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#1
Old 02-10-2013, 10:53 AM
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how much should it cost for a dealer to ship a car?

I hate buying a new car; I always feel like I'm playing poker against a card shark.

A dealer has located the car I want. It's at a dealer somewhere on the east coast, and so it would need to be shipped to my local dealer in Michigan. Said local dealer is claiming the cost to get the car here on a truck would be $800-$1000.

Is this a reasonable cost, or is he trying to pad his asking price?
#2
Old 02-10-2013, 11:01 AM
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Anecdotal experience, but when a co-worker bought a car on eBay, she had it shipped from the Pacific Northwest to the Deep South (tm) and it cost her around $1,000.

I would've thought a dealer might have some kind of "frequent flyer" rate or something to get him a discount, but I wouldn't think $800 is really unreasonable.
#3
Old 02-10-2013, 11:17 AM
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I was going to say that sounded a little bit high, but then I realize it's been 10 years since I have a car shipped. That was from Palm Springs to Seattle, and that cost me about $600 in an enclosed carrier, as I recall.
#4
Old 02-10-2013, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by feppytweed View Post
Anecdotal experience, but when a co-worker bought a car on eBay, she had it shipped from the Pacific Northwest to the Deep South (tm) and it cost her around $1,000.

I would've thought a dealer might have some kind of "frequent flyer" rate or something to get him a discount, but I wouldn't think $800 is really unreasonable.
Also, for every dollar the dealer lays out, they're going to mark it up before they charge you. So, it might cost them $550, but they charge you $800. If you look at the sticker on any new car, I believe this is the 'destination charge' you see listed. Of course, for this particular car, you'll be paying that twice. Once to get it to the first dealer and a second time to get it to your dealer.
#5
Old 02-10-2013, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
Of course, for this particular car, you'll be paying that twice. Once to get it to the first dealer and a second time to get it to your dealer.
That's kinda what I figured. I expect to see an original destination charge, and then a transport charge (subject of this thread) on top of that.
#6
Old 02-10-2013, 11:36 AM
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That is about right. I used to have to ship cars here and there at times when I worked for the car company.
Shipping one car is spendy.
If the dealer is marking it up, they aren't marking it up much.
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#7
Old 02-10-2013, 11:38 AM
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Have you done your own searches for the car within, say, 300 miles (reasonable drive-home distance)? Many dealers have their inventory online and there are search tools that will find exact combinations.
#8
Old 02-10-2013, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by NitroPress View Post
Have you done your own searches for the car within, say, 300 miles (reasonable drive-home distance)? Many dealers have their inventory online and there are search tools that will find exact combinations.
Two different dealers have confirmed that for the car I want - exterior color, interior color, manual transmission - there is only one left in the entire country, and the manufacturer won't be making any more of them.
#9
Old 02-10-2013, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Machine Elf View Post
Two different dealers have confirmed that for the car I want - exterior color, interior color, manual transmission - there is only one left in the entire country, and the manufacturer won't be making any more of them.
Yeah, yeah, just like they're not making any more real estate...



Sounds like you're between IROC and a hard place, then. May the force be with you.
#10
Old 02-10-2013, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by NitroPress View Post
Yeah, yeah, just like they're not making any more real estate...



Sounds like you're between IROC and a hard place, then. May the force be with you.
Thanks. My dad bought used cars all his life, and wasn't that picky about what he wanted - so he always had the option to walk away if the dealer wasn't cooperative on price. My curse is that I've got very particular tastes, and they seem to be uncommon - so the thing I want is rare.

The one point of leverage in my favor is that if the dealer doesn't sell this car to me, he's probably not going to sell it to anyone else, etiher (since he doesn't have the car). So if we don't do a deal, I lose, but so does he...
#11
Old 02-10-2013, 01:23 PM
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$800 seems like a reasonable charge for large, specialized LTL shipping. Maybe there's a markup, but this stuff doesn't get trucked for free, that's for sure.
#12
Old 02-10-2013, 01:45 PM
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As a Christmas gift this year, my ex-sister-in-law just shipped a fairly new car from her recently deceased second husband to her daughter (my niece) from Iowa to Arizona.

They called every place they could find to get the best deal.

Final cost = $900.

