicle promotions are an exciting opportu-
nity to provide Costco members
with a great value on the purchase
of a new vehicle and give us a
chance to increase awareness on
the benefits of the Costco Auto
Program,” says John.
“YOU CAN’T JUST walk into a dealership,
tell them that you are a Costco member
and expect to get the Costco member-only
price,” says John Gleason, manager for
CAP. “The only way to make sure you get
to the right dealer and meet with the cer-
tified contact so you receive the benefits
of the Costco Auto Program is to start by
contacting CAP first.”
Using the Costco Auto Program is
remarkably easy if members remember to
start at www.costcoauto.com, or to call
On the website, you can find which
participating dealers are in your area and
call to make an appointment with an
authorized contact who has been trained
and certified to manage the program.
CAP: Follow this route
A participation fee has been paid by the participating
dealers. Costco and its affiliates do not sell automobiles
or negotiate individual transactions.