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Car buying guide

142,582 new-car shoppers have used our game-changing,
3-step competitive bidding process to get the lowest price
possible, without walking into a single car store to haggle!

How To Buy or Lease a New Car The Only Smart Way
And Get The Best Price In The Market Every Time

  • With our empowering guide to buying or leasing a new car, you'll be in total control, conducting the process from your home or office among several dealers that you choose. We teach you exactly what to say and do, and when to do it. And unlike every other new-car info site, we'll be here to answer your questions by phone every step of the way. (e.g., If you're leasing, we'll go through the best-offer numbers with you before you sign the papers.)

    You Need The Whole Truth About The New-Car Business,
    And This Is The Only Website Where You'll Find It.

  • WARNING! Because we're opening your eyes to the truth they've all been hiding, our facts and action recommendations contradict EVERYTHING you're being told and encouraged to do by TrueCar, Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book, Cars.com, Consumer Reports and the other new-car info sites, which get all their revenue from the automakers and dealers they send you to.

  • For openers, no dealer wants you to understand this: Every new car is a commodity, the same vehicle with the same price structure at every dealership. In "the art of the deal," the winner is always the one with the leverage. And there's ZERO LEVERAGE in walking into a car store and haggling. You're playing an away game, and no one there is rooting for your team. That dealer's competitor isn't the other brands, it's the other dealers who sell his brand. And the winning leverage always comes from having several of them compete for your business. Here's an example:

  • A customer got 9 dealers to compete for a redesigned 2017 Honda CR-V without leaving his home or office and paid $1,090 below invoice. The eight other bids were $900 below, $510 below, $410 below, $180 below, and $300 over invoice, $460 over, $530 over and $930 over - a $2,020 spread from low to high! The winning Sales Manager said, "This is the only smart way to buy a car. But if everyone did it this way, we'd be out of business." (And that store may have been the next month's high bidder, depending on how it was doing then vs. its target.)

  • Question: What should we have told him was a "good price" for that car? Any number we mentioned would have been bone stupid. And that's true for any car you want.
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    "Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying,
    or else you say something true, and it will sound like it's from Neptune."

    - Noam Chomsky
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  • Why aren't those auto-info "old-boy clubs" (Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, TrueCar, cars.com, Consumer Reports, etc.) telling you this? Because they pocket $300 to $500 when you buy a car from dealers in their "networks" - money which comes from your pocket. They're in business to help dealers sell cars profitably, not to help you get the lowest price. If they told you the truth, they'd be out of business tomorrow. (Our customers almost always beat their prices, frequently by a lot. That's why over half of our orders come from previous customers and their referrals.)

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    No Auto-Info Site Can Serve Two Masters.
    He Serves Just One: You, The New-Car Buyer.
    James Bragg photo

  • Founder James Bragg, a Yale and Harvard Business School graduate, is a career-long change agent who has always challenged "conventional wisdom." With 20+ years and over 65,000 hours focused solely on this subject, he's the country's most knowledgeable new-car buyers' consumer advocate. And unlike every "old-boy club" source of new-car info and advice (including Consumer Reports), he's never taken a dime from dealers or automakers. As a result, he's become the sole source of the long-hidden truth about the dealer invoice price, dealer cash incentives and the only smart way to buy a new car in today's market.

    His Discovery That The Invoice Price Has Nothing To Do With
    Any Dealer Cost Shocked Consumer Reports Into Killing Its
    "New Car Price Service," a major cash cow Since 1983!

  • In November, 2012 he proved to that organization and four other auto-info biggies that "the dealer invoice price" has had no relationship to any vehicle's cost since 1994, invalidating the core assumption behind their "target price" advice. The effectiveness of that ancient, invoice-based negotiating approach is dead as a doornail.

  • Embarrassed by its two-decade failure to recognize that obvious fact, Consumer Reports dumped its legendary 'cash cow' New Car Price Service - the one they claimed would tell you "the dealer's true cost," which hasn't been true for 20+ years. Can there be any stronger evidence that the way to get the best price has changed forever?
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    "It is almost impossible to carry the torch of truth
    through a crowd without singeing somebody's beard."

