These Are The Secret New Car & Truck Discount Programs That Could Save You Thousands

At least if you're looking to buy from one of the Big Three

2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT (New car discount programs)
Even with the programs mentioned below, it’s best to keep expectations in check — amounts, terms and applicable vehicles are always subject to change. (Image: Ford)

Even in today’s crazy car market, there are a few tricks that may land you a solid deal.

There is some nuance and technical work involved, but our friend and TFL Studios viewer Greg put together a ton of information in hope of helping people out — useful details we wanted to pass along.

A quick caveat before delving into Greg’s work and covering the Big Three’s discount programs. To the best of our knowledge, this information is correct as of February 2021. However, terms and conditions with these programs are always subject to change, including whether you qualify and how you’d go about taking advantage of the available plans. Still, and especially in light of the crazy car market over the past couple years, it’s worth managing expectations and planning your purchase decision around the full price — then hopefully working in a positive direction from there, being able to apply these discounts.

Other automakers also have discount pricing of their own, but this take focuses specifically on the Big Three: Ford, GM and Stellantis (FCA).

With that said, here is Greg’s original message below:

2022 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Longhorn Mega Cab (new car discount programs)
Greg bought a Ram 2500 Longhorn back in 2019 (an example of which is shown above). (Image: Stellantis)

Some context

First, I wanted to thank everyone at TFL for all of the media that the team puts out and information that you provide. I’ve kept up with all of the videos that get put out between all of TFL’s YouTube channels. Additionally, when I was searching for my new HD truck in 2019 the reviews that you had up regarding all of the heavy-duty trucks really helped me make an informed decision on buying my new HD (I picked up a Ram Longhorn Edition 2500 at the end of 2019).

After looking around to upgrade my fiancée’s SUV to a new truck/SUV (and from some of the videos you have put out like the biggest cojones video a couple of months ago) it looks to me like a lot of the dealers around the nation are still marking up any new inventory that may currently be on their lots to prices well over MSRP.

I know after looking for a while that this issue has not seemed to resolve itself. In fact, it has been pretty frustrating for us as we have had a tough time trying to find a vehicle from a dealership that was not outrageously priced over MSRP. While we were still looking, our parents reminded us both that our families (in the past) have used some of these programs to purchase vehicles from the FCA, Ford & GM and in each case they saved us quite a bit of money.

Here’s the idea that might make for a helpful topic to TFL watchers/members: 

My fiancée and I of course thought that these programs would have been shut down because of the supply chain, inventory, and covid problems going on with manufacturers. However, we were completely wrong. It turns out most (if not all) of these programs were still available in some form from the Big Three domestic manufacturers (Note: Some of the programs have been modified a little bit since we last used them, but they are more or less the same).

With that in mind I did a little research and decided to put together a summary of each of the Big Three’s program (in its current form from what I could tell you might want to do additional research) as it would help us get a better handle on how much we as a normal consumer could possibly save on a new Ford, FCA/Stellantis, or GM product.

FCA/Stellantis discount program:

FCA/Stellantis has the FCA Affiliate Rewards Program. This is the program that I used to purchase my Ram 2500 Laramie Longhorn in late 2019 and saved me a lot of money. It allows you to purchase up to two vehicles a year at a preferred price of 1% below factory invoice plus all current bonuses and incentives.

There are a lot of ways to get access to this program. In my case I was able to get the affiliate rewards preferred price by having an active membership with the American Paint Horse Association (APHA). I have one because my fiancée shows paint and quarter horses (and we co-own these horses).

The way this program works is that once you have a membership to the American Paint Horse Association you can access the Ram Affiliate Rewards program by calling the Ram Rodeo which will confirm your membership and issue you two items you will need before going to the dealership: 1) A FCA Affiliates Rewards Program Control Number; and 2) A letter of Authorization from the Ram Rodeo Office stating that you are entitled to use this discount program based on your active APHA membership. From there all you have to do is go to your preferred dealership that you want to use and either buy a new vehicle or order a new vehicle.

