To the Editor:
How did $1,000 under become the new invoice?
It all started with good intentions. Dealer councils pushed for more below-the-line monies. If holdback was a savior, more had to be better.
Manufacturers were all too willing to cut above-invoice margins as long as they could tie some metric to the payouts. It began with relatively low-bar barriers.
Fast-forward a decade or two, and what have we wrought? No meaningful margin from sticker to invoice. The word "invoice" has no real meaning to the customer or the dealer anymore.
And the factories have many new methods to get CSI, volume, facility improvements, fake loaner punching, etc. Facility programs cost in the millions while programs that promise to help pay for them term out usually in three years, leaving dealers to start over with new challenges to their income stream.
CSI programs can be a moving target that induces coached results that may have little to do with real customer loyalty.
Internet quotes now reflect the abrogation of invoice as real-cost thinking. Nowadays, $1,000 under is unsurprisingly the first number many consumers get from an inquiry.
Dealers would have been wise to heed the old saw: Be careful what you wish for; you just may get it.
PATRICK DiCESARE, Dealer Principal, Eastside Mazda-Volkswagen, Willoughby Hills, Ohio