There was one factor to include. Speed.
If she had been in no hurry, the price might have been about $100 or so cheaper (they would have put her on a waiting list until one of their trucks happened to drive through Iowa). However, as she wanted the car to be delivered in time for Christmas as a surprise gift, they had to make a special trip to Iowa (out of the way and off their regular route) to pick up the car - thus the extra $100+.
#13
Old 02-10-2013, 02:13 PM
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I shipped three cars from CA to CT two years ago - one open carrier, two closed. I think it was $1100 for the open and $2400 for the two in the closed carrier. Speed was not an issue. I think car dealers can get better rates than individuals, so $800 isn't too unreasonable. When one and only one car will fill the need, the whole system has you over a barrel. Make sure it's really the right car and live with the cost.

Last edited by Amateur Barbarian; 02-10-2013 at 02:13 PM.
#14
Old 02-10-2013, 04:42 PM
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It sounds like a ripoff to me, but I'm one who'd be more inclined to take a cheapie one way flight to the nearest city to the East Coast dealer, buy it from them instead and drive the car back myself.
#15
Old 02-11-2013, 02:41 AM
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The dealer that has the car may know it's special and be asking a premium to sell it. Then your dealer is wrapping the cost up in a shipping charge.

I agree with Nawth Chucka. You can get great airfares to some destinations, find out what it would cost to fly out to the seller.

Two problems:
  • I'm certain that your dealer will be reluctant to say where the car is located if they haven't revealed that already.
    You may be able to find the location in a search from the manufacturer's website
  • Your dealer isn't going to be happy when you bring the car in for service.
    I've bought cars from as much as 100 miles away and had them serviced at my local dealer after I rejected whatever he was offering. Dealers make a lot of money on service. They don't make a lot from the sale of most cars. The owner of the dealership doesn't give a rip, only the salesman does.

If you fly out to the seller, they may not cut as sweet a deal as your local dealer and you'll end up paying the same price or more. I've been in your position before. You want the car, you know where you can get it, and there's not a large chance of finding another like it. Pay your local dealer, forget the added cost, and enjoy a car equipped just the way you want it. I still regret ponying up for $1500 of options that I didn't want on one particular car, but I always remember how much pleasure I got from the car in the years that I had it, and the fact it was just what I wanted.

Last edited by Nunzio Tavulari; 02-11-2013 at 02:42 AM. Reason: gerbils gnawed my typing fingers at an inoppotune moment
#16
Old 02-11-2013, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nawth Chucka View Post
It sounds like a ripoff to me, but I'm one who'd be more inclined to take a cheapie one way flight to the nearest city to the East Coast dealer, buy it from them instead and drive the car back myself.
Says the guy with no experience at doing this kind of thing.
If you do fly to get the car you will have a few extra expenses over and above airfare
Sales tax in the state you buy the vehicle
License and reg fees for that state
Use tax in your state of residence ( you might get a credit from state 1 good luck)
Registration from your state of residence. (Again good luck)
Fuel, food and rooms for the trip
Time off/ lost income.
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Remember this motto to live by: Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather one should aim to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, glass of Scotch in the other, your body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO! Man, what a ride!"
#17
Old 02-11-2013, 04:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Says the guy with no experience at doing this kind of thing.
If you do fly to get the car you will have a few extra expenses over and above airfare
Sales tax in the state you buy the vehicle
License and reg fees for that state
Use tax in your state of residence ( you might get a credit from state 1 good luck)
Registration from your state of residence. (Again good luck)
While I agree I agree it can add some complication to the whole deal, people buy cars from out-of-state dealers all the time without being double charged on registration or sales tax. Usually, the out of state dealer can just give you a cheap temporary sticker so you can drive home, at which point you register it and pay any applicable taxes.

One other possibility if the OP were seriously entertaining flying out and driving it back is that his local dealer may be able to sell him the car without actually physically transferring the car.
#18
Old 02-11-2013, 05:09 PM
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I had a car shipped from LA to Arizona. My estimates ranged from $1000ish to $3000. I ended up paying something like $1300 in the end.
#19
Old 02-11-2013, 05:51 PM
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Seems like you could find a cheap airfare, go pick it up yourself and drive it back for less.
#20
Old 02-11-2013, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Says the guy with no experience at doing this kind of thing.
If you do fly to get the car you will have a few extra expenses over and above airfare
Sales tax in the state you buy the vehicle
License and reg fees for that state
Use tax in your state of residence ( you might get a credit from state 1 good luck)
Registration from your state of residence. (Again good luck)
Fuel, food and rooms for the trip
Time off/ lost income.
I've bought several cars from a neighboring state without any of these difficulties. The one new car that I bought from a dealer, they supplied a temporary tag for a $10 fee. Most of the other cars were driven home with the plate from another car registered in my name. Some were paid for and I obtained a temp plate in my home state before going back and driving the car home. I've never had to pay sales tax. license, or registration to a state other than where I lived. YMMV

I had the advantage that in most of these cases, I was able to make one or more trips to the seller. This allowed me to sign paperwork, make deposits and obtain VIN numbers for insuring the car. These things could be difficult but not impossible for the OP to do through email and fax. Then they need just arrive, make the final payment, slap on tags, and go. If it is a leased car, things may be easier. The lease company may have a branch in your state that you can go through. The lease company owns the car and pays the dealer.

