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”LETTING THE CAT

OUT OF THE BAG”

How The Auto Industry “Redesigned” The
Dealer Invoice Price When The Internet Arrived

(Second Edition - Paperback Published April 2014)

In the mid-1990s, in response to the sudden easy access to invoice prices when the Internet arrived, the auto industry launched a secret program to “redesign” the automaker-dealer financial relationship from the ground up, a process that has continued ever since.

This game-changing fact was deeply buried until 2012, when automotive consumer advocate James Bragg “cracked the code” and unearthed the truth.

In this “bombshell” of a book he describes that discovery process in detail and shows how the total reconstruction of the invoice-retail price relationship has (a) turned the consumer perception of “dealer cost” into absolute fiction, (b) radically transformed the nature of dealer cash incentives and (c) outdated the core assumption behind all the “target price” negotiating advice on the Internet.

His discovery obsoletes the “convention wisdom” on the subject and opens your eyes, finally, to the long-hidden hidden truth about the “dealer Invoice price.” He then tells you how to apply this knowledge the next time you’re car shopping.

Letting The Cat Out Of The Bag lets all the hot air out of the “boomfog” of information and advice you’re finding elsewhere. It makes the invoice-based “target prices” on those other auto-info sites about as valuable as a snooze button on a smoke alarm. And it will change forever the way you approach the process of buying or leasing a new car.

To get an author-signed copy of the book that Consumer Reports and those auto-pricing sites don’t want you to read, click the “YES” button where the book is mentioned on our order form. The cost is $14.95, including the $3.22 First Class mailing charge. (You may order just the book if you wish.)

For a look at what’s in this “Fountain of Truth,” check out the Preface and the Table of Contents below.

PREFACE
Automakers redesign their vehicles about every five or six years. They shine their headlights brightly on those new-and-improved beauties to spread the word to every nook and cranny in America.

But no headlights have been cast on the jaw-dropping “total redesign” of the automaker-dealer financial relationship that began in the mid-1990s and has continued, year after year, ever since.

This book is the stand-in for those headlights that went AWOL when they should have been trained on that seismic shift in the way dealers are compensated. It’s about why and how that “redesign” was done and how it changes what you should do to shop smart for a new car.

It’s also a critique of those well-known sources of new-car pricing and negotiating advice, the “experts” we would have expected to uncover and reveal this game-changing information to us over a decade ago, but seem to have either missed it or chosen to ignore it.

In sharp contrast to those trusted sources, this book will open your eyes to the pivotal fact about the new-car business that’s been hidden from you for almost twenty years.

It should convince you to ignore everything you’re being told about the smart way to buy a new vehicle on all those “expert” websites.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Why I wrote this book
No one was telling consumers the truth. Somebody had to. After 15 years+ uncovering it, I knew if I didn't do it, no one would.

2. Question authority.
Why we shouldn’t trust everything those online “experts” tell us.

3. George Will was right.
How we short-circuit our connection with reality when we send our common sense on an extended vacation.

4. What if the store were ours?
Probing how you and I would act if our skins were in the game.

5. My vine has 120,000 grapes.
How my customers’ transaction reports cast serious doubt on what Consumer Reports and those auto-pricing websites are telling us.

6. The way it is . . . is not the way it was.
How the information you’re getting about “dealer incentives” is so out-of-touch with today’s reality, it should be wearing bell bottoms in the Smithsonian.

7. ”Loose lips sink ships.”
The wealth of “inside information” my customers pick up from dealer personnel during the purchase process paints a revealing, behind-the-scenes picture that points to just one conclusion.

8. Hiding (in plain sight)
Sometimes the answer to a puzzling question is right under your nose. Once I got a good sniff, I was on that scent like a mad dog on a wounded squirrel.

9. Eureka!
How a few old books, some archeological number digging and a “cold-case” analysis uncovered the sea change in the invoice-retail price relationship that began in 1995 and continues today, an eye-opening bombshell the big auto-info players seem to have missed.

10. Silence is golden.
Why I’m convinces the big auto pricing websites, including Consumer Reports, which were given living proof of this “redesign” in November 2012, haven’t enlightened you on the subject.

11. The dealer is not your enemy.
The bum rap dealers get. How they’ve improved their act dramatically. And why you should cut them some slack.

12. The cards have been dealt.
The “truth cards” are in your hand. It’s time to review what you’ve learned and what you should do with this knowledge the next time you’re new-car shopping — including what your objective should be and the best way to achieve it.

Epilogue
I’m just planting the seeds. To grow this forest of truth, these seedlings must be planted more broadly. I need your help to make that happen.

”The Exhibit”
The data “bombshell” that neuters all the information and negotiating advice you’re being fed on and off the Internet.

Words Truth Seekers Live By
Almost all of which are relevant to the subject of this book.
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After reading this, you will probably wonder how you ever fell for the ancient conventional wisdom you’ve been told for so many years by all those auto websites and Consumer Reports. I promise the book won't bore you, and I hope you’ll encourage your friends and relatives to read it to learn the whole truth about the retail car business today.

James Bragg

Copyright & copy; 2014 Fighting Chance

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