By on May 4, 2009

Saw that my local Chevy dealer had a nice, bright, Victory Red Camaro up on its terrace display today. I couldn’t resist the urge to have a look at it, even though I had just filled my car with cold dairy products and it was close to 100° out. Anyhoo, the car was nice enough. It was a V6 RS with no sunroof and auto. Not what I’d want, but it was nice. List was $27K+. Get this: the dealer added a $5000 “market adjustment.” But wait, there’s more! How about a $695 “Desert Protection Pkg.”? They also added . . . you’d better sit down . . . $999 for Nitro Tires. It was explained on another car’s sticker that it’s a lifetime supply of nitrogen for the tires. Wow, just wow. This at a dealer that’s got one foot in the grave, too. When the salesman came up to me, all excited and shit (I drove up in my BMW), he was all “Heeeeyyy, how can I get you in this baby today?” I calmly said, “I’ll write you a check now for dealer invoice + $500. Minus $1998 for having the nerve to charge $999 for that Nitrogen scheme.” His jaw dropped and he looked rather upset. He finally said, “Well, I’ll have to talk to my manager about that.” I said “Don’t bother, I wasn’t going to buy the car anyway. I am however going to report this scam to every local TV channel and the AG. Take care.”

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64 Comments on “Chevrolet Dealer Charges $5000 Camaro Premium, $1000 for “Nitrogen Tires for Life”...”

  • avatar

    Damn Dealers. And that is the real reason GM is going Tango Uniform. I hope the dealers get nothing when GM goes chapter 11.

  • avatar

    TV channels and the AG? Not scary at all.

    Although, I do hear a certain corporate parent might just be looking for any excuse to ax any dealer it can. I’d be interested in how GM would respond to these sort of hijinks.

  • avatar

    The strongest incentive for dealers to treat folks fair is that in 6 months or a year later, they would pay for bad publicity once word got out.

    Once you begin to realize that your dealership may not be around in 6 months (regardless of the Chapter 11s) the game changes.

    I bought a new Saturn in April of 2008. I figure it was built by focused workers and the dealer was honest.

    I doubt anything on the lots today was built with focus and finding a honest dealer these days would be tough.

    Here is a real winner….

    $20+K for a GM Certified Used car that was welded together from two wrecks…

  • avatar
    Samuel L. Bronkowitz

    Nothing. Ever. Changes.

    I will never buy another car from the “domestics”

  • avatar

    Good thing most customers are “smart” enough to be just a dishonest and sneaky.

  • avatar

    Another pig virus dealer killing business, remember every purchase is a vote.

  • avatar

    $2500 premium for which model? Top of the line V8 seems generous compared to past. The nitrogen offer is to test for morons and perhaps sale of a premium plus Camero. Just in case you don’t remember – after WWII the usual was list plus a hefty premium. Didn’t matter what maker.

  • avatar

    Good to see that GM learned NOTHING from the introduction of the new GTO… They say that lighting never strikes twice… Not at GM.

  • avatar

    All the GM dealers seem to be running some sort of scam. One in my area plasters the vehicles on the front row with numbers that are 2 feet high. The numbers have very little to do with the actual price of the vehicle…it’s only a starting point. The dealer adds on everything after .. pdi/freight ,security (etched glass) , administration ($399!) and they even add a $40 charge for the gas in the tank!
    The sooner we lose half of these scumbags the better we will be.
    Why does new car shopping have all the appeal of a root canal?

  • avatar

    Well… this *is* the way dealerships make the most money. Did you expect that in bad times, they would move to a sales tactic that makes them less money?

  • avatar

    Didn’t these morons learn anything from Dodge’s experience with the Challenger, or Pontiac and the G8?

    You can’t overcharge ridiculously in a recession, idiots. Especially not when you’re company is on the verge of bankruptcy!

    “Well… this *is* the way dealerships make the most money.”

    Is it really? Again, see: Dodge Challenger, Pontiac G8. They tried to stick it to people who tried to buy those cars, and now they’re having to discount them heavily. It would make more sense just to sell it at an honest price to begin with.

    “I will never buy another car from the “domestics””

    It’s not a domestic vs. import issue. It’s a car dealer issue, period. Honda dealers, for example, are some of the biggest jackasses around.

  • avatar

    Right,just the GM dealers are scumbags?Toyota,VW Honda would never stoop to such levels.They sell only perfect cars.Only top quality people can become foreign car dealers.

    Your living in a dream world guys.

  • avatar
    mad scientist

    I’d be interested in how GM would respond to these sort of hijinks.

    Who do you think taught him in the first place?????

  • avatar
    Aloysius Vampa

    @Samuel L. Bronkowitz

    Because nobody else does that stuff, right?

  • avatar

    Good times, bad times, a leopard just can’t change its spots.

