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Canada Price Guides
Unfortunately Canadians are not able to obtain free access to dealer cost or dealer invoice pricing like consumers in the United States. However, there are a number of companies listed below that will provide dealer cost information for a fee.
Getting information on used car values in Canada is also difficult. We've listed a few sites below that should help you.
Car Cost Canada (INVOICE PRICING)
Car Cost Canada offers Canadian invoice pricing under their own moniker - "Wholesale Invoice Price Reports". They have recently revamped their service and it now has some interesting additional features. The site itself has some great information for the car buyer and offers good research capability for free. The revamped site (Aug 2007) is much cleaner and easier to navigate and my earlier concerns about 'busyness' and clutter have been answered.
To get started use the Build & Price box in the top right hand area of the page. You'll be able to configure a vehicle with the options and accessories you're interested, see retail (MSRP) pricing and request a 'wholesale invoice price report' (invoice pricing - for which you will have to pay).
You can sort the cars you select by price or style and you also have the option from the home page of selecting one of twenty popular choices. Once you have selected a vehicle that you'd like invoice pricing information on you can get pricing information on all the 'styles' of that vehicle for the cost of one 'wholesale price report' (a 'style' is a different trim level within a particular model - for example the Acura CSX comes in a 4 door sedan with manual and automatic transmission and in 4 other 'flavours' - with such things as navigation packages or more expensive 6 speed transmission). Reports will include non-advertised factory incentive programs, dealer quotes (only available in specific manufacturer/location combinations - if you do not see a dealer listed when you reach the final page of the Build & Price process then there are no dealers providing quotes on this particular vehicle in your area) and will be updated if "factory prices, factory incentives, or dealer offers change".
A representative of Car Cost Canada contacted me to say that if you reach the final Build & Price page and no quote is listed you can always call them (toll free) to see if there is a dealer in your area who can provide a price.
The recent (Aug 2007) site revamp has either added in great features - live help, a forum - or they were always there and I could just never find them because of the clutter.
You can no longer compare vehicles to each other during the selection process (I guess this feature was dropped in the new update). You can't buy a single quote - your only option is to buy a 5 quote package for $39.95 plus taxes (although Alex S. from Winnipeg emailed to tell me that he managed to buy a single invoice price for $20 by calling the toll free number and asking for this service - give it a try if you just need a single invoice price).
Automobile Protection Association (INVOICE PRICING)
The Automobile Protection Association (APA) calls its invoice pricing service a membership quote. The quote does not include just invoice pricing but also "the APA negotiated mark up over incoice, incentives and a referral to a dealer or a broker who guarantees to sell or lease you the vehicle at the pre-negotiated price".
APA screens its dealers and promises that "you will receive superior service, straightforward and hassle-free". Their car costing information is reviewed by "a well informed APA counsellor who ensures the information provided is not only accurate but also applicable to your needs". A turn around time is given on the site.
There is no sample report on the site that would allow you to see what your report will include. You have to type in all your vehicle information (no drop down lists). There is no indication that you will be informed of updated information should things change (i.e. factory discounts, incentives etc). A single quote is expensive at $25 (which is only available to non-members) and does not include the special APA dealer price offer - members get 5 quotes annually for a $70 membership.
RoadCompanion.ca - Real Market Price (INVOICE PRICING)
RoadCompanion calls its invoice pricing service Real Market Price. To quote "RoadCompanion's Real Market Price is the price you should be paying for your next vehicle".
You can get a single quote for $29.95 ($24.95 for RoadCompanion members).
Unlike Car Cost Canada there is no discount program for multiple quotes nor are things like factory incentives included (at least not on the example that is on RoadCompanion's site). The report is a PDF and there is no indication that if things change your report will be updated (as there is with Car Cost Canada) and there is no preferred pricing information (from participating dealerships) included with the Real Market Price report.
Canadian Black Book (USED CAR VALUATION)
Other than paying a small fortune for access to the Canadian Red Book (or sneaking access through someone in the industry) or dealing with the unreliable folks at CarQuotes.ca this is the only way I know of to get used car pricing. And it's free. However, as might be expected, you get what you pay for (in other words not much). You can get the basic value of your used car but not much else.
Free and easy to use.
Doesn't allow you to specify things like colour or your location (which I understand affects a car's value).
- Get a value on your vehicle
Click on the Canadian Black Book Web tool link and then on the Visit the Black Book Site link. Type in the security code displayed and click on Next. Select your year, make, model, series and body style. Agree to the disclaimer. Enter the current mileage of the vehicle and click on any additional features that your vehicle has (i.e. alloy wheels) and click on Next. And Next again (whew!). Finally view the report.
Canadian Car Prices: Canadian New & Used Car Prices (INVOICE PRICING)
I have included CarQuotes.ca on this page but cannot in all honesty recommend that you use their service. Over the past 3 years (since 2004) I have received many complaints about this site. Over 40 people have emailed me to say that they have paid for a report online and never received it (or have received it and it has been inaccurate).
The site itself indicates that CarQuotes.ca is located in Ontario but they are in fact now located in Newfoundland. They have an "unsatisfactory record" with the BBB in Newfoundland with unanswered complaints.
Bottom line is that although they offer relatively inexpensive single quotes and what seems like an attractive service many people have been very dissatisfied. Buyer beware!