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    Thread: Non-negotiating Car Dealers - Your Thoughts?

    1. Member
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      03-23-2020 08:49 AM #1
      So, as many of you know, I'm chasing up a couple cars for my wife, one a Mercedes, one a Mazda. I complained about the Mazda dealers' business model in the corona thread, but thought it deserved its own topic.

      Around here, the Mazda dealers do not negotiate at all. None of them. They are all owned by 2-3 dealership families, and they basically all offer the exact same, piss-poor discounts on the cars. We are talking sub-$500 discounts on base CX-5s that sticker around $27k, and currently a laughable $750 discount on a $40,000 Signature trim.

      Damn near sticker price on everything. I mean, these are run of the mill everyday dime a dozen cars, not ///Ms or AMGs.

      When you go to their websites, you are bombarded with the garbage spiel about "the lowest possible price for everyone" blah blah blah like they are doing everyone a favor, probably profiting $6k-$8k on a Signature being sold near sticker once you factor in holdback, volume bonuses, etc. If you were to ask them "Do you negotiate, yes or no, simple answer please" you would still get the long-winded bullsh!t spiel.

      I sum this business model up as follows: a modest (or in Mazda's case, paltry) discount for everyone, so nobody gets a great deal and the people that didn't do their homework and deserve to get screwed can get warm feels about their deal even though the discount is still tiny. That's how I have always thought about it. I've typically gotten $6k-$7k off cars, even special orders, without much effort at all really, so this business model absolutely sucks for me. And I'm by no means someone who will sit around all day over $500 on a deal. But for my lark of a friend who doesn't know anything and doesn't do his homework at all, and has no balls to even send an email price quote inquiry, it's great?

      I mean honestly, a single email or five minutes on the phone is usually enough to get a much better price than whatever is listed, yet people are still somehow terrified to even do this? It takes no effort to get a price at a negotiating dealer that beats all the non-negotiating dealers, if you can find that fragmentation in a given geographical area - around here, most of the VW dealers in the area negotiate, but one doesn't. Right off the bat, the prices on the negotiating dealers' sites are better, and a simple email nets an even better price, and it's legit. So who is buying from the non-negotiating dealer when the other one is 10 miles away?

      I have a strong distaste for this business model, because it's clear that it has only ever cropped up not to serve customers, but to serve the dealers and make them more money. I also can't help but feel the dealers in the area for a given manufacturer are all colluding, whether by actually talking to each other, or just by watching each other's sites and pricing their stuff to match exactly. I'm not saying dealers shouldn't make a profit, of course they should. But telling customers the absolute most they can discount a $40k car is $750 is laughable and I could never tell a customer that with a straight face, so there's a bit of an ethical aspect of it to me too. It's like you have all these people at the dealer paying near sticker. It's not that everyone got the lowest price, it's that everyone pretty much got screwed equally.

      I mean if someone wants a no hassle, supposedly stress free purchase, they are more than welcome to just walk in and pay sticker while those of us capable of doing some basic legwork can get an accordingly more substantial discount. We don't need a "no negotiation" business model where the dealers act like they are doing us some grand favor while they laugh all the way to the bank. Sadly, I'm pretty sure the entire industry is going this way.

      I understand that the dealer's job is to make as much money as possible, and it's all about what the market will bear, but that only goes so far because the dealers know the average consumer is terrified and will just pay whatever the dealer lists it for, so to me, this is actually sort of taking advantage of that situation and wrapping up a sh!t sandwich with a gold bow on it. Saying that $750 off a $40k dime a dozen car is the lowest possible price is just a flat out lie.

      It just feels like catering to the lowest common denominator, like having to go slow in school because one kid is slower than everyone else. So because nobody can do their homework on the second largest purchase they will ever make, those of us who do, end up having to suffer so we can pander to the lowest common denominator.

      Your thoughts?
      Last edited by puma1552; 03-23-2020 at 08:57 AM.

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    3. Member Crispyfritter's Avatar
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      03-23-2020 09:08 AM #2
      It may not be for you, but if dealers are doing well with it, they will continue to sell cars this way.

      A car is worth what someone is willing to pay or finance, or so they say. While it may not be worth it to you, the uneducated buyer probably finds it very appealing.

      I sat in the showroom with a mom and her adult son and negotiated a deal between her $15k upside down truck and two newer vehicles for them. The stress they experienced during that time was just over the top tremendous. It wouldn't have bothered me at all, but I thought the lady was going to have a heart attack every time I went back to the office with another pencil. For her, a no haggle price would have added years to her life.

