Can You Negotiate Price on a Certified Pre-Owned Car?

Certified pre-owned vehicles, or CPO cars for short, offer benefits ranging from extended warranties to low-interest financing, but they don’t come free. Cars.com’s analysis of more than 200,000 late-model used examples of 17 popular models found the listing price, on average, 4.5% higher for CPO cars versus non-certified ones.

Are those prices negotiable? In a word, yes.

Related: Is CPO Worth It?

Although some dealers have instituted no-haggle pricing, CPO cars seldom carry such stipulations as a whole. You can — and should — negotiate on CPO vehicles, just like you’d negotiate on any new or non-certified used car.

As with any negotiations, we recommend fixating on the out-the-door price of the car, including all taxes and fees. If you plan to finance, secure pre-approved terms from a third party, like a bank or credit union, before shopping. That clears the way for you to negotiate primarily on the out-the-door price, not the interest rate or the monthly payment. Settle on a good price and the monthly payment will work itself out — either from your pre-approved lender or a competitive offer by the dealership after the fact.

A potential wrinkle is the low financing rates offered on CPO vehicles. If you think you have the credit to qualify, still negotiate on the out-the-door price. If the dealership offers low-rate financing or a reduced vehicle price, but not both, head over to Cars.com’s Cash Back or Interest Calculator — which allows you to compare the two options to figure out which would work best for your finances — and treat any negotiated reductions in out-the-door price like a cash-back rebate. Whether you’re buying a CPO car or a new car, they still represent a reduction in the overall vehicle price.

Naturally, your leverage to negotiate will hinge on the supply of similar cars for sale in your area, both used and CPO. A salesperson may demur to any comparisons between certified and non-certified listings, but the latter can still inform your negotiations. If a dealer lists a CPO car for 20% more than a non-certified example of similar age and condition at a showroom down the street, that’s a hard price to justify. Leverage comparable examples — even if they aren’t certified — to your advantage.

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