Saturn: No-haggle doesn't mean no-hike
Saturn dealers are charging more than the sticker price for hot Sky roadster, newspaper says.
March 20, 2006: 1:34 PM EST
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Saturn still has a "no-haggle" pricing policy, but that doesn't mean the dealer has to charge sticker price. And some dealers are charging over sticker price for the new Saturn Sky sports car, according to a California newspaper.
Charging a premium over the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) for a popular car, especially one that's in short supply, is a common practice at car dealerships of all kinds. But many Saturn customers had assumed that the General Motors brand's policy of "no-haggle pricing" meant that customers would always be charged the vehicle's sticker price.
Car manufacturers cannot legally require a retailer to charge any set price for a vehicle, however.
"Retailers are free to set their own prices, but we always highly encourage our retailers not to sell above the MSRP," said Jill Lajdziak in a company statement quoted in the Orange County Register story.
Saturn's no-haggle policy simply means that every customer coming into a given dealership gets the same price, a GM spokesman said in the story. It does not necessarily mean that every customer pays the sticker price.
In order to prevent price competition, General Motors does not allow different Saturn dealers to operate dealerships in the same general area, GM spokesman Brian Brockman told CNNMoney.com.
The general manager for Orange County, Calif.'s three Saturn dealerships declined to discuss pricing policy with the newspaper.
The Sky is based on the same vehicle architecture as the popular Pontiac Solstice sports car. The Solstice, the Sky and the Opel GT, which is very similar to the Sky but is sold only in Europe, are all built in the same factory in Wilmington, Del.
In the past, Saturn dealers had charged prices lower than the MSRP for slow-selling models, according to the story.