A decade after the explosion of no-haggle auto retailing, many consumers say they are still fond of the art of dickering over the price of their new cars and trucks.
In fact, according to a new survey of vehicle buyers, even those customers who prefer to do business with a no-dicker dealership say they intend to shop around at other retailers in an effort to beat the price.
Such attitudes fly in the face of the current industry wisdom, which preaches a kinder, gentler approach to hawking automobiles. Since the beginning of the 1990s, the retail world has seen a wave of one-price selling retailers. Saturn Corp., CarMax and other independent retailers have embraced the concept.
But many consumers are simply not on board, asserts Rik Kinney, senior vice president of the Dohring Co. in Glendale, Calif. Dohring's annual auto consumer survey found that 48 percent of the consumers it queried preferred to shop at a 'negotiating' dealer, while 39 percent preferred to shop at a 'one price' dealership.
The January survey of 1,287 consumers showed an increase in the percentage of people who said they preferred to shop one-price - from 33 percent in January 1999 to 39 percent this year. But the level is down from 40 percent who preferred no-haggle selling in 1997.
The Dohring survey also found that 86 percent of those who obtained a price at a no-haggle dealership would then go out and shop for a better price.