Welcome to a blog that can save you real money.
Now in Alaska where I am from, one of the most popular cars on the road is the Subaru. I have personally owned 2 Subaru Impreza WRX STIs. These were great cars. All-wheel drive, turbocharged, an absolute blast to drive year round, snow, rain, or shine. The fact that Subaru's entire product line comes with full-time symmetrical all-wheel drive makes them even more appealing. This means that even the base model cars come with a very nice drive train that performs among the best all-wheel drive cars out there.
So how am I going to help you purchase a brand new Subaru from your local dealer, any where in the U.S.A. at invoice price without having to haggle or negotiate? Its simple, the Subaru V.I.P Program. This is the Subaru employee purchase program. But wait,....your not an employee of Subaru? not a problem. Subaru is a great company, low emissions cars, low waste factories, Subaru has been green and environmentally responsible long before it was the 'in' thing to be. As such they have extended their VIP (employee) purchase program to members of certain organizations. The organizations vary but generally they are non-profit, and most but not all have an environmental or recreational slant to them. You can find a full list of organizations here.
Now you just need to become a member of one of these organizations, so which one should you choose and how do you do it? Well some of these organizations have requirements but most are open to the public with the payment of a small fee, usually around $50-$100. This gives you the opportunity to support a great cause and get a good deal on a new car at the same time. I choose to support the IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association) it only cost me $50 and I saved thousands on my purchase. If your not sure what group to support IMBA maintains riding trails and does park and trail clean-up so its not a bad choice. You can read more about them here.
Now you've signed up.... so whats next? Well sadly this is the hardest part.....you have to wait 6 months. In order to take advantage of the program you need to have been a 'member in good standing' for the last 6 months. This is the only catch and it does require a bit of planning on your part, so if your thinking of purchasing a new car in the next year and you think you would like a Subaru, it would be a good idea to go ahead and sign up for this. If your more than a year out then signing up won't be as cost effective as you will need to pay an additional membership fee to the organization after the first year.
6 Months go by........so finally you are ready to purchase...what do you do now? Well you call your organization,...not Subaru....so if you signed up for IMBA (see above) you call them, the number is on their website and most likely in any recent e-mails you received from them. I had no wait time and was on the phone immediately. Next, tell them you want to take advantage of the Subaru program, they ask if you know what dealership you would like to purchase from, if you do, great, if not don't worry just give them your zip code and they will find one for you. Then you tell them what kind of car you are interested in. This is somewhat important, I would hope you have a good idea of what kind of car your interested in and if not feel free to go down to the dealership, however if you are going to use the VIP program you have to tell the salesperson right away. Its one of the rules that you have to let them know up front. If you'd rather do your research on the internet Nasioc.com and cars101.com are great resources for information on the latest and greatest Subaru.
After you tell them the model,they will fax off a form to the dealership and someone will give you a call. It can take up to several days but I had my call back in less than 10 minutes.
Now, if you were working with a salesperson, they probably won't be the one helping you. The rules are whoever grabs it off the fax machine (or if that particular dealership has something else in place), will help you. The phone call basically has the salesperson calling you telling you what they have, colors, options, etc. If they don't have one (unlikely) they will let you know and can probably direct you to another dealership, but they can't tell you they don't have one just to keep you away. The dealership doesn't really care in most cases that your using this program and is required by Subaru to sell you a car if they have one in stock. They will also tell you how much each one will cost. There is no negotiating, that is the price, and its a great price. You will generally save the most money on the most expensive cars and vice-versa on the lower priced models, so its good to think of it in terms of percentages.
Once you have picked out your car and decided you want to purchase it, the rest of the transaction goes just like a normal car purchase. If you have a trade in they can discuss that, setup financing, and sell you extra dealer installed equipment and services. This has nothing to do with the Subaru V.I.P. program and so you must take care. I will cover the pitfalls of trade-ins, dealer financing, and dealer extras, in another blog. But the short and sweet is sell your car privately, finance through your bank or credit union prior to going to the dealership, and decline any extras. If you followed all this the actual signing up for IMBA should have taken 5 minutes followed by a 6 month wait (lol) and then an additional 5 minutes talking to IMBA and getting prices from the salesperson.....10 minute Subaru at invoice, no haggling.
Last but not least, enjoy your new car and make all your Subaru friends jealous with how much you paid. A great Subaru enthusiast site is Nasioc, you can find alot of great information on your new car and even make some new friends.