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      03-23-2020 09:10 AM #3
      Let our free market capitalist system do its thing. I imagine they are not negotiating because they can sell for close to list. You are welcome to pay the price for convenience or go to an out-of-town dealer who wants to discount. When people stop paying list price, they will be forced to reduce the price of close their doors. We are nothing but a tiny tooth on a gear in the system.

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      03-23-2020 10:01 AM #4
      I'd rather not negotiate. I did 10 years of sales for an Apple specialist, and appreciated that Apple had set the consumer expectation that the price was the price anywhere they went for PowerBook (or later MacBook Pro) unless there was a new model released and Apple put promo dollars to move old inventory.

      I'm willing to put in the time to search and compare nationwide for pricing and then narrow down regionally for a specific car I'm looking for, and just not do business with a dealer not selling a car for a competitive price. If it's an uncommon car but the dealer has too high of an asking price, I'll let them know what I am willing to pay for it, and if they can meet my price at some point before I've secured another car, that's great.

      Ironically, Walser Mazda had the best price/mileage/features/distance on a used SEL Alltrack when we were shopping to replace my wife's totalled A3 last week, and they include in the sale price their 10 year / 100k drivetrain warranty. Knew they didn't negotiate, but because I'd already been familiarized with what the current market was for the Alltrack, we went forward without haggling on the price because I already knew the market.

      Smooremin made a comment that until there's manufacturer financial support, it makes a lot more sense to store the cars on site than just give them away under or at cost for the sake of moving them. That's not keeping the lights on either.

      Also, I think that for example, when the consumer is told there's an MSRP for a specific car, but they know that domestic dealers will likely discount 5-10% of that price, it cheapens the perceived value of the car. It's this really strange dynamic of, "oh this car is a $50k car (in features, performance etc), but I'm such a smart consumer, I got it for $42k!" I just see that as, oh, then it's $40k worth of car, and either it's so common that the dealers can sell on volume, or it was so unpopular that it sat on a lot until the dealer had to fire sale it. Neither perception is a positive one.
      Last edited by oidoglr; 03-23-2020 at 10:21 AM.

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      03-23-2020 10:14 AM #5
      I like them simply for the fact that if their car is priced too high I know I don't have to waste any time going there to negotiate with them. If the price is close to what I'm looking for they almost always still negotiate on trade-in value so I can still try to work a deal there.

      Used car prices in Kansas City are almost always higher than areas within a 250 mile window so I'll typically shop within a 3-5 hour drive as it can result in me saving thousands. New car prices are pretty much the same everywhere.

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      03-23-2020 10:38 AM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by oidoglr View Post
      I'm willing to put in the time to search and compare nationwide for pricing and then narrow down regionally for a specific car I'm looking for, and just not do business with a dealer not selling a car for a competitive price. If it's an uncommon car but the dealer has too high of an asking price, I'll let them know what I am willing to pay for it, and if they can meet my price at some point before I've secured another car, that's great.
      Quote Originally Posted by n0thing View Post
      I like them simply for the fact that if their car is priced too high I know I don't have to waste any time going there to negotiate with them.
      I hate negotiating too, and if it were a real, somewhat decent discount, fine, but problem is, like in the case of Mazda, when none of the dealers are selling $40k cars for anything more than $750 off, that's not competitive IMO. That's nothing. To me, a modest discount on that would be in the $2k-$3k range. Perhaps the market disagrees with me, but even on a Japanese car there's still plenty of meat on the bone for them to keep the lights on and make good profit at a much larger discount than $750 on a $40k car.

      I mean sure, there's something to be said about high purchase values keep resale values high, but I bet when it comes time and if you cited that they'd just write it off and dink you just the same about your run of the mill, dime a dozen, non-desirable used car, and still offer dirt for it.

      If we do go Mazda, that will probably be what I do, oidoglr. Just say welp if you decide to sell it for $X, I'll come in and buy it and since you don't negotiate that's pretty much the end of discussion and I'm going to keep moving with other options in the meantime.

    8. Planters (fasciitis) peanuts. Dang dogg Sold Over Sticker's Avatar
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      03-23-2020 11:33 AM #7
      So wait a second. A deal means you donít want to pay more than you had to. Meaning you bought it cheaper than the other guy.

      A fixed price means everyone pays the same price.

      So basically if you havenít out foxed your neighbor, you donít feel good. What other consumer product does this extend to? You all buy milk for the same price. Phones cost the same. You all gas up at the local gas station?

      Do you care about the margin in those products?

