No-Haggle Pricing for Fiat?

January 31st, 2011

Unless you have enough money to avoid it, haggling on the price of a car is generally an unavoidable dealership experience. The back-and-forth process can be intimidating and sucks energy from buyers as quickly as it wastes hours in the day.

If you’re good at it, and know what you’re doing, you can save a few bucks and score a price that makes you feel like you got a bargain. If you’re not a good negotiator, you run the risk of getting fleeced by a greedy dealer. Not exactly the fairest process in the world, and one I’ve long thought should be changed.

Saturn gave no-haggle pricing a go and achieved some success, but succumbed to poor product management by GM. Now it seems Fiat will give it a try, and I think it could work…

According to Fiat’s new United States arm, members of the younger car-buying generation aren’t exactly thrilled about the idea of haggling for a better price on cars. With that in mind, the company has directed its dealerships to adopt a no-haggle pricing policy, starting with the new Fiat 500.

Laura Soave, head of the Fiat brand in North America, told Bloomberg very simply, “The pricing is the pricing.”

It’s a policy that should work, at least in the early stages of Fiat’s presence here. Chrysler has been careful to award a limited number of its dealers with a Fiat franchise, so dealer competition will be low. Demand should be high, for a while. Once it tapers off and stock piles up on lots, though, I can’t imagine dealers not offering discounts.

In addition to appealing to the younger generation, no-haggle pricing is a brilliant marketing tool for another large demographic bound to be interested in the 500: women. It’s common knowledge, especially if you’re  a car salesperson, that women, in general, don’t like to haggle.

I think the Fiat 500 will likely draw a predominantly female buyer, so the promise of an easy shopping and buying experience should serve everyone, dealers and customers, well.

People like no-haggle pricing, which has fueled programs like Costco’s Auto Buying Program. Maybe the time for Fiat is right. I hope it works, and that other automakers begin to follow suit.

Do you think no-haggle pricing on Fiats will work?

-tgriffith

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