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Buying & Leasing a Car

Little-Known Discounts for Car Buyers

Here's how to save thousands of dollars on your next car purchase.

You don't have to haggle to pay less than full sticker price on a new car. Instead, you can take advantage of little-known discounts to help get the price below factory invoice, says Brad Wilson, founder of BradsDeals.com and author of Do More, Spend Less: The New Secrets of Living the Good Life for Less.

Wilson says that several organizations that almost anyone can join have programs that members can use to get deals on new cars. Many can be combined with factory-to-dealer incentives, which can bring down the price even more. Here are some of the member-based groups that offer discounts for car buyers. Not all of these programs will automatically get you to or below the invoice price, which represents the cost paid by the dealer plus fees and is lower than the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP). With those that don't, a little negotiating might help bring down the price even more.

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Tread Lightly. Anyone can join this nonprofit organization with a mission to promote responsible outdoor recreation. If you join at the $100 individual membership level, you'll be eligible to receive the organization's Affiliate Rewards Program Preferred Price, which is 1% below factory invoice, on the purchase or lease of most new Chrysler, Jeep, Ram, Dodge, SRT and FIAT vehicles. You can combine this preferred price with dealer or manufacturer incentives to knock thousands of dollars off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). Wilson says you simply have to take your member letter with you to the dealership to get the discounted price. Visit Treadlightly.org for more information.

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USAA. This member-based organization provides financial services to members of the military and their families. However, its investment products, checking and savings products, credit cards, life insurance and discounts are available to other individuals (its auto and property insurance is not, though). USAA offers member discounts of up to $4,000 from BMW, Buick, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, FIAT, GMC, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, RAM and smart. See the USAA Web site for more details about the discounts.

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Credit unions. One of the many perks of belonging to a credit union is the discount you can get on cars. Members can get new GM (Chevrolet, Buick and GMC) vehicles at supplier price, which is less than the MSRP that is reserved for GM’s preferred suppliers -- in addition to current incentives and special offers. Visit www.mygmdiscount.com to see if your credit union participates. Not a credit union member? Here are 7 credit unions anyone can join.

Mercedes-Benz Club of America. Anyone can join this club for $49 a year and get up to $1,500 off the price of a new Mercedes-Benz. See www.mbca.org for more information.

BMW Car Club of America. After you're a member for a year, you can claim a certificate for a discount of up to $1,500 on new vehicles. Membership is $91 for two years. See www.bmwcca.org for more information.

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