    - George Christoph Lichtenberg

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    NEW-CAR SALES ARE ON A DOWNWARD TRAJECTORY,
    AND SEPTEMBER-NOVEMBER SALES AVERAGE 11%
    LOWER THAN THOSE IN THE MAY-AUGUST PEAK MONTHS.
    THAT MAKES FALL THE YEAR'S BEST SEASON TO GET A NEW CAR.

  • "The post-recession sales boom cycle is dead and buried. Sales were flat last year. The pent-up demand has been satisfied, and the industry will register only small sales gains, if any, for the next few years. That makes the market extremely competitive, with automakers spending more on incentives to "move the metal".

  • "Industry sales were DOWN 1.7% in the first nine months, 8 of 9 of which posted negative numbers vs. year-ago. That's the first such decrease since the financial crisis in 2009. These high-profile brands had disappointing 9-month performances: Acura:(-4.7%). BMW: (-4.3%). Ford: (-2.9%). Chevrolet:(-1.0%). Honda:(+0.8%). Hyundai:(-15.1%). Kia:(-6.9%). Jeep:(-12.0%). Lexus:(-7.0%). Volvo:(-2.7%). That overall performance is surely a harbinger of the rest of the year. And it puts you smack dab in the driver's seat.

  • "There's also been an ongoing multi-year nosedive in passenger car sales since 2008. (All other vehicles are classified as light trucks.) Cars accounted for 53% of sales that year, but had tumbled to just 39.3% by 2016, then tanked to 36.4% in the first 9 months of this year, when cars fell 11.1% and "trucks" gained 4.5%. (Wanna buy a passenger car?)

  • "Why am I the only one telling you these important facts? Because (a) my competitors aren't curious enough to dig them out and/or (b) if they revealed them, they'd jeopardize their entire revenue stream, which comes from dealers and automakers, not you.

  • "For over 20 years I've been on a mission to unearth and expose the long-hidden truth that the industry doesn't want you to know - a fact that demolishes all the "conventional wisdom" about how to buy a car on those popular auto-info websites. Isn't it time you stopped looking at the way to buy a new car through their rear-view mirrors?

  • "P.S. Will you visit me when I have to join the witness protection program?"

    JAMES BRAGG

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    HOW TO ORDER THE PACKAGE, AND WHEN AND HOW YOU'LL GET IT.

  • To place an order on our secure, encrypted order form, click on the "Ordering" link in the upper left column. If you'd prefer to place a phone order, or if you have questions that aren't answered on our web site, you may call our order desk at 1-562-433-8489 between 9:15AM and 4:00PM Pacific time, Monday through Friday. To see the vehicles for which we have pricing info, click on the "Auto Pricing" link in that column.

  • November is one of the best months this year to buy or lease. That's because it ends on a Thursday, with four "dead sales" weekdays. Dealers short of their monthly targets after that last weekend will be pricing much more aggressively than they did the previous week. That means NOW is the time to place an order, to have time to go through the meaty package and call us with questions.

  • Normal Delivery Timing: 99% of our customers request email delivery. WE PROCESS AND SEND ORDERS TUESDAY THROUGH FRIDAY. (My college student assistant who does that has all-day classes Monday this semester.) This is a "two-person "information boutique," and we get busier in November-December. We usually send email orders no later than the next business day. If we get swamped, it could take another day. (We're closed on national-holiday 3-day weekends.)

  • We'll be here (562-433-8489) to answer your questions and analyze your best lease offer weekdays between 9:15 AM and 4:00 PM Pacific time.

  • For a sneak peek at what you'll get for $44.95, scroll down to "What's In The Fighting Chance Package?"

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    The Dealer Invoice Price Has Become a Bloated Imposter That Has Had
    Nothing To Do With Any New Car's Real Cost For Over Twenty Years! And
    The Industry Moves It Further From Any Cost Year-After-Year-After-Year.

  • As noted above, Bragg proved it to senior execs of Consumer Reports, Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, Cars.com and TrueCar in a 11/27/12 USA TODAY Automotive Roundtable discussion of "whether online car shopping and information services are believable and are relevant in today's market." The centerpiece of that meeting was the "bombshell" exhibit that shocked them. To see it, Click here.

