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Lemon-Aid Buyer’s Guide
Our comprehensive and objective new vehicle reviews include unique reliability forecasts and price / value assessments
 

APA group rate insurance
APA has negotiated insurance discounts for members

 

 A member quote includes dealer invoice, the APA negotiated mark up over invoice, incentives and a referral to a dealer or a broker who guarantees to sell or lease you the vehicle at the pre-negotiated price. Membership includes 5 quotes. (1 year membership $77 +HST.)


NEW VEHICLE BUYING SERVICE

The APA has a network of car dealers and brokers in Toronto and Montreal to help you buy your new vehicle at substantial savings and with the fewest hassles. We also work with a broker in Vancouver and Victoria. There are a limited number of contacts in the Ottawa area, check with our Montreal office first. Participating dealers/brokers agree to a fixed non-negotiable price. Deals are subject to an $87 APA referral fee payable at the time of purchase.

Toronto: The APA has agreements for all mainstream vehicle manufacturers. There are, however, a few luxury makes that are not covered, such as Porsche. Jaguar and Land Rover are now covered in the Toronto area. If you are planning to buy a luxury car through the APA service, contact us by e-mail at apatoronto@apa.ca to know if we have an agreement for the brand you have chosen.

Vancouver, Victoria (join APA Toronto): APA's approved broker can deliver most brands on Vancouver Island and the Mainland, but please contact the Toronto office by email at apatoronto@apa.ca to know if we can help you with the brand you have chosen.

Price Quote requests for British Columbia  will be completed by the end of the next business day.

Montreal, Ottawa (join APA Montreal): Most makes are covered, but please contact us by e-mail at apamontreal@apa.ca before joining to know if the brand you are considering is covered by the APA buying service.


CAR BUYING SERVICES FOR OTHER PROVINCES

We will provide you with information on the vehicles you are considering so you can better negotiate with a dealer in your area.  The APA pricing reports  tell you what the dealer was charged for the vehicle when invoiced by the automaker, and the mark-up over invoice that the dealer is likely to accept. We also itemize currently available incentives from the manufacturer for a cash purchase, a financed purchase, and for lease deals.

Equipped with the APA's information, you will have more information than the average consumer entering a dealer showroom. If there is more than one dealer for a particular brand in your immediate area, you can attempt to negotiate with them for the best price on the new car and the best offer for your trade-in. APA staff are available by phone or email during office hours to provide advice on all aspects of the negotiation, including  the trade-in appraisal and monthly finance and lease payments.

For vehicles in the range of $30,000 and higher, the APA can recommend a reliable full service broker that has been vetted by APA and can in many cases ship a vehicle to you at a very good price. Contact APA Toronto for a referral and more details.


HISTORY OF THE APA NEW VEHICLE BUYING SERVICE

The APA new vehicle buying service started in Toronto in 1990. Today the service is offered to consumers in Canada’s three largest markets and delivers about 1,000 new and used vehicles a year. Consumers are treated to a haggle-free, hassle-free shopping experience, and can rely on the assistance of a dedicated staff of APA counsellors, many of whom have tried the vehicles members are thinking of buying.

The service is supported by a network of car dealers and brokers who are able to deliver all the volume car brands and most luxury brands. Pricing is usually based on a Cost-Plus formula, working from the manufacturer invoice price, and includes any additional discounts and incentives available to retail buyers. Pricing information is supplemented with detailed vehicle reports available free on the APA’s website. The service has a very high satisfaction level; 94% of respondents rated it superior to their previous shopping experience for a new vehicle in a survey of APA members.

Because of the on-the-ground relationship with consumers and dealers provided by the buying service, the APA has been able to innovate in the areas of new vehicle sales and delivery. Among the innovations introduced by the APA that were later taken up in the auto industry:

• Plain language car lease contracts for consumers: APA discovered the first one in Canada in 1991, and made representations to government and industry that saw Plan Language Leasing and GAP protection introduced to Canada in the mid 1990s. The APA received a letter of recognition from then Minister of Finance Paul Martin for its work to reform consumer leasing.

• All-in pricing: APA pioneered the all-in price with no extras in Canada. All-in pricing has recently been enshrined in legislation covering auto advertising in Quebec and Ontario.

• No-haggle pricing: APA introduced this concept  to new vehicle retailing in Canada in 1990, a year before the Saturn dealer network.

• Satisfaction guarantee or your money back: APA is still the leader on deposit refunds for new vehicles (deposit refunded at any time, so long as the recommended dealer has not incurred genuine out-of-pocket expenses). Industry leaders are now catching up to APA’s 30-day money back warranty (less an allowance for use)  for used vehicles.

The APA’s car buying service has operated for many years, advertised mainly by word-of-mouth so more savings are passed on to the consumer. Some new private sector car quote services claim to offer the same service, but at this time, the standards provided by APA’s recommended dealers and brokers, and support from the APA counselling staff and vehicle testing team, ensure APA offers the best buying service available to consumers in Canada.


AUTOMOBILE FINANCING AND LEASING


The APA buying service price applies equally to finance and lease deals. The pre-negotiated buying price is simply converted to a monthly finance or lease payments in accordance with the terms and incentives offered by the manufacturer. APA’s finance and leasing analysis service is also available so that you can confirm that the payments correspond to the vehicle price you obtained from the dealer, with no extras slipped into the payments.


Leasing can be tricky.

The APA is there to confirm the accuracy of the quote you received either from the APA redommended dealer/broker or your own. lease note that in order to confirm a lease monthly payment we need to know not only the negotiated price and monthly payment but also the residual value (buyback) and the total amount due on delivery (please itemize). If there is a trade in, state the amount allowed. We will also gladly confirm finance payments.


LEASE RETURN APPRAISAL SERVICE

Dealers and manufacturers have become much more vigilant in passing on the costs of repairing and reconditioning vehicles returned at the end of their leases. Often, whether a part needs to be replaced or merely repaired is a judgment call. See APA's tips for returning a leased vehicle. Think of a dented bumper for example. The choice between repair and replacement may be subjective but the cost of replacing a bumper is almost certainly much higher. In today’s environment, neither the dealer nor the inspection company designated by the lessor is likely to choose the less expensive option. After the economic meltdown in 2008, the APA began to receive more complaints from consumers who felt they were overcharged for vehicle reconditioning. 

Obtaining a second, independent opinion is a good idea. A few weeks before the end of your lease term, you will be contacted by the lessor. If you choose to return the vehicle at the end of the lease, it will be examined by either the dealer or an inspection company to determine what repairs, if any, are necessary. You may be given an estimate and a choice to have the vehicle repaired by the dealer or on your own.

Sometimes, the best strategy is to take care of obvious problem areas even before meeting the inspection company or the dealer. Possibly an inexpensive repair or touch-up will allow the problem area to be passed over or deemed adequate by the inspection company. The APA approved inspection service will provide you with a list of items you should attend to and, if applicable, a repair estimate and recommendation of who to see for see for the repairs. The service is offered at no-charge with the APA membership, and costs $39 for the general public.

Contact the APA for a referral or further details at 416 204-1444, or email us at apatoronto@apa.ca


Non members: Dealer Cost Report ($25.00) Click here.

Note: Dealer Cost Report includes the dealer invoice and manufacturer's incentives for one vehicle (dealer installed accessories are NOT included). It does NOT include a referral to APA approved sources or the pre-negotiated mark ups or discounts available to APA members. If you are considering more than one vehicle, or may be a user of the APA buying service, an APA membership is likely to offer better value.