There are two components to a selling price- dealer discount and manufacturer’s incentives. You need to know what the incentives are to evaluate and compare the deal, as one dealer may have access to incentives that another dealer does not. The discount and selling price the dealer quotes you will take into account the incentive and include it in the quoted price. For example, if a car has an MSRP of $50,000 and you’re being quoted $44,000, the total discount is $6,000. If the incentive to the dealer is $4,000, then the dealer is discounting the car $2,000 and passing through the $4,000 incentive. Dealers do not generally volunteer what the incentives are, just quote you a net price.
Currently, Volvo identifies the incentives through their website. Go to volvocars.com/us and click on the “Build & Price” link. Pick the car you’re interested in. Note- Volvo generally only offers the most current model year, so the previous model year (as of this writing) doesn’t show. If there’s a new bodystyle of a particular car, the previous generation may show (example- 2018 and 2019 S60). Continue to pick the trim and model (you do not need to spec out the colors and options), then click on the “Summary” tab. Scroll down and click on the “Payment Estimator” tab, put in your zip code, and you can toggle between lease and purchase and you’ll see the dealer incentives as “Applied Offers.” You can click on the “Change Dealer” tab and look elsewhere. I’d suggest selecting “any range” because you’re likely to search more than 75 miles away, plus if you go far enough, you may find a dealer with different incentives. The incentives are determined independently by each individual market, and you might be a relatively short distance away from another market. CA has a northern and southern market. Typically markets are whole states or combination of states, but not always. Search around as far as you’re willing to go to get a car, keeping in mind the value of spending less time and expense to deal locally. Dealing within your own state is easier as far as registration and tax is concerned, too.
You won’t see Residual Values (RVs) or Money Factors (MFs) on the Payment Estimator. You can get that information reliably from https://forums.edmunds.com/ and often here. The dealers will give it to you if you ask, but the MF may be marked up or misquoted- it’s easy for anyone to make mistakes.
A-Plan is a legacy from when Ford owned Volvo and is still available. It’s essentially employee pricing for those that work at potentially any large company. On many models, it includes a distinct and separate incentive of (at this time) usually $750, but sometimes $3,000 (currently on S90/V90s). The selling price is calculated on a worksheet that you’re supposed to get as invoice (base A-Plan price) minus incentives minus A-Plan incentive. A common misunderstanding is the base A-Plan price is 6% off MSRP, but that’s not accurate. A dealer’s advertising (ranging from $0 to $750) reduces this 6% margin, as well at the $10 charitable contribution to Alex’s Lemonade Foundation for childhood cancer. Port installed options have a margin higher than 6%, so that increases the margin and makes knowing the exact invoice harder. If you’re doing an A-Plan deal, the dealer is supposed to show you the invoice. A lot of dealers aren’t even signed up with A-Plan and if they are, may not understand it and make a mistake in your favor or theirs. It’s best if you know how it works to avoid a mistake that increases your cost. EDIT: Only new cars qualify for A-Plan, not loaners or demonstrators. Broker deals are excluded as well.
Dealers used to be able to discount below A-Plan (that option still shows on the worksheet), but if they do, they risk losing the incentive as well as a sizeable dealer commission if/when audited, so dealers that know what they’re doing will refuse. The $750 incentive is generally easy for a dealer to beat with their own discounting, but not always. The $3,000 incentive is extremely hard and painful for a dealer to beat. If the market price for a car is close to A-Plan anyway and you qualify, use the A-Plan. The dealer comes out well ahead and you might find it easier to have your way with the MF and not marking up the acquisition fee from $695 to $995. It’s a win-win, as Volvo is paying some of the discount as well as a commission to the dealer.
To find out if you qualify for A-Plan, the first thing to do is ask the HR department where you work. But don’t count on them knowing for sure. I’ve seen big companies HR departments being clueless. A dealer can check on their Affinity website and check your company, or any company your household members work for (they will qualify you). If you do qualify, you can get more information at https://aplanbyvolvo.com/login