I recently wrote an article about parking overnight at Costco which brought up a question about buying an RV through Costco. I wasn’t even aware that you could buy an RV through Costco. I’ve never seen any RV’s for sale in their parking lots.
Well, it turns out that Costco doesn’t actually sell RVs. They have a separate company called The Costco Auto Program which works through local dealers around the country who agree to sell RVs at pre-negotiated prices to Costco Members. Costco Auto Program also sells new cars, used cars, and sports vehicles this way through their network of local dealers too.
So, what is the average discount when buying an RV through Costco? According to Costco members who have used the RV Buying Program they report an average savings of 22 to 25% off retail.
Many buyers say they like the fact that they don’t have to haggle or negotiate to get their discount. And some have been able to have the Costco Auto Program’s Member Advocacy Group assist them with their purchase making the sales process smooth and enjoyable.
Why Buy an RV Through Costco?
Some members who have bought cars and RVs through The Costco Auto Program say that they felt they received a very fair price for the vehicle. Many also report that the buying process was less stressful because there is no negotiation in the sales process. The Costco Auto Program also offers some distinct advantages to its members.
- Prices are pre-negotiated with the dealer so there is no negotiating
- Dealers have specially trained salespeople familiar with the program on hand to work with Cosco members
- The Member Only Price Sheet makes pricing transparent and easy to understand
- Costco Member Advocates are available to assist before, during, and after the purchase of the RV.
How Does the RV Buying Program Work?
Local Dealers must meet certain standards imposed by the Costco Auto Program which basically means that they have salespeople available who have received training on how the auto program works. This helps to ensure that members receive fast, reliable customer service through the RV Buying experience. The Program is a three-step process to buy a new RV.
1. Find a Local Dealer
The process starts by going to the Costco Auto Buying website and inputting the type of RV you are interested in and then entering your zip code. Then you will receive the authorized local RV dealer’s information so you can contact them for an appointment. Your info is also given to the dealer so they can contact you, as well.
2. Visit the Dealer and Look at RVs
Once you arrange an appointment with the dealer you go to the RV dealership and begin the process of looking at RVs. You will need to bring your Costco membership card with you for the appointment so don’t forget that. This is the fun part so have fun and check out all of your options.
3. See Your Savings and Decide on Your Purchase
After you have narrowed down the RV that you like you will see your Member Only Price Sheet for that RV which shows you the special pre-negotiated price for Costco members. You can then decide to purchase your RV or shop around. In addition to your member price, you are also eligible to receive any applicable manufacturer rebates, incentives or special financing.
How Are the Prices Determined?
Cosco has over 90 million members so it uses its enormous buying power to offer participating RV dealerships a large audience of buyers in exchange for discounted RV prices. Costco does the same exact thing with all of its products and services such as travel, pharmacy, grocery, optical, rental cars and much more.
How Much of a Savings Can I Expect?
Many members who have used the Costco Auto Program for purchasing an RV report saving an average of 22 to 25%. These savings were realized without going through the long and drawn out negotiation process. So in addition to saving money, they also report saving time and stress.
Some members have reported that a dealership will occasionally have a price advertised on the internet, known as an “Internet Sales Price”, that is lower than the Costco Auto Program price. This does happen from time to time but “Internet Sales Prices” are good for one RV only and are used to draw customers in by using what is called a “Loss Leader Price”. The loss leader attracts many buyers to the dealership where they typically buy another model for more money. Many auto and RV dealerships use this tactic.
What Do Others Say Who Have Used the RV Buying Program?
Here are what actual Costco members said about their buying experiences.
“I’m not a savvy negotiator, but I was shooting for around 25% off MSRP. I think that’s it’s easier to get 30% off a $250K coach than 30% off a $125K coach. One of my friends who once was in the RV business told me that there was a minimum profit amount they required for each sale, so on a low cost unit, one might only be able to get 15% off, and on a real expensive unit, one might be able to get 35% or more off. I custom ordered the MH with the tan leather from the Itasca line and also the darker flooring from one of the other decor options”. dezrtracr – Winnie Owners Forum
“22% is about right. We used the Costco program and were very pleased with Roy Robinson Motorhomes. The sales person we dealt with there has moved up to the Camping World in Burlington. My suggestion is to get the price from Camping World then go to Roy Robinson and ask them to make you a better deal. The service department there is top notch (IMHO), and I have no info on Camping World service”. chabago – Winnie Owners Forum
There are many other reviews from people who have purchased cars through the auto buying program and the reviews are mixed as you might expect. Most people who take the time to write a review have had a bad experience so take them with a grain of salt. But look for consistent themes when reading through the reviews.
There are two themes that stand out after pouring through reviews of the program and they are:
- Very few people mention calling the Costco Auto Program’s Member Advocacy Group for help. They are there to help you through the process if you have any questions or problems.
- Each dealership is different. If you are not happy with your salesperson, ask the manager to work with someone else or contact the Costco Advocate and ask to work with another dealer.
To reach an Advocate, call 1-800-556-4730, Monday – Friday, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., PT. Or visit Talk to Us to leave a comment.
1. What Kind of RV is Best For Me?
There are two main types of RVs. The kind you drive and the kind you tow behind you. They each have their advantages and disadvantages. I wrote a couple of articles on this topic which can help you to decide which is best for you. The first is called What Are RV Classes? – All Types and Styles Explained. In this article, I cover every single type of RV from drivable to towable to truck campers to school bus conversions. By the time you finish reading the article, you will at least understand what all of your options are.
The second article you should check out is called Class C RV vs 5th Wheel – Which is Better and Why? In this article, I deep dive into the differences between a Class C RV ( which you drive) and a 5th wheel RV (which you tow behind you). After reading this article you should be able to nail down which is best for you.
2. Should I Rent or Buy an RV?
If you have never camped in an RV before I highly encourage you to rent an RV before purchasing one. We rented an RV before we purchased one and we learned so much about what we liked and didn’t like about the RV that it helped us to make a much more informed purchasing decision. And we bought the perfect RV for us! Outdoorsy is a great place to find all types of RV rentals all over the country.
Have you used the Costco Auto Program to purchase an RV? Please leave your comments below!
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