While several of the dealerships in the program are in out-of-the-way markets where they can take a chance on a new way of doing business, a few are in urban areas with fierce competition and less room for error.
That’s the case with JM Lexus in Margate, Fla., near Fort Lauderdale, the latest store to join.
It has been the nation’s top seller of Lexus vehicles for nearly as long as the brand has been around, including last year when it sold just under 8,000 vehicles, said Jim Dunn, general manager.
The dealership already had “ready upon arrival,” an in-house program allowing for online negotiation and quick store pickup.
But Dunn said it was time for a bigger shift, for the sake of consumers and the staff.
The store’s high volume “takes a toll on people,” he said. “It’s a toll on our customers, but mostly on our associates. We really want this dealership to reflect a culture that’s caring, that’s sensitive to what our associates need and what our buyers today are really demanding.”
One-price models have come and gone over the decades for new cars, although they are increasingly popular with used cars.
Mark Rikess, CEO of the Rikess Group consultancy, said one-price models can result in lower costs, better margins, less turnover and higher satisfaction if done correctly.
He acknowledged that many new-car dealers are resistant, especially in an up market, but predicted that would change over time, because younger generations don’t want to haggle, either as a buyer or salesperson.
Mark Rogers, a dealer consultant at the National Automobile Dealers Association, said that while he doesn’t see the industry moving to one-price quickly, it could pay off down the road for dealers that make the change.
“Lexus, with this one-price, is thinking long-term,” he said. “If they haven’t got some traction after five years, then maybe they’ll think about it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they hung on further. They always play the long game.”