  • You could have heard a pin drop. Incredibly, no one was aware of a game-changing fact that had been in front of their noses for 17 years! It's their worst nightmare because it exposes their "pay what others paid" as terrible advice.

  • Bragg asked the Consumer Reports person, "Who's been running your New Car Price Service for the past 20 years, Rip Van Winkle?" He was not amused.

  • To read much of the USA TODAY "Don't Trust That Invoice Price" write-up on that meeting (in which Bragg was dubbed a "peppery contrarian"), click here.

  • To understand how laughable new-car pricing is today, check out the tiny percentage differences between the base invoice and retail/sticker prices for each brand: Acura/5%-7%. Audi/7%. BMW/6%. Buick/4%-5%. Cadillac/5%. Chevy/5%-7%. Dodge/3%-4%. Ford/1%-7%. Genesis/5%-7%. GMC/5%-7%. Honda/3%-9%. Hyundai/3%-7%. Infiniti/7%. Jeep/2%-5%. Kia/5%-7%. Lexus/5%-8%. Lincoln/4%-5%. Mazda/3%-5%. Mercedes/7%. Mitsubishi/2%-3%. Nissan/2%-7%. Ram/4%-9%. Subaru/5%-7%. Toyota/4%-9%. VW/4%-5%. Volvo/6%.

  • And that's if you pay the full sticker price! Who does that? The guy who thinks Taco Bell is a Mexican phone company.

  • Add the fact that dealerships have an overhead expense of 12% to 15% of revenue, and you'd have to be brain dead to believe the invoice price is in the same area code as any cost number.

  • The auto industry is having a good laugh at how gullible we are. It's even flipping us off now with pricing for the Chrysler Pacific Hybrid minivan: invoice 44,895, retail 44,995!

  • Yet all the info and advice on those big auto-info websites is based on our swallowing - hook, line and sinker - the preposterous notion that for decades, automakers have been telling everyone what their dealers pay for their cars. If that were true, dealers would go ballistic. But they don't, and they never did, even before the Internet arrived.

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    "Your responsibility as a person is to constantly update your positions on as many things as possible. If you don't contradict yourself regularly, you're not thinking."

    - Malcolm Gladwell

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  • The inside story of the discovery of that game-changing fact is told in our book, "Letting The Cat Out Of The Bag: How The Auto Industry 'Redesigned' The Dealer invoice Price When The Internet Arrived," available in paperback and Kindle format at Amazon. To read the back cover copy, Preface, Table of Contents and the first four chapters, click here. If you'd like a author-signed copy ($14.95 including postage), you can add that to your order for the Fighting Chance information package.

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    Here's Bragg's Take On Those Consumer Auto Pricing Sites

  • Those sites are: (a) pitching the range of what other clueless shoppers have paid as the "holy grail" of transaction prices, (b) using rebates (which everyone gets) and a comparison of their prices to the full sticker price (which almost no one pays) to inflate their claims of "savings" from using their services, and (c) sending you on a 'milk run' to a small number of dealers in their "networks," who relish the thought of selling you a car at those prices and reward those "conduit sites" handsomely with the advertising and/or "finder's fees" of $300 to $500 that comes out of your pocket.

  • Question: When you're thinking about getting a new car, are you sitting there saying, "Gee, I hope I get a price that's close to what everyone else is paying?"

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    "We don't get to choose what is true.
    We only get to choose what we do about it."

    - Kami Garcia

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    These Are The Facts About How Most Dealer Incentive Programs Work Today.
    (It's 2017, not 1994, and that world isn't flat anymore, it's round.)

  • 90% of the bucks spent on "dealer cash" are in multi-month programs based on total sales targets and issues like customers' ratings of their selling dealerships, NOT sales of specific vehicles. The rewards can be six-and seven-figure bonuses. Some are "stair-step" promotions, in which per-vehicle bonuses increase as dealers reach higher volume thresholds. And no one can tell you any dealership's target or performance level, or when these programs start and end.

  • So reaching month-end goals along the way is crucially important. There's a lot of seasonality in the business, and dealers can't go into the last month 15% behind where they should have been based on that seasonal pattern. That keeps steady sales pressure on, month after month. Dealers trailing their monthly targets near month-end will sell for much less, and that's likely to be different dealers each month.

