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Old 12-17-2008, 10:11 AM   #121
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Was Saturn's no-haggle policy a success in any measurable way?

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From the standpoint of this customer, it definitely was.
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Old 12-17-2008, 10:26 AM   #122
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Was Saturn's no-haggle policy a success in any measurable way?
I've never purchased a Saturn, but I've purchased two new cars from a local 'no-haggle' dealership group. It was definitely a much better customer experience than buying from a traditional dealership. I didn't even feel like I needed a shower after leaving their lot.

The group has Honda, Acura, Chevy, Nissan, Infinity, Pontiac, and Buick dealerships and has been around for almost 20 years, so it must be working for them.
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Old 12-17-2008, 10:28 AM   #123
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I've never purchased a Saturn, but I've purchased two new cars from a local 'no-haggle' dealership group. It was definitely a much better customer experience than buying from a traditional dealership. I didn't even feel like I needed a shower after leaving their lot.
There are certain types of people who enjoy haggling. Personally, I can't stand it. If I feel like I'm really getting the best reasonable price a dealership can offer on a no-haggle basis, I'd much prefer that to the teeth pulling of repeatedly making an offer and "checking with the manager" for acceptance or a counteroffer.
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Old 12-17-2008, 10:36 AM   #124
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So, what *do* they know? They must have some guideline other than "get the most you can from the customer", and then check with me to see if I'll OK it ( the infamous - 'let me run this by my manager')? Seems to me if they don't have a a target, they would have no idea where/when to stop the haggling and would be wasting their own time. For example, if the last hour of haggling was spent debating a price that was $500 below what the manager would authorize, that was all wasted time on both side.

Not adding up for me, maybe I'm missing something? Or maybe I'm better understanding why this industry is in trouble?

Was Saturn's no-haggle policy a success in any measurable way?

-ERD50
The salesperson has some idea of what the car will sell for based on the other cars that were sold prior. But at certain times of the month based on many factors such as new programs from the manufacturer or too many cars of that brand in stock that number can change.

Most salespeople get paid a flat $50 or $75 for selling the car. In most cases they are on the customers side so they can sell the car and move on. But they have to deal with a manager, they are the only one authorized to sign off on the deal.

Saturn's policy never did work, instead of lowering the price they would throw things in to make the deal. Like and alarm or free oil changes for one year. This was because the customers didn't want to pay list price.

Wouldn't it be nice and easy if everyone knew exactly what they wanted, paid list price as soon as they walked in. No matter what price you give someone when they walk in to the dealer it's always no good and the customer want's more off. So if you told someone as a joke a price $1000 below what the car cost the dealer they still think there's more room in the price. It's easier to show the customer the invoice and agree on a price from there.
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Old 12-17-2008, 10:49 AM   #125
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We bought a used car from a no-haggle dealer chain (AutoNation) about 8 years ago. It was great. The price was firm, though there was a little haggling over add-ins ("We'd like the car, but really want one with tinted windows." "Okay, we'll include that in the price") We got a short no-questions exchange period and a one-year service warrantee in the deal. Though we could probably have saved a couple of thousand by going with a private party, I felt I got good value for my money and the process was all above board and painless. I think the company had financial trouble and now the name is just a badge for a conglomeration of regular used car dealers. Too bad, as I would have been a repeat customer.
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Old 12-17-2008, 10:49 AM   #126
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Was Saturn's no-haggle policy a success in any measurable way?

-ERD50
I think the fact that they are the only domestic car company to start up and become successful (at least until GM decided bought them out and and then in 2000 decided saturn wasn't running things the GM way(profitably?) and they had better engineering employees and manufacturing plants so they might as well just slap a saturn badge on some GM cars) it worked pretty well.
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Old 12-17-2008, 10:51 AM   #127
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It's easier to show the customer the invoice and agree on a price from there.
I guess that might work if the invoice was the dealer's true cost.
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Old 12-17-2008, 10:52 AM   #128
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Wouldn't it be nice and easy if everyone knew exactly what they wanted, paid list price as soon as they walked in.
I don't always know what I want before I go into a showroom to buy it (I thought that was what showrooms were for, so show us what the merchandise looks like to help us decide what we want?), but for everything other than cars and homes people expect to pay the price that is on the item--furniture, computers, carpeting, appliances, furnaces, whatever, all infrequent purchases just as cars are.

I'm sure some people haggle over some of the above item but it is not the standard way of doing business like buying a car always is.

I look at the current "red tag" ads for Chevies, where a Malibu for example is tagged at $2,000 below the MRSP and think, what does that red tag price even mean? Are the dealers still planning to come down a little to get the sale? I don't know. And now you tell us the salespeople themselves don't even know what a car's price is.

Like others I would love to go into a car dealer, look at the cars, point at the one I want (and one reason I like Hondas--I know other mfrs. are the same--is that you don't have a lot of options to consider and price out), look at the price on the car, hand over the check, and pick the car up when it is ready. That's the way we buy everything else.

I have a lot of sympathy for anyone working in the auto industry, 73ss--and the method of car buying (prices not set in stone, process takes a long time, a lot of layers of staff get involved) probably isn't going to change, unfortunately. It's too bad when the process, which you're telling us is justified, becomes an obstacle and causes a customer who was ready to buy to just walk out the door, like Andy did.
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Old 12-17-2008, 10:55 AM   #129
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73ss454, thanks for the reply.

