The dealer won't deal!
September 24, 2007 9:22 AM   Subscribe

All the Toyota dealers in my region (Quebec/Canada) have a no haggling policy. The salesman just gives you the price from their webside and that's it. Anyone managed to get them to lower their price? Are they more flexible by the end of the month?
posted by racingjs to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total)
I dealt with this at a MINI Cooper dealership a few years ago. Back then, at least, there was a waiting list for new MINIs, so there was no deal to be had - if you wanted it, you paid the sticker price. I tried to even get a couple of 'fees' knocked down, but no luck with that either.

A quick Google also came up with this, but it is quite old.
posted by shinynewnick at 10:01 AM on September 24, 2007

It's partially a function of demand, they do it because they can, and Toyota policy. My experience was exactly the same in Ottawa 3 years ago, fwiw.

I did manage to get about a thousand dollars (list) of extras thrown in but that was as far as the sales person would go.

Have you tried fleet sales? If you are consultant (or can fake being one), you can sometimes get deals this way. Fax or email a spec sheet to the fleet person at the dealership and ask for a best price quote. Try a couple of dealers.
posted by bonehead at 10:12 AM on September 24, 2007

Oh, also, trade-in values are negotiable at Toyota. If the sales person won't give you a better vehicle price (which his manager may not allow), as if you can talk about how much you'll get for your trade-in. Of course, this only works if you have an older vehicle to trade.
posted by bonehead at 10:15 AM on September 24, 2007

My understanding is that they won't budge on the price but they'll usually haggle extras and a trade-in. Otherwise they'd be breaking their marketing stance.
posted by Octoparrot at 10:17 AM on September 24, 2007

Are they all offering the same price? Wouldn't that be price-fixing?
posted by Gungho at 10:22 AM on September 24, 2007

I think, Gungho, that price-fixing requires more than one producer to be involved: two or more companies that are normally competitors colluding to set prices together.
posted by not that girl at 10:33 AM on September 24, 2007

The dealers band together in packs to maintain their margins. They have a monopoly on supply, so why should they want to compete against each other on price? to Gungho's comment, it's not price fixing because they are selling at the MSRP, and there's no collusion between suppliers (i.e. Toyota and Mazda).

This is the same reason you'll see ads for Toyota specials "in your area" - it's not Toyota offering the special, it's the dealer network.

It wouldn't surprise me if the dealer had to commit to certain sales policies as part of their franchise acquisition.

I used to work for the ad agency that handles the domestic GM (i.e. Chevy, GMC etc) account in Canada, we'd regularly host meetings of their dealer groups, and I was involved in a couple of rewrites of the current offers functionality of Your postal code defines your dealer region.
posted by lowlife at 10:35 AM on September 24, 2007

The no-haggle pricing policy is a result of decades of bitter customer complaints that the car-buying experience was worse than medieval dentistry. No-haggle pricing may mean everyone pays a bit more, but it also means nobody has to drive away wondering how much they just got screwed compared to the next guy. If you enjoy battling for every dollar and arguing over floormats, please go to a dealership that still plays the game. Beyond negotiating a trade-in value, don't expect a no-haggle dealer to make an exception for you and blow the trust of all their other customers.
posted by Tubes at 10:50 AM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

Dealerships only care about one thing: maximizing how much you pay for the vehicle. They want to ride the demand curve such that you pay as much as you are willing for your car. The "no-haggle" price will be the maximum that the market can bear. However, that is probably going to be distinct from the maximum you can bear (which I imagine is less because otherwise you wouldn't be posting here). If you can convince the dealer that you will pay a lesser amount that still gets profit for them, but not a greater amount, they will figure out a way to make that happen (it's their business!). That might be via financing, trade-in, fees, "free" extras, etc. I don't think you will get a reduction in price for the reasons Tubes lists, but you can try for that either. In the end, the only price that should matter to you is the net price of the vehicle. My suggested strategy would be to fax or email the fleet sales division of the dealer and say, "I am willing to pay $xx,xxx for y vehicle configured as z. I am not interested in how this is arranged. Can you meet such a price or not?" Send the fax/email to every dealer you can find. That'll tell you pretty quickly what your chances are.
posted by saeculorum at 11:54 AM on September 24, 2007

The generally accepted way to haggle at "no haggle" dealerships is via the value of your trade-in.

If you don't have a trade in, you may be stuck, since there aren't a lot of other places with 'wiggle room' for them to deal, if they're barred from negotiating the actual price.

The alternative might be to consider pre-owned cars; even dealerships that won't negotiate on new cars tend to have fewer scruples regarding used ones. That means you can sometimes give them a good chiseling if you know what you're doing. Buying gently pre-owned (18-24 mos. or less) generally is a losing proposition on Japanese cars versus American ones, but it might be worth it if you can get a good deal.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:10 PM on September 24, 2007

Anti-competitive behaviour can be difficult to determine. In this case, I don't think that they are acting in an anti-competitive manner. While the dealers sell the same products, they are in reality competitors.

Despite none of the dealers moving on the retail price, the facts are that they stick to the MSRP and may negotiate in the value of the trade-in and on extras implies. This implies that they are not mis-using their market power.

On the other hand, if all of the dealers met and agreed to set a non-negotiable price greater than MSRP, then they could be mis-using their market power with competitors.

I'd suggest getting quotes from a number of dealers which include any extras that you'd like and take the best deal. I'd not even attempt to negotiate further and you'd reward the dealer which puts the best offer forward.

If all quotes are identical, then I'd consider contacting your local government department responsible for fair trade, but don't expect a favourable outcome.
posted by dantodd at 1:42 PM on September 24, 2007

There is another option that you might want to explore...I read a news article recently about the tremendous savings to be had (for Canadians who choose to purchase their new car in the USA instead.)

One buyer purchased a Toyota Sienna van and saved around $6,000 - and Toyota Canada will honor the warranty even if purchased in the USA.

The article mentioned car dealers in Burlington VT who are now dealing with Canadians on a regular basis.
posted by DonM at 10:36 AM on September 26, 2007

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