By Steve Fisher
WHEN COSTCO STARTED the Costco Auto
Program in 1989, the goal was simple: make car-buy-
ing a more seamless, pleasant (no haggling or “wait
here while I talk to my manager”) and cost-effective
experience. It worked. In the past five years alone, the
program has helped Costco members purchase more
than 1 million vehicles, 350,000 of those last year.
Costco Services manager Dan Martinez says, “On
average, members save $1,000 off the typical transac-
tion price. And if you’re not looking for a new car, you
can still receive 15 percent off parts and services.”
But members have the real evidence of how the
Costco member John Fowler of Illinois was
helping his daughter find a car. She was determined
to get a hybrid and had set her sights on a Ford.
“The first thing I did was go out on [Costco.
com] and I explored it,” Fowler explains. “It had the
ability to display the retail price for the cost and then
the manufacturer’s suggested list price. So when I
walked into the dealer and we actually did the deal
and he was checking off the different options my
daughter was ordering, the prices were tied exactly.
There were no surprises.”
California Costco member Barbara Chung first
used the Costco Auto Program in 2011. She was
shopping for a Toyota Prius and had first contacted
the service before the tsunami hit Japan in March of
that year. When she was ready to buy, the events in
Japan had affected the Toyota plant, reducing pro-
duction, not to mention pricing on existing stock.
“Everybody was asking for sticker price or
more,” recalls Barbara. “Costco was still honoring
Cover your car
Costco Auto Program saves
money on cars, parts and services
the invoice price and the discount on top of that.
It was the best deal by far.”
Fowler and Chung also took advantage of the
parts and services discount. Fowler needed front-
end work on another car. He didn’t know about the
discount until he stumbled on the coupon on the
Costco Auto Program website.
“[It] saved me over $100 on the cost of the
repair,” he says. Fowler added he plans to use it again
on his next repair.
Chung learned about the coupon from the
emails she had signed up for from Costco. “I had to
get servicing for my car. I went down with the coupon to my local dealership and probably saved $60
to $80 each time,” she says.
For Fowler, who talks about previous unpleasant
car-buying experiences, the only odd aspect of going
through the Costco Auto Program was not having
that bad feeling when he emerged from the dealer.
“Having the ability to call you guys [if any hiccups occur], knowing that that support is there, is a
great feeling,” he says.
Fowler says he would use the program again “in
a heartbeat, and I would recommend it to anybody.”
Chung has already recommended the program.
“I had a friend who bought a Mini through the program,” she says. “She said it was the easiest thing ever.”
The Costco Auto Program also offers great
deals on boats and powersports vehicles, as well as
pre-owned vehicles. For more information, go to
Costco.com and search “CAP12” or call 1-800-800-
9288. Chung says, “It’s a great, interactive website. I
think it’s very informative for smart consumers.” C
WHETHER YOU’RE buying
a car or looking for insurance
for your existing car, you can
get a quote from Costco’s
exclusive auto insurance
provider, Ameriprise Auto &
Home Insurance. The partnership has endured for
more than 13 years, currently insuring more than
300,000 Costco members,
with lots of discounts available, including:
• Exclusive Costco
• Safe-driving auto-safety discounts
• Loyalty discounts
• Tenure discounts
Costco members report
saving an average of $528.87
on auto insurance in the first
year when they switched to
Ameriprise Auto & Home
Executive members may
receive additional benefits,
including 24-hour roadside
assistance and lifetime
To learn more or to get a
quote, call 1-888-404-5365 or
visit Costco.com and search
*Savings data represent information provided by Costco
members who became new
auto insurance policyholders
and reported their first-year
savings with Ameriprise Auto
& Home Insurance between
July 1, 2013, and December 31,
2013. Individual savings and
experience may vary based
upon a variety of factors,
including, but not limited to,
driving experience and type
of automobile insured.