No-dicker stickers still appeal
Keith Crain is editor-in-chief of Automotive News.
More than a decade ago the no-dicker sticker was quite the fashion. It came, it conquered, and it quietly disappeared.
As many factories reduced margins, the sticker almost became a no-dicker sticker whether the dealer wanted it or not. For many dealers there simply wasn't any room to haggle.
What you saw on the Monroney was what you got.
Now the no-dicker sticker is back in vogue.
When it comes to buying a new car, most people don't want to negotiate price, but they understand that they must dicker to get the lowest price.
Most consumers don't mind giving the dealer a fair profit, but they don't want to pay any more than their neighbor pays. They want to think that everybody got the same fair price.
The no-dicker sticker gives a consumer that confidence. Everybody sees the price, and it's the same price for everybody.
I remember when the CEO of a car company remarked in a speech that the last uninformed consumer walked into a dealership sometime around 1996.
Now customers are armed with information on price, discounts, rebates and trade-in values, so it's difficult to cut deals that heavily benefit the dealership. Those deals are few and far between, if not gone entirely.
That is probably a good thing. But it is painfully obvious that the American consumer still doesn't hold the automobile dealer in high esteem.
A recent survey I saw rated the dealer lower than the politician, which is just about at the bottom of the ladder.
In spite of dealers' efforts to improve relations with customers across the country, it seems most consumers still are not particularly impressed by their retail neighbors.
The no-dicker sticker just might help. The negotiating process is not fun for most consumers.
Some customers really like to dicker back and forth, but I think they are a tiny percentage of the total. Most don't like it, but there usually is nothing they can do about it.
When it's over, most folks aren't sure about whether the transaction was fair. Automobile dealers have been doing this for 100 years, and they're good at the whole process.
If we want to see CSI scores soar, the no-dicker sticker might help.
You can reach Keith Crain at email@example.com.