No-dicker sticker: It’s back

There have been so many battles in the automobile business over the years that most have been forgotten.

But not too long ago, there was a controversy among dealers about how to price a new car.

Lexus, Infiniti and then Saturn had told their dealers that they could not cut the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Sure, there was a little haggling room for the value of the trade-in, but by and large, dealers stuck by their guns and sold those new cars for sticker.

That was the start of the no-dicker sticker.

Some dealers took it a step further. They put another price on the car — somewhere between the invoice price and the MSRP — and wouldn’t negotiate with the customer. Some dealers were very successful while others abandoned the idea as unworkable. But the dealers who have stayed with the no-dicker sticker swear by it and claim it has been very successful.

Later, Mercedes-Benz just about force- fed its dealers the no-dicker sticker. Mercedes cut the dealer discount rate to the point that there was practically no room for any negotiation. That’s one way to force your dealers to accept a new pricing strategy.

Now it looks as if Chrysler is edging its

way into a no-dicker sticker. Chrysler execs must have liked the results that their sister company has achieved.

The no-dicker sticker was part of what Ford was trying to accomplish when it went into certain markets and bought dealer-ships. Perhaps Jim Schroer, Chrysler’s exec in charge of sales and marketing, brought the no-dicker sticker concept from Ford.

I’m a fan of the concept of the no-dicker sticker, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all concept. Except maybe at DaimlerChrysler. It will be interesting to see if it gives Chrysler’s retailers an advantage or a disadvantage.

Somebody once told me that $50 in the marketplace made a real difference. If dealers aren’t able to do what has to be done in their own markets, then they will have a problem.

The one-size-fits-all approach is fairly tough on the smaller-market dealers across the country. Often they need the wider margins so they can make a deal with their customers who have an unrealistic idea of what their trade-in is worth.

It’s a competitive market. If you unilaterally make it tougher for dealers to compete, then it could be an interesting, but bloody, experiment.

0

Shares

ATTENTION COMMENTERS: Over the last few months, Automotive News has monitored a significant increase in the number of personal attacks and abusive comments on our site. We encourage our readers to voice their opinions and argue their points. We expect disagreement. We do not expect our readers to turn on each other. We will be aggressively deleting all comments that personally attack another poster, or an article author, even if the comment is otherwise a well-argued observation. If we see repeated behavior, we will ban the commenter. Please help us maintain a civil level of discourse.

Newsletters