Here is the FCA US Affiliates website for more information:

Ford Escape (new car discount programs article)
Ford’s discount programs likely won’t be available for its hottest models (like the Bronco or Mustang Shelby GT500). (Image: Ford)

Ford/Lincoln discount programs:

Ford has a Ford Partner Recognition Vehicle pricing plan called the A/Z/D/X – Plans in Ford terms which give discounts for Ford and Lincoln products. The easiest of the three to get as a regular person like you or me would be the X-Plan pricing because I believe the A/D/Z pricing plans are reserved pricing for current Ford Employees and Retirees.

An example of how to obtain access to the Ford Partner Recognition Vehicle would be to join a standard member or higher tier member of the Mustang Club of America. Another example or alternative way to access the program (if you’re in Texas like me) would be to join the Coastal Conservation Association, and then register for their S.T.A.R Tournament (which is an annual fishing tournament they do down here).

A “but” to consider

That said, Ford did tighten the rules on X-Plan discount program in 2021 and now requires a 90-day waiting period for all organizations that are eligible to get X-Plan access. This means that if for example you join the Mustang Club of America, or enter the S.T.A.R Tournament, or if you can get access using any other eligible organization you have to wait those 90 days from the date of your initial membership or registration before you will be granted X-Plan full access.

However, once the 90-day period has passed you are good to go. At that point in time all you have to do is get in touch with your organization, and they should be able to send you an X-Plan personal identification number (PIN) giving you access to these discounts. That said, this waiting period does not appear to apply to any A/Z/D Plan users.

Our family has bought several Ford Trucks using the X-Plan pricing program which took a good amount off the price of our F-150’s.

That said, here is how the current discounts work for Ford from what I can tell:

  • Ford’s A or Z Plans are calculated as follows: Invoice – Holdback – Advertising Fee + a $275 program fee;
  • Ford’s D plan is calculated as follows: A Plan + $100;
  • X-Plan for Fords is calculated as follows: Dealer Invoice – (0.4% * Dealer Invoice) + (Administration Fee).
  • X-Plan on Lincolns is calculated as follows: Dealer Invoice + (0.6% * Dealer Invoice) + Administration Fee).

Additionally, each of these plans allow you to also take any cash and credit rebates when you buy or order your Ford or Lincoln product.

The only downside to using X-Plan is that it does not work for certain vehicles. Currently you can’t get the X-Plan discount on the Bronco, Mustang Shelby GT350, Mustang GT500, Mustang Bullitt or Mach 1, Ford GT, F-150 Raptor, and bigger commercial trucks (F-450 Chassis Cab, F-650, etc). However, if you have access to an A/Z/D plan you can use those plans on the purchase of any Ford product (there appear to be no restrictions).

That said, here’s some of the sites that talk about how X-Plan works (First, second and third, plus what’s below)

(Image: General Motors)

General Motors discount programs:

GM currently has five different discount programs. They are the GM Family First Discount Program, the GM Supplier Discount Program, the GM Dealership Employee Discount, the GM First Responder Discount Program and the GM Military Discount Program. That said, while it appears that there are more programs, these programs are definitely a lot more difficult to obtain when compared to getting access to a Ford and FCA/Stellantis program. 

The reason this is the case is because each program has its own set of special requirements that you have to meet in order to get access to that specific program. However, if you meet those requirements, you can be issued a GM Authorization Number that entitles you to use that specific GM Discount Program. I’m aware of this program because my fiancée’s father (Mike) purchased his 2018 Chevrolet truck under the GM Family First Discount as his brother-in-law (Don) worked for GM’s infotainment division in Austin. In that case all Don had to do was send an e-mail to the administrator of the discount program, and ask for a GM Authorization number be issued to Mike.

From what I was told the discount off MSRP was substantial and was very close to what the dealer invoice price was plus any available incentives plus a $200 delivery fee. However, I don’t have too much information about pricing under the other programs GM has.

That said, here are some sites you might want to check out with regards to GM Discount Programs (one is a GM Supplier Discount page).

Additionally, GM has a Master Card that you can apply for which sets cashback rewards aside that can be used to take money off the price of a new GM product. I’m including this but not sure it’s really a discount program per se.

Update 2/15/2022: A previous version of this article referred to Mike’s truck as a 2019 GMC Sierra — it’s actually a 2018 Chevrolet Silverado.