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C8 dealer markups stink, but you’d hate the alternative more

If looking at used cars is your idea of a fun “Cars & Coffee” activity, then I’ll stay home. Checkbook cars are meaningless and boring. This includes Ford GTs and Ferraris.

I recall how excited enthusiasts were to see Chrysler come out with a factory street rod in the Prowler. Until they said they goofed and instead of $30k it was going to be $40k, then the dealers were gouging an additional $10k. That really killed all of the initial enthusiasm. Turns out they made a lot more than the projected 5,000, but it took quite a while. Same thing happened with the Viper, too. It seems that OEMs and dealers never learn!

There is an Apple/Tesla mentality that verifies that a fool and his money are soon parted. But then again, look at all of the auctions of more money than brains cars every January…

Agreed, except everyone buys a car on the dealer’s terms, not theirs. The hope is that the dealer will agree with you. I remember in the late '70’s and early 80’s when there were lines around the block for certain Toyota cars & trucks. The dealers would politely take $100 down on the vehicle you refused to meet them on, and your car/truck would never come in.

If you are one of the chosen to be on the “dealer list” it should be a consideration that following model years very well may have a higher MSRP. So the consideration of any additional markup this first year might be offset some by a higher MSRP next year. Personally I wouldn’t pay above sticker for any car, the car world is full of choices and many of the best ones aren’t even the new ones.

The smart dealers will not tell you the markup when they take your deposit. You will spend months waiting, anticipation building, then when it finally arrives and you sit down to do the paperwork they will spring it on you, and you will probably pay it because you have waited so long.

Great article and your final recommendation is spot on. There seems there is a scarcity of articles and sympathy for these ‘greedy’ Dealers when they have to sell cars under MSRP. Wait a year and you will be able to get a Vette at discount. The C8 ain’t immune to what befalls all Vettes…

Silliest markup I ever saw was on a Hyundai Tiburon in 2002, marked up a few thousand!

Larry, I’m 69 and also bought a new '76 Corvette from my local dealer. Small town and he got one Vette per year. I took the one he ordered right off the truck. It was $8,283.00. Since I did not custom order it, perhaps the markup was a little higher than yours. In any case, two years later, I bought his '78 Pace Car for msrp, and made five grand selling it, literally, five minutes later. He was an honest dealer and yes, rewarded me for the purchase of the '76.

It’s a free market out there folks! Just because you could afford the hold fee to get in line doesn’t mean you can afford the car. It’s life!

On the more money than brains comment above… I used to think that way too. Unfortunately, for the Uber wealthy, the fraction of their income spent on a 250k Ford Bronco is far far smaller than what you paid for your 30k Monte Carlo SS.

It’s a punch in the gut to compete with the Uber rich for items we want, but to insult their intelligence misses the point. Economically speaking, they have only spent what they could afford…

For what it’s worth, I’ve laid down $2,500 deposit on a new C8 convertible priced at MSRP which is supposed to be part of the 1st allocation of convertibles. There are some dealers that are more impressed with regular customers (and repeat business) than those who are whores with ADM sticker.

I’m not really concerned with vehicle “problems” on an initial production vehicle. I’ve toured the Corvette plant in Bowling Green years ago when I picked up a new C5 at the Museum. The workers there are fantastic and really care about the product that comes off the line. And on the C8, I have great confidence that the engineers got this car “right” the first time.

I’ll enjoy getting this one again delivered in Bowling Green!

GS

Thanks for all of that man. I just restored nearly perfect 1987 El Camino and turned it into a military tribute car which would make your eyes pop out. In that car with the stock European bucket seats, I just barely fit with the seat all the way back. I’ve been driving Suburbans and Pickups for a long time so I guess I’m just spoiled. I’ll try to get in one at a show Museum somewhere.

I really appreciate the info.

I think the car’s design is atgrocious

I think the car’s design is atrocious, it’s rude and arrogant. Why anyone would buy one is beyond me. Save your money and look for something gorgeous and fast with excellent handling. Say away from GM.
I was a second generation GM owner and now I won’t go near its product line.

To Jack Baruth: Excellent work. Thank you.