It appears to me though, that this confirms that time is wasted on both sides. It's not very efficient to negotiate a deal, when you don't know what authority you really have as a negotiator. Having 'some idea' what the price limit is, and throwing in the moving target of all those factors you listed on top of a vague estimate to begin with - it just does not make good business sense.


AS far as paying list price when you walk in - it happens all the time on very many high ticket items. The car industry created this problem, you can't whine that the customer now expects it, when that is what they were trained to expect.

I've done the 'fleet sale' thing before (IIRC, my Credit Union sponsored it). I knew full well I could probably negotiate a better deal, but I really liked walk in, get a price based on a list of pre-determined costs, write a check, drive away. I'm certain I'm not alone.

So, who would a dealer lose to a no-haggle policy? The guy who wants to undercut everything and will go to the chain for his oil changes and service? Doesn't sound like any big loss.

I'm getting the impression that those in the auto business can't see the forest for the trees.

-ERD50
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Old 12-17-2008, 11:35 AM   #130
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If the salesperson is going to make the $50 or $75 when they sell the car they wouldn't really care what the car sold for. So the price is determined by a manager who has to make sure the salesperson doesn't give the car away.

Every dealer in the world would love a no haggle policy. In NY where I worked it was called price fixing if all the dealers got together and agreed on a firm price.

ERD50, you say the car industry caused the problem of haggling. I disagree, the customers are the one's who demanded lower prices not the dealers. The dealers just had to do what they had to do to sell the car.

Every dealer is trying to get the edge over the the other dealers in that area. One opens up on Sunday they all open up on Sunday and so on. But as I said it's against the law to price fix so this process will not stop until the law is changes.

It would be a wonderful business if things were sold at list price and the dealers couldn't negotiate the price.
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Old 12-17-2008, 11:39 AM   #131
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Bestwifeever, if you are retired why don't you have a little fun. Go down to your local dealer and apply for a salesjob. It's easy to get the only requirement is that you can fog a mirror.

Stay there for one week and let's have this talk again.
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Old 12-17-2008, 11:40 AM   #132
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Every dealer in the world would love a no haggle policy. In NY where I worked it was called price fixing if all the dealers got together and agreed on a firm price.
That's just dumb. "Fixed pricing" is not "price fixing." Yes, if all the dealers collude to set a price, that is illegal. If one dealer tells its mangers that prices are not negotiable, then that's "fixed pricing." Same as we do on home appliances and 90% of the rest of the stuff we buy.
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Old 12-17-2008, 11:47 AM   #133
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That's just dumb. "Fixed pricing" is not "price fixing." Yes, if all the dealers collude to set a price, that is illegal. If one dealer tells its mangers that prices are not negotiable, then that's "fixed pricing." Same as we do on home appliances and 90% of the rest of the stuff we buy.
If one dealer in an area of other dealers set a fixed price he/she would be out of business in just a few months.
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Old 12-17-2008, 11:59 AM   #134
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If one dealer in an area of other dealers set a fixed price he/she would be out of business in just a few months.
Only if the other dealers are willing to always haggle below that price.
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Old 12-17-2008, 12:01 PM   #135
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Only if the other dealers are willing to always haggle below that price.
With all due respect, are you kidding me.
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Old 12-17-2008, 12:09 PM   #136
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If one dealer in an area of other dealers set a fixed price he/she would be out of business in just a few months.
That might be true because the dealer can make up for low margin sales that increase volume by making more profit on sales to less capable buyers. It’s also true that business transactions are often not “fair”.
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Old 12-17-2008, 12:14 PM   #137
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If the salesperson is going to make the $50 or $75 when they sell the car they wouldn't really care what the car sold for. So the price is determined by a manager who has to make sure the salesperson doesn't give the car away.
And this is done by the manager *not* telling the salesperson what that price is? I don't see how you can say this is efficient. It's ridiculous.

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Every dealer in the world would love a no haggle policy. In NY where I worked it was called price fixing if all the dealers got together and agreed on a firm price.
As samclem pointed out - big difference. The fact that you don't see that is making me stand by my 'forest/trees' comment.


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Every dealer is trying to get the edge over the the other dealers in that area. One opens up on Sunday they all open up on Sunday and so on.
In every other industry, that is called 'competition' and a 'free market'. It seems to work.

Quote:
ERD50, you say the car industry caused the problem of haggling. I disagree, the customers are the one's who demanded lower prices not the dealers. The dealers just had to do what they had to do to sell the car.

It would be a wonderful business if things were sold at list price and the dealers couldn't negotiate the price.
So customers who buy furnaces, computers, etc, don't want the lowest price? Yet, most of these are sold at the pre-set 'tag price'. That is not 'price fixing' - Best Buy can set one tag price, and Circuit City another. But most people don't go into a big-box store and ask to see the dealer invoice on a flat screen TV and then offer them X% above that. The pay the tag price.

You just are not making sense. The difference is not the customer - same customers. The difference is the industry. How can you blame the customer, when they are the same customer?

-ERD50
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Old 12-17-2008, 12:15 PM   #138
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Only if the other dealers are willing to always haggle below that price.
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With all due respect, are you kidding me.
Sounds like you are saying that "everybody is above average".

And that Saturn must have never sold a single car - how could they?

-ERD50
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Old 12-17-2008, 12:17 PM   #139
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I haven't seen the carpet companies, pool/spa companies, electronics companies, appliance stores, and art galleries all going out of business even though they sell items just as expensive for a fixed price.
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Old 12-17-2008, 12:17 PM   #140
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ERD50, amazing that you don't understand the other side of this but it is what it is.

I think you could also use a week at the dealer.
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