Car dealers continue to mark up vehicles beyond the sticker price

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With limited numbers of cars, some dealers feel like they are in the driver’s seat

Consumers who want to purchase a new car or truck are having to dig deeper into their pockets as an increasing number of dealers are adding thousands of dollars to the sticker price.

Auto manufacturers, notably Ford and GM, have asked dealers not to do this, fearing a consumer backlash against the brand. But dealers are independent businesses, and some told the Wall Street Journal that they are selling fewer cars and must increase profits on each sale.

In some extreme cases, buyers have discovered that the most popular vehicles on the lot are selling for as much as $40,000 above the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). Dealers say there is no shortage of people willing to pay it. In January, 80% of new car buyers paid over the sticker price.

In one ConsumerAffairs review, Steve, of Beverly Hills, Calif., wrote that he “verbally” agreed to pay the sticker price for a 2021 Range Rover and waited nine months for the car to arrive. When the car arrived at the dealer, he said a salesman called him to tell him the price had gone up by $40,000.

“Before I even had a chance to get to the dealership to discuss the price he sold it to someone who was willing to pay the 40k over,” Steve wrote in his review. “I waited 9 months for nothing!!!” 

Buyers in revolt

According to the Journal, car buyers are in revolt. It recounted the efforts of one buyer who flew to a dealership 300 miles away to get the car he wanted at a reasonable price. Karl Brauer, executive analyst at iSeeCars.com, says making that kind of effort is increasingly necessary.

“If you can expand your search from a five or 10-mile radius around your house to a 100 or 200-mile range you can greatly expand your opportunities,” Brauer told ConsumerAffairs in a recent interview. 

Brauer points out that if you have to travel six hours round trip to save $1,200 on a car, you’re gaining around $200 an hour.

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