A recent Automotive News survey suggests many dealers have moved away from paying salespeople a straight commission on gross. For many stores, that commission is now only a fraction of total pay.
That's a positive development, one that should make car dealerships more customer-friendly. If the straight commission is the sole source of pay, it creates an adversarial relationship between customer and salesperson. The salesperson tries to pad the price as the customer attempts to dicker it down.
To a certain degree that tug of war is inevitable with car prices negotiable. And some incentive to maintain the gross profit is necessary. Dealers can't give away cars, and new-vehicle margins are shrinking.
But put too much emphasis on maximizing the gross profit, and you're likely to promote high-pressure sales tactics. That doesn't serve the customer or the dealership that's in it for the long haul.