Some dealerships advertise no-haggle prices, which are supposed to mean that the price you see for a vehicle is the price you’ll pay. Compared to negotiable auto pricing, the main difference of a no-haggle, or one-price, approach is that the selling price is posted or advertised up front, and anyone who buys that particular vehicle should pay the same amount. This eliminates the uncertainty that comes with haggling.
A no-haggle price can slot below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (the MSRP or window-sticker price). But in cases of vehicles in high demand and short supply, dealers sometimes set take-it-or-leave-it prices that are higher than suggested retail.
No-haggle pricing gained traction in the 1990s after GM’s Saturn brand adopted one-price selling, and consumers gave the brand high satisfaction ratings for its low-stress buying process. Some dealers who tried it, though, later backed away because some consumers would obtain a no-haggle price from one dealer and show it to another, who would then undercut it and steal the sale.
Today, chains like Costco and CarMax offer one-price selling, and transparency has increased because many dealers post prices on the internet or can text or email firm prices for a particular vehicle to shoppers.
Shoppers should be aware, though, that the price of the vehicle isn’t the only part of the transaction that affects the bottom line or might be negotiable.
For example, if a vehicle is being traded-in, there’s room for negotiation on the trade-in allowance, and some dealers may be more generous than others. Moreover, the interest rate on financing arranged through banks or finance companies is often negotiable (rates on special financing from manufacturers, such as 0 or 1.9%, typically aren’t negotiable and go only to shoppers with top-tier credit). Likewise, a dealer may set a low, no-haggle price on the vehicle but charge more for an extended warranty or dealer-installed accessories than others do.
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In addition, a no-haggle price typically doesn’t include documentation fees for processing required paperwork, taxes and other items.
A no-haggle price isn’t necessarily the lowest price available, but some shoppers get seasick just thinking about having to negotiate with a dealer. For them, buying from a dealership that provides transparent pricing up front may save time and make the process more enjoyable, even if it costs more.
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