ACA Discount for Subaru

We’ll be looking at cars this weekend, Subaru Outbacks, and are ACA members. Any advice from someone who has used the discount (on a new car) on whether it is tough or real easy? We are still torn between a 2007 or a 2006, could go either way depending on the price and package.

We also figure that if we get this discount we don’t get any other deals, but it might be worth it in time and temper to just use the $3000 (that right?) discount rather than get into a huge round of haggling. Neither of us are any good at it.

Currently it is up to $3300, depending on what you were buying. Last spring, I spoke to my local dealer, and he said basically you got the car at dealer invoice. So on the fully loaded top end you probably get that, if you buy a stripped down impreza…not so much. I was not an ACA member, and you must be for 6 months before purchase. However, the dealer was very quick to say they would give me the same deal. I never mentioned the ACA at the other local dealer, and paid below invoice there on a 2006.

According to the website, if you buy this month through the program you can get a GPS or $150 LL bean giftcard.

I get Subarus for invoice anyway
Without mentioning the ACA, we purchased our wagon and sedan from a Subrau dealer for invoice, which is this dealer’s standard practice. Actually, I got a tad below invoice by mentioning a lower price from another dealer.

I’m with you Celia
I would rather have my head slammed in a door than to deal for an automobile. it should be one of the more satisfying experiencies, like buying a boat, but it is not like that. Instead it is torture. It is you pitted against the dealer who’s job is to get everything he can at your expense. Ugh!

Good Luck.


I used the discount on my 2005
I simply showed the salesperson the certificate and he gave me the discount in what seemed like a routine way. I have no idea if I could of gotten the same deal without the certificate.

I bought my 2002 Outback
using the ACA discount, and it was no trouble at all. I am rather anal about major purchases, so just to make sure I was really getting the best deal, I used Consumer Reports new car pricing service, and determined that for this area, anyway, I really couldn’t have gotten the car any cheaper. And since I hate to haggle, that was good news.

Of course the dealer still tried to screw me on the trade-in; don’t listen to that “we’re not making any money when you use the ACA discount” crap they try to pull so they can lowball you on that.

Consider Legacy Wagon over Outback
I know it’s hard to go against the flow, but I could find no objective reason – other than style – to go with an Outback over a standard Legacy wagon, for $3000 or more extra, unless you really plan to use it on very pitted roads or a bit off road.

Actually, there’s even a disadvantage to the Outback – the extra 1.5" or so in height degrades the handling a bit. The plain wagon handles superbly, mainly becasue the engine design allows it to sit a bit lower than most similar vehicles. With the Outback, you give back some of that advantage.

My $000.02. But either way, I know you’ll enjoy it – the poor man’s Volvo. Sink the savings into boats!


– Last Updated: Dec-07-06 11:25 PM EST –

Go look at this site and price the car. This site will tell you what everybody is averaging in price with the options you want. I bought an '05 Outback XT Limited that was "mac'd out" and paid under invoice. I got on the internet and priced the car with multiple dealers around the state. Once all dealers cried uncle, I chose the lowest and did the deal. I had to drive 250 miles to get there but I got the car for $28,800. The car retailed for $33,200.
Good luck, and remember, if the salesman is talking he's probably not telling the truth. I get a car every two years and they never cease to amaze me.
Post script. I bought my wife a Volvo XC 70 Cross County in 2005. I think the Subaru is a better car on every front except for roominess and snob appeal.

the poor man’s Volvo

Thanks for your input. We remembered your note of being able to get everything you wanted without getting an Outback. However, checking packages I’ve found a few things we want that are not on any of the straight Legacy wagons. As a matter of fact even Outback 2.5i Basics lack one or two.

I had a Volvo wagon years ago and loved it dearly (though my Saab 900 was much more fun). However, I think the Subaru has better reliability these days. Subaru wagons have nearly replaced Volvo ones in many of the places we spend time - Adirondacks, White Mountains, Northern Vermont, and Mid-Coast Maine.

Thanks for the help on how to do this. Jim printed out the certificate last night. It sounds like this’ll get us out of the dealership a lot easier than we may otherwise. The analogy of slamming a door our head in the door is apt - one of the reasons that we take our cars to their death is that any alternative approach means that we have to mess around with car dealerships more often.

As to Volvo vs Subaru - interesting to hear from an owner of both. We are coming from a Mercury Sable wagon, and the one thing that we are not looking forward to is the likely loss of space in the Subaru. But we just couldn’t justify the higher cost for the Volvo wagon, for the two times a year that we’ll load the car to the gills.

car deal -not a deal
In spring of 2005 I bought an Outback wagon using the ACA deal. I hate haggling over cars with sharky sales reps. Well after I ordered the color I wanted my husband walked into a different dealer and in five seconds beat the ACA price without mentioning it to the dealer. So I paid a little more than I could have by just buying it normally. The reason I did it was I was told Subaru’s were so hot that dealers were getting sticker and there were no discounts. Well that wasn’t the case here in Michigan. In the end, I’m happy since the dealer in Ann Arbor (Dunning) has proven to be great and treat women with respect. We also found that the Subaru ACA deal is offered to skiers, bikers, birders etc. Love my wagon!

