The Ford Focus RS is the new king of hot hatchbacks, and with a starting price of $35,900, it shouldn’t break the bank. But once the dealers add their inevitable markups, its value proposition starts to diminish. However, it is possible to get your RS without overpaying for it, and you might even be able to pick it up at your local dealer.
Ever since Focus RS orders opened, I started getting emails from readers asking if I could work my magic and get them one for dealer invoice price. I’m good at negotiating deals, but I’m not a wizard that can alter the state of supply and demand economics. New car plus tons of hype equals markups.
Recently I was contacted by a man in California who had become frustrated with his local dealers telling him that if he wanted to buy an RS locally he was looking at a $10,000 dealer markup. He said he was willing to pay sticker price, but not a dollar more. He was even willing to pay the shipping cost to California if it meant avoiding the ridiculous markups from his local dealers.
Now I’m sure someone on a Focus RS forum is bragging to the internet on how they got their RS below MSRP, but that is not what I was contracted to do.Even still, I wasn’t totally confident that I could even hit this target.
But by some combination of good dealership connections and luck, I was not only able to get him a factory ordered 2017 Focus RS, but my client didn’t even have to pay for shipping. Here is how I did it and with a bit of legwork and determination. Maybe you can replicate my success.
Step 1: Find a Ford dealer that sells a lot of cars
The first battle you have to fight availability. It doesn’t matter how good the dealer is, if they don’t have a car to sell you or can’t get one, you have to move on to someone else.
I’ve worked with dozens of Ford dealers across the country on a variety of deals. So I pulled out all my contacts and started making calls to see who could help me out. Most of the salespeople wanted to hook me up, but because they worked for smaller stores they didn’t have any available allocations left for 2017.
Dealers that sell a high volume of cars are more likely to get a larger number of RS allocations. So I focused on the dealers near the major cities that move a ton of units. But even if you find a store that can get you a car, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will sell it to you for a fair price.
Step 2: Talk to the fleet manager
A few of my contacts in the northeast had open allocations or incoming cars, but still insisted on taking advantage of the supply and demand that favored the dealers. One gentleman told me, “We usually put a $10,000 markup on the RS, but for your customer, we will only do $7,000 over sticker.” I politely declined the offer.
I caught a break when I reached out to a Pennsylvania dealer that recently helped me out on an F-150 order. He was the fleet manager and had access to an open allocation and wasn’t interested in putting a markup on the car.
Fleet managers are typically compensated differently than your on the floor salesperson. The fleet folks care much more about selling a lot of units than making a profit on one car and therefore are more likely to set up a favorable RS deal if they can get one.
Now here is where this situation took a surprising turn. Not only was this manager able to get a 2017 RS order and sell it for MSRP, he informed me that he could “drop ship” the order to a local dealer in California and my customer would not even have to pay for shipping. The actual transaction would go through the Pennsylvania store, but he would coordinate with another fleet manager on the West Coast to arrange for a courtesy delivery and finalize the paperwork. Not bad, huh?
Step 3: Take delivery of your RS and don’t be stupid
As the 2017 Focus RS orders start to fill, availability will begin to shrink. If you act fast, and put the work in, you might just manage to get the most insane performance hatchback on the market, without completely raiding your bank account. If you’re lucky, you may be able to pick it up at dealer near your hometown.
Once you get your car, please don’t be “that guy” on the internet and drift mode your RS off a cliff or into a crowd of people. Leave that kind of stuff for the Mustang people.