      The whole idea in American culture that things have to be marked up and then discounted down is so annoying. If itís not some certain percent off, then it isnít a deal. I want a deal. Itís double coupon day. I have a family. I have expenses. I want this new Ultra 4k TV for at least 33% off otherwise I canít brag to Carl that I got it cheaper than he did. Carlís an idiot. He pays full price. Donít be like Carl.

      I on the other hand much preferred to sell things without negotiation above sticker price.
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      03-23-2020 11:43 AM #8
      I actually prefer to not have to negotiate but the industry has made that the norm. I was able to get about $750 off my car last year + additional discounts (customer loyalty, recent grad).

      I've read a lot of marketing material from Mazda and I know they are trying to stop all big discounts. Since they are trying to push for a more upmarket image, they want to remove the discounted model that Nissan closely follows.

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      03-23-2020 11:51 AM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by Sold Over Sticker View Post
      So wait a second. A deal means you donít want to pay more than you had to. Meaning you bought it cheaper than the other guy.

      A fixed price means everyone pays the same price.

      So basically if you havenít out foxed your neighbor, you donít feel good. What other consumer product does this extend to? You all buy milk for the same price. Phones cost the same. You all gas up at the local gas station?

      Do you care about the margin in those products?

      The whole idea in American culture that things have to be marked up and then discounted down is so annoying. If itís not some certain percent off, then it isnít a deal. I want a deal. Itís double coupon day. I have a family. I have expenses. I want this new Ultra 4k TV for at least 33% off otherwise I canít brag to Carl that I got it cheaper than he did. Carlís an idiot. He pays full price. Donít be like Carl.

      I on the other hand much preferred to sell things without negotiation above sticker price.
      This type of thinking is inevitable in a hyper capitalistic consumer driven society. I do agree that the whole idea of negotiating on cars is a weird one, since that doesn't happen with 99% of the products we buy.

      People want deals because they want more for their money. Why buy a 55" TV for full price when you can get the equivalent 65" on sale for the same price? It's mostly a psychological game.

      There's a small subset of products that basically never go on sale, and you just have to pay what you pay. Blundstones are a good example. So are many Apple products. And people just deal with it.

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      03-23-2020 11:53 AM #10
      How many times in this process have you said "If you can do [stock #] for [price], I will give you a deposit by credit card to secure the car and take delivery tonight?"

      Until you've made buying statements, you have no idea what anyone is willing to sell something for.

      My colleague just bought a new Mazda for about ~20% off. They delivered to his house the other day. However, he rather take care of his business rather than whine and speculate about it for weeks on end.

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      03-23-2020 11:54 AM #11
      I think the research on this shows most consumers hate the haggling process. As others have said, this only occurs with cars, houses, and maybe fruit at a highway side farmer's stand. The haggling process really only seems to result in changing the interest rate on the loan, length of payments, or the trade-in value, never the actual price of the new car being sold. If the new car price does get lowered, you should certainly understand that the wiggle room in base price is built into the marketing budget for the car/truck.

    13. Member Shmi's Avatar
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      03-23-2020 11:56 AM #12
      Well... isn't this what Scion and Carmax pride(d) themselves on? No haggling? Why is it OK coming from them?

      I'm OK with it. I'd rather not play games, but if it mattered to me I'd probably travel to get the car cheaper elsewhere.

      The point is kinda moot for me though, I don't see myself buying brand new again considering how nicely used cars hold up these days, and used cars vary in price so much it's not too hard to find what you need for the more common models.
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      03-23-2020 12:03 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by Shmi View Post
      Well... isn't this what Scion and Carmax pride(d) themselves on? No haggling? Why is it OK coming from them?

      I'm OK with it. I'd rather not play games, but if it mattered to me I'd probably travel to get the car cheaper elsewhere.

      The point is kinda moot for me though, I don't see myself buying brand new again considering how nicely used cars hold up these days, and used cars vary in price so much it's not too hard to find what you need for the more common models.
      When I bought my most recent used car, I did the same thing.
      I couldn't find the car I wanted (equipment, mileage, and price) locally, so I just drove 45 miles away and got exactly what I wanted.
      No need to haggle.
      Sometimes, making that trip to a less populated area will actually save you some money.

    15. Planters (fasciitis) peanuts. Dang dogg Sold Over Sticker's Avatar
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      03-23-2020 12:06 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
      This type of thinking is inevitable in a hyper capitalistic consumer driven society. I do agree that the whole idea of negotiating on cars is a weird one, since that doesn't happen with 99% of the products we buy.

      People want deals because they want more for their money. Why buy a 55" TV for full price when you can get the equivalent 65" on sale for the same price? It's mostly a psychological game.

