Everyone loves getting a new (or used) car. That smell, a change of pace, an upgrade from their old car. But one thing I think very few people enjoy about the process is the process of haggling for a price. When we started Used Cars On-Line, one of the founding principals was that it was used cars for sale by owner. The reason for that was because buying from a dealer was traditionally a lot different then buying from a private seller. Dealers always felt like sharks, charging more and selling us lemons, while in a private party transaction it’s never as clear who has the advantage. However, as Automotive News points out in a recent article, more dealerships are moving away from the game of haggling.
Since the advent of the Internet, consumers have had more and more ways to research vehicles pricing, trim etc… We no longer take the dealer on his word that “power locks” were an option on this model. We can look up a VIN and tell you everything that shipped with the car, what country it was made in, and if it’s ever been in an accident. It’s very easy to use Edmunds or KBB to determine exactly what a car should sell for. Therefore, the game of haggling is largely disappearing. I think for a while everyone has known that the buyer would plan on “talking down” a dealer, and so if the dealer wanted to sell for $10,000, they would price it at $11,500 so the person felt like they got a deal. However, in the world of Internet search, someone charging $11,500 and planning on being talked down doesn’t look as appealing as someone offering a flat “no haggle” $10,500. One can only hope this means that cars will be sold like all other appliances in our life, but I’m sure the people that love haggling will miss this piece of car buying tradition.