You'll pay for that: A brief history of car dealer price gouging

April 24, 2015 7:14 PM

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You'll pay for that: A brief history of car dealer price gouging

At a classic car auction, the generally accepted maxim goes something like this: A car is worth whatever people are willing to pay for it. As with classics, new cars are similarly categorized, and the laws of supply of demand often lead some dealers to take advantage, content to play fast and loose with the meaning of Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. But in creating the demand, in needing to have the car that gets their blood pumping to the point of muddling their senses, buyers are just as complicit. And car dealers, consummate pros in the supply-demand bazaar, know exactly how to pounce.

It wasn’t always this way. Dealers of the 1950s and ’60s wanted to make as much money from a sale as possible, but they did so with “extras” like floormats and paint protection. Ka-CHING! This continued in the early 1970s, notably with the Datsun 240Z. The revolutionary sports car could out-perform ...

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