No-haggle pricing! It’s kind of the zombie of the auto industry. How, you ask? Well:
- Touching it makes your dealership sick
- It periodically comes back from the dead
- The nerd/geek crowd loves to talk about it
- It doesn’t actually exist
It’s also typically something that’s embraced by losers, whether the “loser” in question is a troubled dealership trying to remake its image after a complete decapitation of the leadership/ownership, a troubled brand trying to differentiate itself (Scion), or a troubled automaker clutching at straws in the face of overwhelming competition (General Motors, with Saturn). But Lexus, the latest brand to give it a shot, doesn’t know the meaning of the word “loser”. Its lineup is bulletproof, both in terms of durability and customer perception. Its dealers are obscenely profitable and generally immune to the worst of the customer-abuse excesses for which mainline Toyota stores are justifiably famous.
So why jump on a strategy that has never, ever worked for any brand that doesn’t own the majority of its retail outlets? Perhaps the answer has something to do with Ellen Pao.