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After a really rough car market in 2022, there are some signs of improvement for buyers shopping for a new car this year. For some brands, inventory is improving and there are dealers looking to “clear out” older inventory. But just because you might see deals advertised under MSRP, doesn’t mean discounts are really back.
For the longest time, it was almost unheard of to even pay sticker price on a “regular” car like a Nissan sedan or Toyota crossover, then the inventory shortages hit limiting supply. This created a market where sale prices above MSRP were common, and sticker price deal was usually the best-case scenario.
In the past few weeks, I have seen dealers start to be a little more flexible with their pricing. Cars like Kia Tellurides with markups that used to command upwards of $10,000 over MSRP were being sold with more “reasonable” premiums of $2,000 to $3,000. Some stores with less popular cars like compact sedans were willing to throw small discounts on the hood to get them off the lot. I’ve even started to see more stores advertise deals under MSRP, a sign that we may be returning to some kind of “normal” car market.
But not so fast, once you look at the details you find that these are just the classic “stealership” tactics used to get someone in the door only for them to find out the online price is not quite what they expected.
I was recently searching for an affordable manual sedan for a customer who wanted a commuter car with three pedals. I came across this VW Jetta listing in UT that seemed promising. A brand new Jetta manual advertised about $900 off.
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Then I see the fine print (emphasis mine)
“Pricing is after a trade incentive of $1000 with Dealer Arranged financing of at least 90% of sale price, which may be through VW Credit at non-subsidized APR, required.”
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