So, as many of you know, I'm chasing up a couple cars for my wife, one a Mercedes, one a Mazda. I complained about the Mazda dealers' business model in the corona thread, but thought it deserved its own topic.
Around here, the Mazda dealers do not negotiate at all. None of them. They are all owned by 2-3 dealership families, and they basically all offer the exact same, piss-poor discounts on the cars. We are talking sub-$500 discounts on base CX-5s that sticker around $27k, and currently a laughable $750 discount on a $40,000 Signature trim.
Damn near sticker price on everything. I mean, these are run of the mill everyday dime a dozen cars, not ///Ms or AMGs.
When you go to their websites, you are bombarded with the garbage spiel about "the lowest possible price for everyone" blah blah blah like they are doing everyone a favor, probably profiting $6k-$8k on a Signature being sold near sticker once you factor in holdback, volume bonuses, etc. If you were to ask them "Do you negotiate, yes or no, simple answer please" you would still get the long-winded bullsh!t spiel.
I sum this business model up as follows: a modest (or in Mazda's case, paltry) discount for everyone, so nobody gets a great deal and the people that didn't do their homework and deserve to get screwed can get warm feels about their deal even though the discount is still tiny. That's how I have always thought about it. I've typically gotten $6k-$7k off cars, even special orders, without much effort at all really, so this business model absolutely sucks for me. And I'm by no means someone who will sit around all day over $500 on a deal. But for my lark of a friend who doesn't know anything and doesn't do his homework at all, and has no balls to even send an email price quote inquiry, it's great?
I mean honestly, a single email or five minutes on the phone is usually enough to get a much better price than whatever is listed, yet people are still somehow terrified to even do this? It takes no effort to get a price at a negotiating dealer that beats all the non-negotiating dealers, if you can find that fragmentation in a given geographical area - around here, most of the VW dealers in the area negotiate, but one doesn't. Right off the bat, the prices on the negotiating dealers' sites are better, and a simple email nets an even better price, and it's legit. So who is buying from the non-negotiating dealer when the other one is 10 miles away?
I have a strong distaste for this business model, because it's clear that it has only ever cropped up not to serve customers, but to serve the dealers and make them more money. I also can't help but feel the dealers in the area for a given manufacturer are all colluding, whether by actually talking to each other, or just by watching each other's sites and pricing their stuff to match exactly. I'm not saying dealers shouldn't make a profit, of course they should. But telling customers the absolute most they can discount a $40k car is $750 is laughable and I could never tell a customer that with a straight face, so there's a bit of an ethical aspect of it to me too. It's like you have all these people at the dealer paying near sticker. It's not that everyone got the lowest price, it's that everyone pretty much got screwed equally.
I mean if someone wants a no hassle, supposedly stress free purchase, they are more than welcome to just walk in and pay sticker while those of us capable of doing some basic legwork can get an accordingly more substantial discount. We don't need a "no negotiation" business model where the dealers act like they are doing us some grand favor while they laugh all the way to the bank. Sadly, I'm pretty sure the entire industry is going this way.
I understand that the dealer's job is to make as much money as possible, and it's all about what the market will bear, but that only goes so far because the dealers know the average consumer is terrified and will just pay whatever the dealer lists it for, so to me, this is actually sort of taking advantage of that situation and wrapping up a sh!t sandwich with a gold bow on it. Saying that $750 off a $40k dime a dozen car is the lowest possible price is just a flat out lie.
It just feels like catering to the lowest common denominator, like having to go slow in school because one kid is slower than everyone else. So because nobody can do their homework on the second largest purchase they will ever make, those of us who do, end up having to suffer so we can pander to the lowest common denominator.