Car Dealerships Threatened: Member-Only Costco Now Sells Cars…What?

Costco members fill up on discounted gas at Costco store in Carlsbad, Calif.


*Uh-oh. Some of us knew that if we traveled far enough, we could get gas up to twenty cents cheaper per gallon at Costco, but did you know you could even buy a car there?

Neither did a lot of us.

Now car dealerships have a reason to be ‘skerr’d.’ Costco is about to blow many of them out of the water as it becomes a huge force in the auto world.

The members-only retailer sold 400,000 vehicles in 2014, and twice as many in 2008, Bloomberg Business reports.

Wait! In 2008? Why did we not know this?

“Without fanfare, the membership-only merchant better known for selling flatscreen TVs and jumbo-size boxes of cereal has pulled within spitting distance of No. 1. car retailer AutoNation, which sold 533,000 vehicles last year,” according to Bloomberg.

It’s the fixed prices that keeps Costco customers coming to them as opposed to going to the traditional car dealerships; where notorious haggling and upselling is the norm. As this is especially good for female buyers (they see us coming!). Many buyers told Bloomberg they have less anxiety during the process now.

An example of the deals Costco offers is for the popular 2015 Toyota Highlander, which they sell for $4,000 below the recommended manufacturers’ price. The warehouse works with an auto-buying service to negotiate the lowest prices.

Costco has a huge advantage over traditional car dealerships: It doesn’t need to make money from the cars it sells. 

Because of other income streams including membership fees, groceries, gas, and apparel, Costco can afford to sell its cars for lower prices than competitors can. 

The car purchase benefit alone could bring new customers into the membership-only warehouse.


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