      There's a small subset of products that basically never go on sale, and you just have to pay what you pay. Blundstones are a good example. So are many Apple products. And people just deal with it.
      And Teslaís. ďOh Iím so glad the price is just the price.Ē No, youíre just happy that you donít have to live with the crippling dread that someone else paid less than you.

      Itís just burned into our psyche. Iím sure we all beat the house when we visit Vegas too.
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      03-23-2020 12:07 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by Sold Over Sticker View Post
      So wait a second. A deal means you donít want to pay more than you had to. Meaning you bought it cheaper than the other guy.

      A fixed price means everyone pays the same price.

      So basically if you havenít out foxed your neighbor, you donít feel good. What other consumer product does this extend to? You all buy milk for the same price. Phones cost the same. You all gas up at the local gas station?

      Do you care about the margin in those products?

      The whole idea in American culture that things have to be marked up and then discounted down is so annoying. If itís not some certain percent off, then it isnít a deal. I want a deal. Itís double coupon day. I have a family. I have expenses. I want this new Ultra 4k TV for at least 33% off otherwise I canít brag to Carl that I got it cheaper than he did. Carlís an idiot. He pays full price. Donít be like Carl.

      I on the other hand much preferred to sell things without negotiation above sticker price.
      Hey, I'm not the guy responsible for the industry being set up for steep negotiations for the last 50, 60, 70 years. I'm just seeing an industry where that was the norm now moving away from it, and I don't like it because I have typically gotten stronger discounts than most. Why wouldn't I be against this business model, given that? Of course I want to pay as little as possible, something would be wrong with me if I didn't. As Bill Gates told Homer Simpson, "You don't get rich by writin' checks."

      And no, I don't care about the margin on milk, phones, or gas, because they aren't the second most expensive things I'll buy in my life, and they don't really have anything like a total cost of ownership to consider like a car does.

      Blame the industry that set up all the overcomplicated backdoor bullsh!t, not the consumer who's smart enough to sniff it out.

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      03-23-2020 12:09 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by JackStraw79 View Post
      How many times in this process have you said "If you can do [stock #] for [price], I will give you a deposit by credit card to secure the car and take delivery tonight?"

      Until you've made buying statements, you have no idea what anyone is willing to sell something for.
      Every time I've bought a car.

      Quote Originally Posted by JackStraw79
      However, he rather take care of his business rather than whine and speculate about it for weeks on end.
      There you are, right on cue like always.

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      03-23-2020 12:18 PM #17
      Find the car you want elsewhere at a cheaper price, and email the sales manager directly to say "I would like to keep my business local, and establish a good relationship with your dealership for sales and service. I would be willing to put a deposit on stock #12345 today if you can match the $12345 price that I was offered by another dealership." If you can't get a better deal elsewhere, it looks like you're not going to get one.

      Some people NEED to haggle and feel like they got the better of the dealership, or a better deal than the "average" buyer. But remember, you're not just buying a disposable commodity. You're buying a long-term durable good along with the brand and dealership experience that goes with it. If the vehicle and experience you will receive is worth $X, and the dealership is charging $X, then it's a good deal. If the buyer insists on paying $X-Y just so they feel better, perhaps they need to reevaluate their sense of value. Or go to a Ford dealership where everything is discounted from their inflated MSRP because this "gotta get a deal" mentality still somehow persists.

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      03-23-2020 12:21 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by Sold Over Sticker View Post
      And Teslaís. ďOh Iím so glad the price is just the price.Ē No, youíre just happy that you donít have to live with the crippling dread that someone else paid less than you.

      Itís just burned into our psyche. Iím sure we all beat the house when we visit Vegas too.
      A stable new sale price tends to maintain resale values on commodities. If there's a perception that the MSRP was bull**** to begin with, the used market consumer is also aware of that. Then again, if everyone paid an MSRP for an auto, the second hand consumer can discriminate prices on condition and mileage instead of less obvious factors.

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      03-23-2020 12:24 PM #19
      Discounts aren't based on the price of the car, they're based on what it takes to move inventory.

      i.e. Golf Alltracks regularly sold for $6,000 to $8,000 off MSRP, with little to no haggling... because they weren't popular. You can't take that figure and apply it to the CX-5 because the CX-5 is a hot seller. Why would you expect a Mazda dealer to feel obligated to spend a couple hours negotiating a bigger discount with you when the next guy through the door will buy it for MSRP -750 after a 15 minute conversation?
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      03-23-2020 12:27 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by puma1552 View Post
      I hate negotiating too, and if it were a real, somewhat decent discount, fine, but problem is, like in the case of Mazda, when none of the dealers are selling $40k cars for anything more than $750 off, that's not competitive IMO. That's nothing.
      So, is the issue that you don't think these Mazdas aren't worth the MSRP, but if you get a discount, then maybe they're competitive to other vehicles in the category? Do you know the wholesale margin on the cars you're looking at? Or is it just on principle that you think a dealer ought to barter back and forth the price they've listed it at instead of deciding what the profit margin it is that makes it worth it for them to be in business?