When I was unable to make multiple trips to the seller, or just lazy, I slapped on a plate from another car and took my chances. I would never advise this on a new car unless you could convince your insurance company to add the unregistered car to your policy. New cars are very expensive to replace if you have no insurance and there is outstanding loan or lease.

But you are right to bring up some possible additional expenses. Couple that with my suggestion that the out-of-state dealer may not cut you as good a deal as the home dealer, and it's fair to say that the total could exceed his current quote. Suppose the dealer knows that he's flying in Saturday and has to be back at work Monday. When he arrives to pick up the car, there are suddenly a few options that they "forgot" to add to the price, like undercoating, floormats and a fancy radio. I've had dealers try to pull that trick on me.
#21
Old 02-11-2013, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Says the guy with no experience at doing this kind of thing.
If you do fly to get the car you will have a few extra expenses over and above airfare
Sales tax in the state you buy the vehicle
License and reg fees for that state
Use tax in your state of residence ( you might get a credit from state 1 good luck)
Registration from your state of residence. (Again good luck)
Fuel, food and rooms for the trip
Time off/ lost income.
That's not how sales and use taxes work (generally--each state has its own laws, but generally they all work the same way). Generally you don't have to pay use tax in a state if you paid sales tax on the purchase of the item in another state. So, the relevant consideration is the sales/use tax rate in the two states.

Last edited by Rand Rover; 02-11-2013 at 08:28 PM.
#22
Old 02-13-2013, 09:20 PM
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Dealers usually get better rates in the auto shipping industry as they have connections with the actual trucking companies. If you are not sure if he is trying to 'pad' in some extra costs, you should get some quotes from auto transport companies to make sure his price is within reason and not more then what other auto transport companies are charging.


auto shipping

Last edited by JJnul; 02-13-2013 at 09:23 PM.
#23
Old 02-14-2013, 12:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Says the guy with no experience at doing this kind of thing.
If you do fly to get the car you will have a few extra expenses over and above airfare
Sales tax in the state you buy the vehicle
License and reg fees for that state
Use tax in your state of residence ( you might get a credit from state 1 good luck)
Registration from your state of residence. (Again good luck)
Fuel, food and rooms for the trip
Time off/ lost income.
Yeah, this is wrong. I've done this numerous times. You fly in, you complete the sale, you call your insurance company and add the car (or use their website), you drive back. Once in your home state, you register the car and pay taxes.

If you're buying a new car, the dealer takes car of those shenanigans; mine even called the insurance company.

I usually shoot for a weekend, but I've done epic road trips where I flew out, drove all night and went to work the next morning.
#24
Old 02-14-2013, 01:57 PM
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Well good luck flying into California and driving it home without paying tax and registration.
If we sell a car and load it on a transport no tax no reg. you drive it you pay period.
But hey I just work at a dealer, what do I know.
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Remember this motto to live by: Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather one should aim to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, glass of Scotch in the other, your body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO! Man, what a ride!"
#25
Old 02-15-2013, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Well good luck flying into California and driving it home without paying tax and registration.
If we sell a car and load it on a transport no tax no reg. you drive it you pay period.
But hey I just work at a dealer, what do I know.
That appears to be a weirdo California rule. In most, if not all 49, other states there is zero problem buying a car in another state, driving it home on a temporary plate, and paying all the taxes and fees on it in your home state. There's some dealers where almost all of their business is out of state "fly and drive" deals like this.
#26
Old 02-15-2013, 12:26 PM
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I'm on the east coast.If you're interested in saving $100, I'll pick it up and drive it to you for $900.
#27
Old 02-15-2013, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreasyJack View Post
That appears to be a weirdo California rule. In most, if not all 49, other states there is zero problem buying a car in another state, driving it home on a temporary plate, and paying all the taxes and fees on it in your home state. There's some dealers where almost all of their business is out of state "fly and drive" deals like this.
Shhh, don't tell him we don't do California Emissions everywhere either.
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