Originally Posted by Ron Scott
There is still a good deal of gamesmanship going on these days however. In reviewing your fees above in comparison to what I encountered on Long Island I see you're paying $450 for registration (I paid $75), a $150 "dealer admin fee" (I paid no such fee) and $400 for MACO (I paid $300). But I paid $950 over invoice, so the net is about the same.
Asking the dealer "how much do you want to make above invoice" sounds like you're driving the deal but is not the best approach to negotiating IMO. You can start with a discussion like that to clarify that you know "invoice" pricing, but what you want to do is compare TOTAL PRE-TAX or POST-TAX prices among several dealers and let each one know that's the approach you're taking to avoid the "fees game".
MACO is different for different parts of the country. For Cali, it's $400. The fees are always so high here.
The registration fee is only really high cuz it's freaking Cali. If it were anywhere else it would most likely be less. This fee is dictated by the state, I actually priced it on the DMV website before I went to pay for my car to make sure the fees aligned.
Also, the dealer admin. fee is allowed by the state of California, it can be no more than $150 so most dealers milk it here.
I think, in general, the there were no real fees game as California has really high prices and taxes. The sales tax for where I live is 8.75% and next year will be 9.75%. At least it's better than some cities that are 10% now and going to be 10-12% next year.