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      03-23-2020 12:30 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by oidoglr View Post
      So, is the issue that you don't think these Mazdas aren't worth the MSRP, but if you get a discount, then maybe they're competitive to other vehicles in the category?
      Pretty much this. I think a Signature is worth about $35k-$36k. The market has decided that in many other locales based on following pricing threads on the interwebz, and I agree with it. I'd say the vast majority of cars aren't worth their MSRP, and I'd also say the industry has priced that margin into the MSRP, knowing that this is an industry where negotiation has been the norm for decades. Even a small discount for all is a concession that the MSRP is indeed inflated, at least by a bit.
      Last edited by puma1552; 03-23-2020 at 12:34 PM.

    23. Member Alpha-3's Avatar
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      03-23-2020 12:36 PM #22
      I hate the haggling, and the two-faced salespersons you often run into. They can promise the earth, but bottom line is they can't make any decisions themselves anyway, unless they consult 46 different people. It's a lot of wasted time and unnecessary stress. It takes the enjoyment out of the shopping and browsing, (yes, I LIKE looking at cars) but the damn salespersons won't leave you alone. The minute they see you looking, several of them swarm you. Sometimes you have to be downright rude to make them leave you alone. Totally unnecessary. You aggravate me too much, goodbye. I won't even listen to your offers.

      Why does it take 6-8 hours to buy a car?? Go prepared, have your financing already in place. Do your research. The car you want is right over there? OK , now it should be, ok, I'll take this one, go wash it, here's my payment, goodbye. What is that, an hour at most? Better yet, do it online, and have it delivered. Boom. Done.

      CARMax has it right; no haggle, good prices. I've not personally bought from them, although, yes, I HAVE gone and looked around. I have heard and read positive things from others that have used CARMax. I believe AutoNation, also, follows this method.
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      03-23-2020 12:43 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by puma1552 View Post
      Every time I've bought a car.



      There you are, right on cue like always.
      What did you offer for the Mercedes? How about the CX-5?

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      03-23-2020 12:46 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by Alpha-3 View Post
      I hate the haggling, and the two-faced salespersons you often run into. They can promise the earth, but bottom line is they can't make any decisions themselves anyway, unless they consult 46 different people. It's a lot of wasted time and unnecessary stress. It takes the enjoyment out of the shopping and browsing, (yes, I LIKE looking at cars) but the damn salespersons won't leave you alone. The minute they see you looking, several of them swarm you. Sometimes you have to be downright rude to make them leave you alone. Totally unnecessary. You aggravate me too much, goodbye. I won't even listen to your offers.

      Why does it take 6-8 hours to buy a car?? Go prepared, have your financing already in place. Do your research. The car you want is right over there? OK , now it should be, ok, I'll take this one, go wash it, here's my payment, goodbye. What is that, an hour at most? Better yet, do it online, and have it delivered. Boom. Done.

      CARMax has it right; no haggle, good prices. I've not personally bought from them, although, yes, I HAVE gone and looked around. I have heard and read positive things from others that have used CARMax. I believe AutoNation, also, follows this method.
      I agree with you. The "negotiating" I had done on my 3 took about 5 minutes and was stress free. Probably could have gone a marginally better price but I much rather and quick and low-stress purchase than shopping around a ton more dealers to get an extra $500 off.

    26. Member BlackMiata's Avatar
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      1992 Miata, 2001 VW GTI, 2018 A6, SQ5
      03-23-2020 12:48 PM #25
      I understand the no haggle model for selling cars, and I can understand the appeal to some portion of the car buying population. But I'm comfortable negotiating for a car and will travel, if need be, to find exactly what I want.
      Some folks have used Apple as an example, personally I think Apple products for the most part are over priced, YOMV. The iPod was the one product that filled a nitch market and provided a capability better than anyone else, consequently that's the only Apple product I own.

      I all boils down to a simple equation, a product is worth exactly what the buyer and seller agree is the price they are both willing to accept.

      For a car buyer you have to decide if the price the dealer is offering the car for is a price you are willing to pay, if not then the car is overpriced in your opinion, and you walk away, or you accept the dealers opinion that the price is fair and you buy the car.

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