HomeManufacturerBreaking Down the Numbers: What Dealerships Pay for New Cars

Breaking Down the Numbers: What Dealerships Pay for New Cars

Buying a new car is an exciting experience, but have you ever wondered how much dealerships pay for the vehicles they sell? The price tags on new cars often leave buyers wondering what portion of the cost is profit for the dealership. Breaking down these numbers can provide insight into the car industry and help consumers make informed decisions when purchasing a new vehicle. In this article, we will explore the factors that determine the cost of new cars for dealerships and how understanding these numbers can benefit consumers.

Breaking Down the Numbers: What Dealerships Pay for New Cars

When you walk into a dealership to buy a new car, you may wonder what kind of markup the dealership is putting on the vehicle. It’s a common question, and the answer is more complicated than you might think. Dealerships don’t have a set markup on new cars, but they do have a variety of costs they need to cover. In this article, we’ll break down the numbers and explain what dealerships pay for new cars.

Dealer Invoice Price

The dealer invoice price is the amount the dealership pays the manufacturer for the car. This price includes the base price of the car plus any additional options and destination fees. The dealer invoice price is not the same as the sticker price on the car, which is the price you see on the window of the vehicle.

Manufacturer Holdback

In addition to the dealer invoice price, manufacturers often offer a holdback incentive to dealerships. The holdback is a percentage of the invoice price that the dealership gets back from the manufacturer after the car is sold. This incentive helps dealerships cover some of their costs and make a profit on the sale.

Dealer Rebates and Incentives

Manufacturers also offer rebates and incentives to dealerships to help them sell cars. These incentives can include cash rebates, low-interest financing, and lease deals. Dealerships can use these incentives to lower the price of the car for the customer or increase their profit margin.

Floor Plan Financing

Dealerships don’t pay for new cars upfront. Instead, they use floor plan financing to purchase the vehicles from the manufacturer. Floor plan financing is a type of short-term loan that allows dealerships to pay for the cars over a set period. This financing comes with interest rates and fees that dealerships need to factor into their costs.

Advertising and Marketing

Dealerships also need to invest in advertising and marketing to attract customers and sell cars. These costs can include television and radio ads, newspaper ads, billboards, and other marketing materials. The cost of advertising and marketing can vary depending on the size and location of the dealership.

Dealer Markup

Finally, dealerships add their own markup to the price of the car. This markup is the profit margin for the dealership. The amount of markup can vary depending on the dealership and the car. Some dealerships have a set markup percentage, while others negotiate the price with the customer.


There’s no set markup for new cars at dealerships, but there are a variety of costs that dealerships need to cover. These costs include the dealer invoice price, manufacturer holdback, dealer rebates and incentives, floor plan financing, advertising and marketing, and dealer markup. Understanding these costs can help you negotiate a better deal on a new car.


Most Popular