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    WHAT'S IN THE FIGHTING CHANCE PACKAGE?

  • You'll have the only independent, unbiased source of truthful information and powerful negotiating advice on the Internet. We've been focused single-mindedly on this subject since before the Dead Sea got sick, and much of our knowledge has come from our customers' feedback.

  • You'll have us as your coaches as you go through the process. Got a question? Call us. Want to run the numbers before you sign a lease? Call us. There's no such thing as a "silly question" here.

  • In the package's "centerpiece," How The Phone+Email Attack Can Get You The Best Deal, Saving You Time, Money and Aggravation, you'll learn exactly what to do and say each step of the way as you conduct a competitive bidding process from your home or office. Ideally, you'll enlist 9 or 10 dealers that you choose to make price proposals, and you'll go with the winner. We also tell you the best day of each month to start the process.

  • You'll receive our signature "Big Picture" analysis of how the brand(s) and the specific vehicle(s) you're interested in have been doing in the market. Are sales up or down so far this year? Does the average dealer sell 2 per month or 22? This piece also reveals the current "holdback" information for brands that use it (several don't).

  • You'll get the complete current sticker/MSRP and dealer invoice pricing data for the vehicle(s) you're considering, covering all the trim levels and equipment packages. Here's a current list of model pricing available.

    You'll also get these insightful, fact-based articles by Mr. Bragg,
    most of them information no other auto-info site will tell you.
    (Focus only on those relevant to your purchase or lease.)

  • "How We Abandoned Our Inborn Common Sense About New-Car Pricing."

  • "How The Industry Has Turned The Invoice Price Into A Bloated Imposter
    By Continually Raising It By More Than The MSRP For Over Two Decades"

  • "How New-Car Dealers Make The Big Bucks (And How They Don't)"

  • "Today Incentives Often Differ From Market To Market. Here's How To Check The Offers Where You Are"

  • "The Two Big 'Fake News' Come-ons To Ignore"

  • "The Myth Of Vehicle-Specific Dealer Cash Incentives"

  • "The Crucial Financial Importance Of A Dealership's Customer Satisfaction Rating."

  • "Important Note On The Pricing Of Dealer-Installed Accessories"

  • "Can You Get The Vehicle Configuration You Want?"

  • "Things To Consider About Placing A Factory Order"

  • "Have You Chosen A Crashworthy Vehicle?"

  • "Thoughts On Buying A Demo Or Last Year's Leftover Model"

  • "Should You Buy An Extended Warranty?"

  • "Dealing With A Trade-In" (If you tell us you have one.)

  • "Leasing 101: The Straight Skinny" (If you tell us you're leasing or undecided.)

  • "Here's The Information We Need To Analyze Your 'Best-Offer' Lease Numbers With You." (If you tell us you're leasing or undecided.)

  • Our unique package includes all the information you need to negotiate the best price on for any one vehicle. Additional vehicles are $15 each. You may place an order here on a secure, encrypted order form at any time.

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    Special Message To Previous Customers

  • The Fighting Chance package is always changing to reflect new knowledge and the best ways to deal with the changing realities in the retail car business. Sometimes the changes are dramatic. For example, the method for getting competitive bids differs substantially from the arms-length/one-step "fax or email attack" process we recommended several years ago. At other times the changes are small, but represent worthwhile improvements. The suggested wording in the note you'll send dealers is fine-tuned often. The package you'd receive today will typically include several insightful changes compared to the one you ordered years ago.
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    The Cost Of This Unique Package?

    $44.95 (Includes all the information you need for any one vehicle.)

    Additional vehicles: $15.00 each. (More than half of our customers add one or more additional vehicles as "fall-back" alternatives. This could become a small, but wise $15.00 decision if you find it difficult to deal on your first choice.)

    Considering the substantial cost of the new vehicle you're about to buy or lease, isn't this a relatively small price to pay for the comprehensive Fighting Chance information package?

    Important Note: This is a service for NEW VEHICLES ONLY. We have no information on used vehicles. Also, we have NO CANADIAN PRICING DATA.

    Copyright © 2017 Fighting Chance

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