Monday, November 29, 2021

Only Suckers Pay MSRP for New Vehicles?

Nope! Today, It's the Smart People Paying MSRP!

The most informative and “entertaining” part of my radio show, Earl on Cars, is the Mystery Shopping Report. Every week for about 20 years, I dispatch an undercover, pretend buyer of a new or used car, to a different car dealership. We report the unexpurgated results, live on the air every Saturday morning between 8 and 10 am, EST. [95.9 and 105.9 FM;,]. Dealerships are graded and displayed on our list of good dealers and bad dealers. You can check this out at 

As you know, for almost 2 years, ever since the COVID pandemic induced microchip shortage, new and used car prices have spiked to unprecedented heights.  New and used vehicles that were formerly discounted thousands of dollars below MSRP were marked up thousands of dollars above. New car buyers are, unbelievably, paying as much as $40,000 above sticker for new vehicles like a Toyota RAV4 Prime. Google “Downtown Oakland Toyota” for a recent, specific case. 

I have some good news and bad news for you. The good news is that new car prices have begun to come down; the bad news is that they’ve come down only to MSRP and only at a few dealerships. For the last 2 months my mystery shopper has discovered 4 dealerships offering to sell new cars at very close to MSRP. Interestingly, most of them have Been Ford dealerships; I’m not sure why that is. 

My advice to you is DO NOT BUY A NEW OR USED CAR UNLESS YOU MUST, for the next 30 to 90 days. If you must, insist on paying no more than MSRP. You’ll probably have to shop several car dealerships that sell the brand you want to buy. You can do this very efficiently and quickly online, or by phone if you’re not good with computers. Send the dealership this email, “I will buy the specific car we’ve discussed for its MSRP plus sales tax and license/registration (nontaxable fees only), out-the-door. I will pay you this total amount with my check and drive my new car home with no further payment. If this is agreeable to you, confirm by email and I will come in today to pick up my new car. 

Most car dealers typically add hidden fees (not nontaxable government fees but added profit to the dealer) and dealer installed accessories that are not in the advertised or quoted price. Even If some or all of these are included in the total out-the-door price, no higher than MSRP, it’s OK. You’ve accomplished your goal. 

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