Going ‘By the Book’ in Steering Members to Automobile Sellers

Credit unions go ‘by the book’ in steering members to ‘no-haggle’ automobile sellers. To put it simply: a smart car buyer is a well-read one.


There are plenty of occasions in life when we throw out “the book.” But buying an automobile should not be one of them. To put it simply: a smart car buyer is a well-read one.

With auto loans comprising 40 percent of their average portfolio, credit unions have a major stake in their members’ automobile purchases. Research shows that nearly 70 percent of members who buy a vehicle from an independent or franchised dealer also finance the vehicle through the dealer.

Credit unions can better position themselves for securing auto loans by encouraging members to follow the book – specifically Kelley Blue Book and NADA Official Used Car Guide. In addition to recommending loan approval before they step foot on a car lot, credit union managers can be their members’ advocate by steering them to these books that not only educate but help them gain an “edge” in the car buying process.

These books are the industry standard for both buyers and sellers regarding pricing for used passenger cars, SUVs and light-duty pickup trucks. The books include trade-in, retail and high-retail values of most vehicles over the past 10 model years, including optional equipment listings.

But even when empowered with this knowledge, one of the biggest challenges many members face in buying an automobile is overcoming the fear and anxiety that accompanies negotiating a deal with such a significant financial obligation. In addition to encouraging the book research, credit unions can recommend members visit automobile dealers that take the fear out of car buying – namely, those who follow a one-price system.

For instance, more than 1,000 credit unions throughout the country are partnering with Enterprise Car Sales for numerous used car buying programs. Enterprise’s no-haggle pricing system significantly reduces members’ car buying anxiety by actually doing one better than the books:

  • All of Enterprise’s more than 120 makes and models of high-quality, late-model, ASE‑certified used vehicles are actually priced belowKelley Blue Book or NADA Official Used Car Guide.

Jack Taylor, founder of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, set up the no-haggle pricing system in 1962 because he didn’t think customers liked the negotiations aspect of the business.

In addition to providing a great option for members, credit unions benefit directly from a relationship with Enterprise Car Sales since Enterprise guarantees that credit unions receive 100 percent of used-car loans 100 percent of the time from member purchases.

Credit union managers and members should consider this tidbit from one other book, You Can Negotiate Almost Anything, by famed author and master negotiator Herb Cohen: “Our culture has programmed us to believe that the sticker price is what you’re supposed to pay. But almost no price is etched in stone.”

That is absolutely true when visiting franchised or independent car dealers that do not offer no-haggle pricing. But when going by the Kelley or NADA book, dealers who offer a one-price system are often the best buy – for both managers and members.

You can visit Kelley Blue Book at www.kbb.com; NADA Official Used Car Guide at www.nada.com; and Enterprise Car Sales at www.enterprise.com/carsales.​


This sponsored content article is provided to the credit union community for shared insights and knowledge from a recognized solutions provider in the industry. Please note that the views and opinions offered here do not reflect those of Callahan & Associates, and Callahan does not endorse vendors or the solutions they offer.

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April 18, 2005


  • Good info. Members should also comparison shop on the internet to ensure the "no-haggle" price is also competitive. Value is in the eye of the purchaser, not "the book" - check AutoTrader and others before you commit.
  • Terrific article and great value from Enterprise. Very competitive pricing. AutoTrader-too many uncertainties...
  • Good article. Don't forget about the "Black Book".
  • I always send my members to Enterprise Car Sales. They get a great value on a great car with excellent customer service. It is reasons like this that have made it the only choice for my members.
  • My impression is that 'black book' pricing..including what autos are selling at auction...is the best way to determine a vehicle's true market price.
  • Kelly Blue Book nor the NADA Book sets the true value of a vehicle. What sets the true value of a trade in or used car is what they have been bringing at an auction in the last 30 to 60 days. NO dealer will put more money in a vehicle than what can be recouped if the unit does not sell.
  • buying a used rental will be be risky. The best used vehicles to by used is ofactory off leases or true one owner purchases/trade ins. Most late model used vehicles are repos / rentals