My car had a 10k mark up sticker next to the Window Sticker… I bought it used 2 years later…

I’ll never pay a dealer markup. I almost didn’t buy my C-5 because of it. I went back to the dealer I bought my 93 C-4, and the A hole wanted to mark it up 5 grand. I left and found another dealer in town that gave me the same trade in on my C-4 and NO Mark Up… I never darkened that first dealer’s doorway again. I don’t need anything so bad to pay some A hole middle man to fleece me. Uncle Sam does a good enough job of that. It was one of the first C-5’s in Jacksonville and had some recalls. They did some recall to the fuel tank and left the dang fuel line loose and gas was spraying all over the place. Had them tow it back and fix it. I don’t like the first new cars off the line, too many recalls and bugs to get out.

I honestly don’t feel sorry for anyone who pays the outrageous markups. Everything has its price, it’s called supply and demand. Anyone who pays the price to obtain one of the early production units falls into one of three categories. Either they are a collector (in which case money is no issue) or they are just a Corvette lover with no financial restrictions, or they are the guy who Is just out to impress people he doesn’t like with money he doesn’t have. Bottom line is nobody is forcing anyone to buy these cars, everyone has a choice, and I choose to wait and buy a used one in a few years, off a guy like Larry, preferably a 2nd or third year production. The $20K I save will Look a heck of a lot better in my hands then in the hands of a greedy dealer!!

Okay, reading comments for and against dealer ADM, a question occurred to me. The complaint is the dealer is marking up a vehicle he came to “own” from someone else. How many of the readers that take exception to the practice have a problem with flipping a classic in THEIR driveway for more than they paid for it? mSrp is suggested pricing. I doubt a 59 vette owner will suggest the MSRP when they go to resell from the driveway.

Sometimes it’s like arguing balls and strikes: you don’t argue to change the call, you argue to influence the next call(s). I bought a new 2010 Challenger SRT8 from a long-standing family dealership here in SoCal. They gave me a great deal, especially considering they had to do a dealer trade with a NorCal dealership to make it happen. Fast-forward five years and the Hellcat comes along. I was number three in line with an allocation of two to the dealer. The number two guy turned out to be a pain in the hind end, so the dealership moved me up in his place because I was a repeat customer (and apparently not a pain). Granted, I ended up paying a $10k markup…but the number one and three guys paid $20k. Fast forward another year and Chrysler brought out the Scat Pack Shaker option in Plum Crazy. I always loved that color, and the Shaker hood, so back I went. Special ordered it and the dealer charged me their COST plus a few hundred bucks to cover expenses. My point is: Relationships matter. Argue for the next call.

I have to disagree with Kyle. In my opinion, GM will “never” stop producing the Corvette and even if first year sales are not as high as they would like, the fault will lie with the dealer pricing issues not the car. No one is forcing folks to pay the markup - it’s just a “me first” decision and there’ll always be people with more money than brains (sorry, but it’s true).

And, the only reason that manufacturers can’t easily sell direct is that certain politicians care more for big business than they do for the consumer.

When Carroll Shelby went back into the Mustang business in 2007 (actually, 2006 with the Hertz Shelby GT-H cars), I started really paying attention because I’d just sold my business and it seemed fitting that I’d buy a new Shelby Mustang 40 years after I bought my first one, a ’67 GT500 purchased from a dealer in ’68 at 15% off MSRP. Dealers all over the country we’re applying large ADMs on the Shelby GTs and I tried to get my local Ford dealer to take my order at MSRP. No deal. They wouldn’t even let me talk to the sales manager or the local owner. I tried twice. So, I used the telephone and after about 5 calls around my region I heard the sales manager tell me, “Yeah, I think we can do that.” I gave him my card for a $500 deposit and ordered the car. 8 months later my Shelby GT/SC was delivered to my door by Shelby American after some extra time to have their Mod Shop install a Paxton Supercharger. By then the 2008 models were out and there was even one on the truck enroute to a dealer.

Looking back, the wait seems totally irrelevant and I still enjoy the car immensely every time we take it out. Same with the ’67 GT500, which we still drive as well (yes, of course I kept it all these years…doesn’t everybody hold on to their favorite cars for 40 years?). The fact that the ‘67 was a leftover model is actually even cooler because Shelby American did all the post-assembly line work on the car, unlike the ‘68s that were handled by AO Smith in Ionia. Similarly, Ford took over production of “Shelby” Mustangs after the 2006-2008 runs that were built by Shelby American at Las Vegas Speedway.

In the fullness of time, an anxious wait for a new car is smoothed over and the reward can be even higher. You’ll save a lot of money and enjoy the car just as much if not more.

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It’s easy to say, “take your time”. But for us 70 year-olds time has a far greater value than it does for a 40-something.