SUV Invoice Cost Breakdown

February 27, 2012

Learn what goes into and on top of an SUV invoice, including fees, warranties, and insurance.

SUV Dealership

Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) come in many different configurations, styles and forms, and in the beginning, an SUV invoice was confusing to decipher. SUV popularity has skyrocketed, however, and since the function and form of the minivan have been adopted by the SUV, the SUV invoice is easier to read.

An invoice is the list of the items for a particular product, and the wholesale price paid to the manufacturer. This is the price that a dealer pays to the auto maker for the vehicle, without any adjustments for profit. In most cases, the invoice does not reflect the actual cost of a vehicle to the dealer. There may be certain rebates and incentives. There may also be many additional factors in the cost of the vehicle, other than the list of items on the invoice.

A dealer can theoretically sell a vehicle at invoice and still make a profit, due to some common factors. There are manufacturer to dealer incentives and marketing reimbursements, which will reduce the dealer's cost. In addition, certain models and types can be discounted if sold within a certain time, or certain accessories sold with a vehicle can contain discounts.

Examine the Window Sticker
The sticker price, or MSRP, is the price on the window of an SUV on a dealer lot. This invoice typically lists the SUV's features and the manufacturer's cost for these features. These prices also include preparation costs and transfer charges to get the vehicle to the dealer.

You won't generally see the dealer invoice, which lists the basic model and the list of additional equipment installed by the manufacturer for this particular car. The dealer invoice tells what the dealer paid for the car, and is the most accurate indicator of the actual dealer cost for the vehicle. Dealers don't generally show customer's this invoice, so using a comparison website to shop for the best price is the best option.

Fees
Most every invoice contains multiple fees. Some fees are justified while some are dubious in nature. If a buyer is not cautious, they may end up paying for a feature that is not needed or is redundant. Some of the more common dealer fees include, "additional dealer markup," which is another term for adding dealer profit to the vehicle's price, "dealer prep," which is the preparation of the vehicle for sale and delivery. There is also the, "destination charge," which is the fee for the vehicle to be transported to the dealer, and "documentation" fees which are the licensing and registration fees for the vehicle, notifying the state of the transfer of ownership.

Warranties
Most new cars, and some premium used cars, come with a warranty. This warranty should be described in detail on the invoice or paperwork accompanying the invoice. Some dealers may want to add additional coverage on a vehicle that is already covered by the manufacturer.

Insurance
Aside from the automobile insurance that is necessary in most states, other insurance may be listed or offered, which will increase the cost of a vehicle. Additional charges which may be included are credit insurance, which charges a fee to have insurance cover the car payments in the event of the loss of a job, and disability insurance, which makes the payments if the purchaser is injured.

Consider Special Orders
If the showroom models have too much or too little equipment, or simply don't have the features you want, consider a special order including just the features you want. This may be the way to get better than the sticker price on a vehicle. If you can avoid paying for features you don't want or need, you can save a significant amount of money.