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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So the following is the dealer invoice for a Bolt that someone purchased and posted on Facebook. They are in the San Fran area:

Lots of info there, but what does it all mean? I'll break it down.

First 5 lines or so are pretty self explanatory. Get the model, color, order #, VIN, and invoice #. Nothing too exciting there.

The next section (left side) covers all the options on the vehicle, and their MSRP and invoice prices. Also nothing too exciting. We see that the MSRP of this Bolt is $42,635, and after tacking on the $875 destination fee, the final sticker price is $43,510. The invoice prices are listed next to the MSRP prices.

There are numbers next to "DEALER IMR" and "LMA GROUP" contribution lines. They are advertising fees most dealers pay so that their dealership is covered in regional ad campaigns. It seems that these fees are only calculated under the invoice pricing side. I believe that dealers get a kickback for the advertising fees once they sell the vehicle, but some unscrupulous dealers may try and convince customers that the IMR/LMA fees are coming out of their own pocket, and will try and charge the customer those fees, in essence double dipping. These fees also vary according to region. LA ad fees seem to be less than SF ad fees, for example.

The right side of the invoice starting with "RETAIL - STOCK" is where the more interesting info is listed. I'll go line by line and break it down.

INVOICE = date the invoice was created (duh)
SHIPPED = date the vehicle was shipped out from the factory (also duh)
EXP I/T = Expected In-Transit date. This is the date GM expects the vehicle to arrive at the dealership. This is only an estimate, and unforeseen delays can push this date back days or even weeks.
INT COM = Interest Commences. This is the date that the dealer starts getting charged interest for floor planning the vehicle. Each day that passes where the car doesn't sell, the dealer is losing a little money.
PRC EFF = Price Effective. Date the price of the vehicle was set.
KEYS = serial or model #'s for the key fobs, I believe
Not sure what "WFP-S" or "OPT-1" stand for
BANK = must be the bank the dealer is using to floorplan (finance) the vehicle
SHIP WT = shipping weight of the vehicle
EMPLOY = Employee Pricing
SUPPLR = Supplier Pricing (interesting that even though the Bolt is not currently eligible for employee/supplier pricing, the numbers are already set. I guess when GM unlocks employee/supplier pricing, those will be the prices)
EMPINC = This is the amount of money a dealer gets as a kickback for selling a car under the employee program.
SUPINC = This is the amount of money a dealer gets as a kickback for selling a car under a supplier program.

H/B = Holdback. This is an additional amount the dealer receives from GM once they sell the vehicle. It is equal to 3% of the price of the vehicle.
I'm not sure what "ADV 261" and "EXP 65A" mean, but they equal the DEALER IMR and LMA GROUP contribution fees. I'm guessing it is the kickback they receive from GM for the ad fees once they sell the vehicle.

APPROX WHOLESALE FINANCE CREDIT = I believe this is the actual dealer cost of the vehicle once it sells and holdback is released. I am pretty sure this number does not reflect any employee/supplier pricing kickbacks, but if you purchase a vehicle for this number or less BEFORE any customer rebates, you probably got a great deal! If you used employee or supplier pricing, the actual cost should be APPROX WHOLESALE FINANCE CREDIT - the employee/supplier kickbacks listed in EMPINC/SUPINC - whatever dealer-only incentives there are. Even accounting for all that, that may still not be the actual dealer cost...but it should be pretty close!

This is just my take and may not be 100% accurate, so if you see anything wrong, please chime in. :cool:

Premium Member
14,156 Posts
This is very interesting. Nice of you to post it. I doubt a dealer would ordinarily sell at cost. In this case it looks like the holdback is about $1900, so $1K under invoice would be a good deal. If you can get a price at cost or under then there are additional rebates/payments to the dealer which aren't being listed. I'm pretty sure the advertising fees are not kicked back to the dealer. However, dealers will sometimes lump other fees into advertising fees, so whether these are legitimate is always a question. If you see the same number from different dealers then you can be confident it's legit.

3,468 Posts
Very interesting piece from Clark Howard which is a five piece series...But yeah, just look at the Gen2 Volt, Costco has pretty much had them even at launch under invoice before factoring in the cash card...Now we're seeing dealers knock $5000+ off the SALES price before any incentives are accounted for...

The Short: Today “the dealer invoice price minus holdback” is only a distant third cousin of the true cost of any new car. And, like the hundreds of other things you buy every year, no one, on or off the Internet, can tell you the seller’s true cost.

The Long: "In response to this threat, the auto industry launched a secret program to transfer beaucoup bucks from the sticker price to the invoice price, a process that has continued for almost two decades. They’ve done this by steadily raising the invoice price by more than they raised the MSRP, thereby disguising a big cache of available dealer-incentive dollars as dealer-cost dollars. They chose this approach because car shoppers have been conditioned for decades to believe the invoice price is a real cost number. And they did it slowly and deliberately, year after year, so that we wouldn’t notice a sudden substantial change."
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