Costco describes its Costco Auto Program as a member-focused auto-buying service that offers prearranged pricing on new and select pre-owned vehicles, RVs, motorcycles and powersports products. The program offers discounts on auto parts, service and accessories for U.S. Costco members. Affinity Auto Program has operated the program since its inception in 1989.
According to numbers released from Costco, the program is doing well. Costco said in a March 27 news release that members purchased more than 650,000 vehicles through the program’s participating dealerships and during its limited-time specials with vehicle manufacturers in 2018.
Costco said the Costco Auto Program sales numbers marked an increase of more than 25 percent compared to 2017. The program significantly outpaced total industry sales, which increased 0.6 percent, the company said, sourcing a Jan. 3 article in Automotive News.
The company’s holiday sales event with GM was its largest limited-time special last year. That event showed a 22-percent increase over 2017 sales.
Costco attributes the continued growth shown in the company-record total unit sales for the program overall and company-record total unit sales during the three-month holiday sales event to “the great value and top-notch service provided to Costco members before, during and after the purchase process.”
Certified pre-owned vehicles are a strong part of the program, with low, prearranged pricing on CPO vehicles, according to the company. More than 82 percent of all purchases through the program are new vehicles, followed by CPO vehicles at almost 16 percent.
Costco said delivering strong value and a good experience by supplying the tools necessary to make an informed buying decision and providing confidence in the value they receive as a Costco member is the program’s mission. Costco members receive a discount on most of the parts, service and accessories at participating automotive service centers.
For the everyday program and the holiday sales event with GM, SUVs are the overall top-performing segment, making up 47 percent of unit sales during the holiday sales event. Trucks, at 37 percent, were the second-best-performing segment.
For the everyday program, however, SUV sales represented 58 percent of sales and trucks only 8 percent.
Costco plans for the program to grow and expand in 2019, with several promotions and member-only incentives in the works. The program plans to add to its team, which currently includes more than 300 employees.
Editor's note: Update to correct employee expansion.