Second and other sites on the web.

There is no shortage of information about dealer invoice prices, holdbacks and incentives available these days.

These sites also do a nice job of explaining car sales tactics, and how to counter them.

However the best thing is to simply go in armed with knowledge.

Sit down, and say “Look, I know you paid this much for the car, and are guaranteed to make this much from the manufacturer.” That pretty much leaves no more room for their tactics, so the process is really pretty painless.

When I got my Forester two years ago, I did my homework and came up with a figure that I was willing to pay over and above the value of my trade-in. It doesn’t help to get a low figure for the new car and then get offered a correspondingly low amount for your trade. Fortunately, I never had to reveal that number to the dealer, because the offer they made was even more than the blue book said my trade-in was worth.

Good luck with your new car purchase. I love my Subie, and one of my friends says she’d take my car over her Volvo anyday.


It really isn’t painless. The dealers will try to keep you in the showroom for 5 hours to get an extra $100 bucks from you. Do your homework. Know what the invocie price is with every option. Try to figure out what the dealer holdback will be and shoot for a price a few hundred lower than invoice. Most important - be prepared to walk out of the showroom. Your time is valuable, too. If they don’t want to deal, then leave. I would go to Marshall’s last, armed with other offers. They seem to be a notch above the other dealers in the area.

Good luck!


P.S. We’re probably going to get another used Volvo wagon this spring, so I can have the old one for boat hauling to save milage (and gas $) on the truck.

Rolls Royce Lifetime
Does anyone else remember when you got a lifetime guarantee when you bought a new Rolls Royce and they would fly a mechanic to you if necessary?

Rolls used to advertise that it was actually cheaper to buy a new Rols Royce than any other car because of this – especially if you bought the car when you were young.

Of course, that was years ago and far away…

After reading this thread I called a friend of mine that sells Subaru’s. He said the ACA or IMBA etc, discount can certainly be beat, but be prepared to work hard for it (generally speaking). The discount basically cuts to the chase and gets a good low price that the dealer is happy with (usually invoice or $100 over) and the buyer knows ahead of time. His dealership offers free oil changes and car washes along with every new car.

One of the busiest times of the year for auto dealers is the week between Christmas and New Years as all the businesses need tax write offs and will be making capital expenditures such as company cars before the end of the year. The significance of that to you is that dealership inventorys will be lower. You said you are buying this weekend, don’t delay too long if you don’t find what you want.

Once you buy the car, google “wet okole” seat covers; excellent protection during kayak shuttles and after mountain biking. Not cheap, so ask Santa!

Interesting. Additional save in Canada?
Interesting thread. When this was discussed before wasn’t there a post about saving even more by buying in Canada? Would be great for you northern border dewellers if there was.



Hi Celia
If you need more space and you like Volvo, there are deals to be had. I researched it and found Volvo had a deal on their base XC 70. The car retailed for almost thirty six and we got about six plus off. We paid about twenty nine and some change. The local Volvo dealership didn’t tell me about the deal. Over the course of the previous month researching the car my wife wanted, I found a dealer further south who had the car wanted and offered me the deal. I don’t know why the local dealer didn’t share this with me. I think the Volvo is prettier, does have more room (especially in the luggage area) and snob appeal, if that’s important. But, it was not near the car my XT was in every other way.

Good luck.


I tried selling
car for a while . . . that really sucks. Anyway they will give you the discount only off the sticker price. Then will not budge for there. Most of the time you can bet a better deal by just dickering down the price without mentioning the discount.

Let’s think this through…

– Last Updated: Dec-09-06 9:05 AM EST –

How much of a discount is Subaru going to give for a $35-40 membership? Let's be serious -- $0.00. If it were a real discount, then people would be joining the ACA in droves, even with a waiting period.

So I think it is widely recognized that this is strictly a promotional program. Subaru pays the ACA something (any ACA powers-that-be out there know how much?) and the ACA promotes Subaru to their members via a pseudo-discount. I won't comment on the integrity of such an arrangement, of lack thereof. But I guess nobody really gets hurt, so how bad could it be. Let's just not fool ourselves.

The only question in my mind -- is it worthwhile mentioning the discount to dealers, pseudo though it is, so they report back to Subaru that the ACA promotion got them a customer. That way, Subaru is motivated to keep paying ACA, and that could help keep dues down and services up (or pad someone's salary at ACA HQ ;-).