Normally Astute American Car Buyers Just Pay Whatever: AutoNation, Largest Auto Dealer in the US


This market is hopefully going to make deal-hunters realize that “what the dealer paid for the car, minus all the incentives and rebates the dealer can claim on the car” is not, and has never been, the default starting point for good-faith negotiations.

All the people that say “I’ll never buy/lease without at least an X % dealer discount” are just literally being ghosted by the dealers.

Especially on a lease: the total sum of your payments, compared to the total sum of payments from competing sellers on competitive cars, are all you need to shop a fair deal relative to the market. Always has been true.

Tools to help calculate the dealer’s bottom-line are not less accurate in this market, they’re just less helpful than they’ve ever been.

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I’m not even talking about imaginary discounts, when prices are deliberately overstated and then, as it were, they make a discount and the person pays the full amount, as planned. Discounts completely shut down critical thinking.

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Agreed - benchmarking what dealer discounts based on what we see across the market, with a sprinkle of good timing, in some cases, is the way to go. I have never found ‘invoice’ to be useful when doing my own negotiations.

As to the article, scarcity, whether real or perceived, when hyped up by media coverage, drives people to do foolish things. The gas pipeline hack was a good example…or the runs on meat during the covid lockdown etc.