Car Buying Articles

How to Use TMV

Know the True Market Value of a New or Used Car


Car Buying Learning Center

How to Use TMV

Edmunds.com's True Market Value (TMV®) pricing is a powerful tool that helps shoppers get a good deal on a new or used car. Based on actual sales data, TMV is a guide to what other people in your area paid for the same car.

Knowing the TMV price helps buyers negotiate the price of a new car as well as the value of their trade-in vehicle. Additionally, private-party buyers and sellers can use TMV to set the price of used cars.

Car buyers can see TMV pricing on Edmunds.com once they've selected a car's manufacturer, model, trim level (style) and options. Edmunds displays TMV pricing of a new car along with two other key pieces of information: the invoice price of a car (roughly what the dealer paid for it) and the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), which is also known as the sticker price.

TMV is essential information for shoppers because cars sell at very different prices depending on their availability and popularity. Knowing TMV allows a shopper to make an offer that a dealer will immediately recognize as reasonable. Thus, negotiations will take less time and be more relaxed. TMV is also built into Edmunds.com's iPad and mobile phone apps so shoppers can check TMV pricing while they're on the car lot. Shoppers also can reach out to the Edmunds.com Live Help team for assistance with TMV questions — or any car-shopping question at all.

This short video offers some tips on ways to use TMV in your negotiations.

TMV Strategies for New Car Shopping
Now that you know what TMV is and where to find it, here are some tips about using it to help you get a great deal.

TMV is particularly useful when you use it in conjunction with  Edmunds Price Promise®, which gives car shoppers a guaranteed, up-front price on a specific car. Edmunds.com designed the Price Promise program for car shoppers, especially those who hate not being able to see a real price and who are frustrated by the amount of time it takes to negotiate a purchase.

More than 7,500 dealers have put Price Promise into action, offering clear, up-front pricing to their customers, and most of the time the Price Promise price is at or below Edmunds TMV. If you want to be extra sure, double-check the Price Promise quote with the vehicle's TMV.

If you're an experienced negotiator, or someone who is willing to spend some time haggling, look up the TMV price but don't disclose this information to the salesperson. Instead, make an opening offer well below TMV and slowly raise the price as the salesperson counters your offers. Usually, the final sales price will be below TMV.

Other buyers just want to cut to the chase and will be satisfied with a fair deal, if not the absolutely lowest price on a car. If this is your style, offer to pay TMV and explain to the salesperson that Edmunds.com, a respected car shopping information source, says this is an average price. It helps to have a printout of the TMV price handy, or have the TMV information ready to display on a smartphone as you talk.

There is no guarantee that the salesperson will accept your offer to pay the TMV price. In some cases, dealers try to tell buyers that the TMV figure isn't realistic. Buyers can respond by saying that Edmunds bases TMV on real-world sales data. If this has no effect, buyers should tell the salesperson that they will look for another dealer who will accept their offer. An easy way to locate a dealer who understands TMV is by using Edmunds.com's dealer Internet quote system.

TMV for Used Car Appraisal
TMV is also a handy appraisal tool for establishing the value of used cars. You can find the TMV price for your vehicle when the time comes to sell it or use it as a trade-in. If you are buying a used car from a dealership, you also can look up its "dealer retail" TMV price using the appraisal tool.

Edmunds also provides TMV prices for certified pre-owned cars. Once you've entered a car's make, model, year, options, mileage and condition, the information for a certified pre-owned car displays at the bottom of the "What Is Your Car Worth?" results page. Again, these are average prices, and the final cost of the car is negotiable.

While Edmunds does not offer TMV prices for leasing, the TMV price of a car is a useful piece of information if you plan to lease. A monthly lease payment is based on the selling price of the car, or the "cap cost" in leasing lingo. The lower the cost of the car, the lower the monthly lease payment. Once you find the TMV price of a new car, you can enter that price into the Auto Lease Calculator, along with other information about the car, to get an estimated lease payment.

TMV Is on Your Side
You'll hear lots of car pricing terms tossed around when you're shopping and negotiating for a new car or used car. Amid all the talk of MSRP, sticker and invoice, keep coming back to TMV. That's the number you truly need to know.

Comments

  • As a 20 year or so professional I have found no matter what the product you are selling may be, people want to be treated fairly. Selling cars is really about relationships, whether you are the buyer or seller. I agree with having the information and using it as a tool. We are all humans and people react differently to aggressive behavior, with that said I believe that people like to do business with like kind and like mind people. In addition profit is not a dirty word, in order to stay in business, no matter what business it is, you must be profitable to STAY in business. I have found that most people want to be treated fairly and professionally.

  • puffin1_ puffin1_ Posts:

    what if you have a trade

  • kpatter3 kpatter3 Posts:

    how does a trade in factor in? Should I negotiate for TMV then present the trade in?

  • philip17 philip17 Posts:

    People often suggest negotiating the new car first (using TMV as a guide) and then introducing the trade-in only after the new car price is set. Usually, you don't have to be that secretive. But you should use TMV as a guide for both new and used. Getting your price on the trade-in is tougher than reducing the price on the new car. If you are very price sensitive, get multiple quotes on the trade-in first. But keep you eye on the big picture rather than just one component.

  • pgatz1 pgatz1 Posts:

    What I've always been confused about is, does the TMV include taxes, & extra fees at the end? Or is the true market value the car only? If so, how much over TMV should you pay for all the extra fees?

  • henry4hire henry4hire Posts:

    Hello.... Edmunds TMV does not include any type of taxes or fees. The video in this link will help explain it. http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/how-to-use-tmv.html The taxes and fees are not included because they vary greatly from state to state and even city to city. A basic rule of thumb is to add 3% to the price for all the fees and associated cost. For example of the car cost $10,000 you would add the tax (about 9% here in California) plus 3% to make 12%. In that scenario the extra cost comes out to $1200 for a grand total of $11,200. That gives you the "out-the-door" price. I hope that helped!

