What is the advertising assessment fee?

The 2013 Ford Escape I ordered has an advertising assessment fee of $481 on the invoice. What is that?

Ford is one of several manufacturers that include regional advertising fees on the dealer invoice of each vehicle shipped to dealers (GM, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota are among others). These fees help pay for regional advertising and promotional campaigns and can vary by region and by vehicle within the same brand.


Now that you know what it is, should you pay it?

We would prefer that dealers give us an all-inclusive price that includes advertising fees and any vehicle preparation fees (which are included in the dealer's invoiced price from the manufacturer) so we can compare the bottom-line figure to offers from other dealers.

What's more, manufacturers may give all or part of those advertising fees back to the dealer later on or as an incentive based on sales volume. Are dealers going to contact you after the sale to share any of those kickbacks with you? Don't bank on it.

On a new and high-demand model such as the Escape, we wouldn't expect much of a discount below MSRP. If a vehicle is in really high demand, so much so that there is a waiting list to get one, we wouldn't be surprised to see some dealers try to charge more than MSRP, whether by adding dealer-installed accessories, an advertising fee or that old standby, ADP (additional dealer profit). Dealers are free to charge whatever the market will bear, so if any price is more than you believe you should pay, you have a good reason to keep shopping.

Learn more

Answered by Rick Popely on April 14, 2013 in How Does That Work? | Permalink

Search Results

Ask.cars.com Search Results for


See if your question has already been asked and answered

Thank You!

Your question has been successfully submitted to Ask.cars.com. It will now be reviewed by our editors and we'll answer it soon if we think it's a useful question. You will be notified via e-mail when the answer is posted. Ask.cars.com tackles your questions about new cars and the car-buying process. Unfortunately we can't answer questions regarding:

  • Used cars.
  • Most aftermarket products.
  • Mechanical issues. You can visit our friends at Car Talk to discuss your mechanical problems.
Thanks for your interest.


Have our experts answer any of your questions about new cars.

Email us at tips@cars.com

Maintenance Advice
Get answers from the
Car Talk Community