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Volkswagen’s extensive lineup returns for 2014, with expanded diesel efficiency and great build quality.
Batting leadoff for Volkswagen is the Golf and its high performance sibling, the GTI. The Golf and GTI are only available as four-door hatchbacks in 2014, with the same distinctive shape that hasn’t really changed over the years. The Golf offers several different engine choices, including an ultra-efficient diesel engine that Volkswagen offers up and down its lineup, which pushes highway mpg all the way to 42. The performance oriented GTI adds a few unique styling cues and under the hood is a 200-hp, turbocharged four-cylinder.
The Beetle returned in 2012, added a convertible trim for 2013, and for 2014 adds a GSR special edition. This latest iteration of the Beetle has sharper lines and a flattened front hood which gives it a more aggressive look. There is room for four-passengers and diesel power is optional.
The Jetta returns along with the high performance GLI trim. There are now three versions of the Jetta for sale: Jetta, Jetta Sportwagen, and the efficient Jetta Hybrid. This compact boasts impressive flexibility thanks to its variety of powertrain choices, including a turbo-diesel and the aforementioned hybrid.
The midsize Passat, like the Beetle, took a year off recently to regroup and returned with new styling and a lowered base price.
Volkswagen also produces another pair of passenger cars that are more upscale and don’t really fit into traditional categories. One is the Eos hardtop convertible coupe which is great for cruising on sunny days. Second is the CC which features a coupe-like design but still has four doors. Its upscale interior and sporty ride give the CC a unique niche in the marketplace.
The Tiguan compact crossover SUV carries over, offering plenty of high-quality materials around which give the tiger/iguana (combine the two words to get the name Tiguan) a leg up on the competition when it comes to interior refinement.
Lastly, the larger Touareg is designed to compete with many of the luxury crossover SUVs on the market and offers a choice between gas/diesel power, an eight-speed automatic, and standard all-wheel drive.
Zero percent financing, employee discount, cash back, out-the-door price tags...
Most dealers work hard to offer the public competitive prices. These incentives can grab your attention, but they can also obscure the actual terms you're getting on your purchase.
How can you fully understand incentives to get the lowest possible price on your car?
Most state franchise laws prohibit manufacturers from selling cars directly to the public, so the dealer will be your middleman. But in terms of financing and insurance, you can choose a bank or the dealer directly.
How can you determine what's in your best interest?
Destination charges, taxes, license and title fees, advertising fees... When going to a dealership, you must ask for an explanation of any fee you don't understand. But you need to choose your battles wisely. Your local car dealer may have taken a loss or slim profit along the way, and your fighting over something like a doc fee when the deal is nearly wrapped up may be counterproductive.
In any case, there are many fees and charges in the sale process: some inevitable, others questionable.
How do you tell them apart?
If you currently own a car, it probably represents profit. The question is, whose profit will it be?
With few exceptions, you'll get the most money for your used car by selling it privately. That's because dealers pay wholesale prices — not retail prices — for used cars, and they sell them at retail.
Your current car's value can be used to lower the price on your new car. However, most people underestimate their used car's value when going to a dealership.
How can you maximize your value?
The car manufacturer holds back a fraction of the price of all vehicles the dealership sells. Then, it returns the money to the dealership, usually on a quarterly basis.
Dealer holdback began its life as a safety net that ensured the manufacturers would have a security deposit of sorts if a dealership missed payments, and the dealerships would have money on hand to cover overhead costs when the holdback was returned.
How can you take advantage of dealer holdbacks to get the bottom line price?
Unlike consumer incentives, dealer incentives are factory-to-dealer incentives that reduce the dealer's true cost to buy the vehicle from the factory to below invoice.
Manufacturers offer these incentives on a regional basis to generate sales on specific models. These incentives are sometimes referred to as "spiffs," and they can touch off competition among dealers to move slower-selling stock.
For instance, a dealer incentive may kick in when a certain sales target is reached, with each subsequent sale resulting in a higher factory-to-dealer rebate.
How can you benefit from that?
We use your ZIP code to find accredited dealers in your area who will quote you their best internet price.