  • jmcole5 jmcole5 Posts:

    how would it work with employee discount? i'll get a employee discount through nissan. say the tmv is 20,000 would i go in with that in mind then take tell them about the discount after we negotiate a price? or do i say something up front.

  • billy3554 billy3554 Posts:

    I do think this article leads potential buyers somewhat to a wrong conclusion. While the article does identify the true value of Edmund's TMV it does not emphasize this value. I have used TMV numerous times, and I am grateful Edmund's provides TMV. However, I think the true value of TMV is it is an "average" price paid. The article states TMV is the "exit point for price." Rather, I think shrewd buyers will find TMV to be the entry point for price knowing full well half the buyers were able to beat the TMV price.

  • jimmyp4 jimmyp4 Posts:

    I'm a big fan of TMV, and use it to set a market ceiling on price. But the key in any car purchase lies not in negotiating the price you will pay. The key is to negotiate the profit that the dealer will make. That shifts the pressure to the dealer to validate their profit margin on the vehicle. The challenge in this approach is to have a realistic sense of true dealer costs, including holdbacks and special incentives that lower the dealer's cost below the invoice. This approach is not easy, but can produce significant savings. Using this approach and being the last customer in the showroom on the last day of the quarter negotiating with a dealer that needed to sell one more car to hit a holdback threshold, I bought my 2010 Altima all-in (price, taxes, fees) for 19% less than the MSRP.

  • jaycars jaycars Posts:

    the TMV calculator page doesnt seem to be working this morning 5/5

  • kenforce kenforce Posts:

    I am eligible for the Ford "X-Plan" also known as the Partner Recognition Program. Would the TMV be a useful tool for me or would the X-Plan give me the best price?

  • shoesus11 shoesus11 Posts:

    Wonderful. Share a website with you , ( h ttp://www.shoes2.us// ) Believe you will love it. We accept any form of payment. h ttp://www.shoes2.us/Michael-Kors-Handbags-n2447/

  • mkmalls40 mkmalls40 Posts:

    input this URL: ( http://www.mkmalls.com/ ) you can find many cheap and high stuff Believe you will love it. WE ACCEPT CREDIT CARD /WESTERN UNION PAYMENT YOU MUST NOT MISS IT!!! http://www.mkmalls.com/Michael-Kors-Handbags-n2447/

  • I have a question: I want to buy a 2010 Buick Lacrosse AWD: It was loaded. Dealership wanted 20,600. I wanted to pay no more than 19,500. The TMV came out to 23,000 making this actually a good deal. Should I except 20.6 or hold my guns?

  • My wife and I have used EDMUNDS.com, including TMV, to buy our last four vehicles, two each, and two more cars for our college age daughter. In each we used EDMUNDSCOM and its TMV and received more relevant information than we found elsewhere, including and specifically, Kelly Bluebook. Kelly Blue Book's ownership is, closely held but at least partially purchased by dealerships a couple decades ago, to counter the losses of income that access to the true costs and markups, and advertising money, and dealer bonuses and discounts that the KBB gave the customer, before they made a purchase. Consequently, afterward, Edmunds became a most honest assessment of true value and true dealership costs, bought it, ergo the current difference between EDMUNDS and KELLY BB with Kelly having the higher retail and lower trade-in and owner self sell values posted. Edmunds TMV as well as all the other tools and information the make available t the customer or prospective car/truck owner selling their own vehicle, available, have helped us save thousands on some and at least $500 on each, that otherwise we may have paid. I love this site, and I buy their book at Barnes and Noble more often than not in the months before I buy and sell. Just knowing what is really going on is helpful psychology because salesmen can sense fear and insecurity. So, thanks edmunds.com. You are helping people get a good deal and helping the industry overall, because a prepared buyer will eventually force most of the old style, hard sell, lying and changing numbers after agreeing to a price, to take the buyer for everything you can, lIn Maryland for example, Antwerpen in general and Antwerpen Dodge's reputation in particular, was so bad, they had to move to another location. Thanks Guys! You are the best! Please keep up the great work.

  • kermit007 kermit007 Posts:

    When dealing with automotive salespeople there are occasions when a price is listed on the internet and this price; Is the Price & ONLY the Price, which means there is NO Negotiation. Mind You, I suggest you bring in a copy of the print out that the vehicle was listed on the Web to get the BEST PRICE. IT is LIKE PURCHASING SOMETHING "ON SALE" seriously has anyone ever purchased a TV or electronic item or Furniture that was on SALE; LISTED AS ONE PRICE, and left the the store with it cheaper than the Sale price. It is basically the same thing with an Automotive purchase; As Long As You have the Web Print Out in your hand before the deal has begun.

  • camtr0 camtr0 Posts:

    Have you ever asked a dealer how long they have had the car and if it was priced lower previously? Now you know www.marketcheck.com and it is free.

  • camtr0 camtr0 Posts:

    marketcheck.com is a free service for consumers buying a car. It lets you search the vin# of any car for sale online and shows you how long the car dealer has had the car and all the price changes. I just searched a vehicle and it showed me this dealer has had the car for over a year and it was priced $5300 less a few months ago.

Leave a Comment
ADVERTISEMENT

Featured Video

ADVERTISEMENT

Get Pre-Approved for a Car Loan

up2drive

Get Pre-Approved for a Loan


Car.com

Credit Problems?
We can help you get Financing!

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat*
Chat online with us
Email
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Phone*
Call us at 855-782-4711
SMS*
Text us at ED411