  • avatar

    $3500 over sticker isn’t too bad compared to when the PT Cruiser came out (in Ohio I know someone who paid $4000 over stick AND waited months for the car):

  • avatar

    It’s really the $999 Nitrogen fill for the tires that I had to laugh at most. Discount Tire charges $40 for the same thing I think…

    I’m sure the dealer wants to make money, but it “just doesn’t look good” if you know the circumstance GM is in, and a lot of people do now that it’s all over the MSM.

  • avatar

    People need to get over market adjustments. They aren’t a scam, they are probably the most honest thing that a dealer does.

    Pricing above sticker is really just a business decision. Honda dealers did quite well with first year S2000 price adjustments when the market was booming. This Chevy dealer is more likely going to be sitting on this car until he comes back to reality and has to sell it below sticker, like Pontiac dealers with GTOs.

    I wonder how many Aveos this poor shmuck had to take to get this automatic V6 Camaro when V6 G8s, which are everything this car is and more, are $22K all day.

  • avatar

    There is someone out there who has to be first. Assuming this dealer finds him/her, its a sale !

    Come by four months from now and things will be more reasonable.

  • avatar

    Relax guys, the recession will take care of morons like these soon.

    I live in the northeast, and within 10 minutes driving time of my house, 5 dealers have gone out of business (in the last year). My money on the next one to go is the “5-star” dealer. I bought my Jeep there, and after two botched axle seal repairs, I hope they are the next to go.

    They can take all those damn Sebrings with them. Those things littering the lot are hideous.


  • avatar
    Bubba Gump

    First GM has no control zero, zip, nada. GM dealers F up every new GM launch they have and who gets blamed!!!!!!!! GM! GM dealers are GM’s worst enemy most of the time and their ain’t a damn thing GM can do about it. Franchise law B.S.
    Some GM dealers are just like anal warts. They just won’t go away

  • avatar

    Folks, I am bit befuddled by some of the responses to this story. Should we not see this dealer as a practicer of free enterprise? Should we not say that he is upholding the finest traditions of the marketplace, for he is seeing what the market will support? If he finds some person who sees that this car is worth the extra premium, shouldn’t we be pleased, for he has supplied that consumer with a product that satisfies some perceived need? If some person watches NASCAR and thinks that nitrogen filled tires will make his/her life better, is this dealer not simply selling that consumer an idea of the good life?

    We might look at this dealer and see a skunk, but with just a flick of the lens, we can better appreciate this person as a true free market capitalist.

  • avatar

    The S in MSRP means what?

  • avatar

    Before the author reports this Chevy dealer I would advise him to report the much bigger villain, his BMW dealer, who sells $30 and $40K + cars that come standard with vinyl seats.

  • avatar

    I wouldn’t waste my time driving into a domestic auto dealer’s lot in the first place.

    The experience related above is confirmation of my choice.

  • avatar

    It’s not vinyl, no_slushbox! It’s high quality “leatherette!” /snark

  • avatar

    Does the Desert Protection Package include stem lube?

  • avatar


    Ve hav vays of making you refer to our vinyl with euphemisms.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Well, at least he didn’t charge extra for the Teflon upgrade in the muffler bearings. What exactly is the “Desert Protection Package?” Does that protect the car from the desert or the desert from the car, just in case someone decides to enter his bitchin’ Camaro in the Darwin Awards.

  • avatar

    First of all, pricing a car above MSRP isn’t a scam as long as the Maroney sticker is still present and unaltered, and the extra charges are all just listed seperately. Just because the dealer wants to list an extra $6695 is charges above MSRP doesn’t mean anyone has to pay it.

    If one dealer is charging it and others aren’t, then you can go to the other dealer and not pay it. Or, you can take a bit of time and negotiate a price with the dealer if you are actually interested in the car. If all dealers are charging the marked up price and none are willing to budge, then apparently it is an adjustment the market will bare because if none sell at that price, someone will break down and lower it.

    Granted, I think $1000 for nitrogen in tires is ridiculous, but I’m not one who would pay that for it, there are some who will. It’s not being cheated to overpay for something, the price is right there in black and white, you make the choice if you are willing to pay it or if you want to shop around and see if there is a better deal.

    If I were a Chevy dealer I would be insulted that someone would seriously offer $500 over invoice for the brands most hotly anticipated and brand new model. I’d have them listed at full MSRP and not a penny less, take it or leave it.

    At my Ford store we are charging full MSRP for our hottest current model, the Fusion Hybrid, and we can’t keep any in stock longer than a week. Dealers have to make some money on certain cars to make up for the losses they are taking selling the slow moving models. Chrysler has their PT Cruisers, Calibers, and Sebrings they have to cut to the bone to sell, Chevy their HHRs, Cobalts, and Aveos, and Ford has Explorers, Rangers, and Expeditions that need some love. If you want a ridiculous deal, make an offer on a vehicle no one currently wants. If you want the vehicle everyone wants, be willing to pay at least as much as everyone else.

  • avatar

    It’s just part of the game. Those who hate Saturn’s no-dicker price will knock that $3500 off in an instant and think they’ve got a deal. One in 20 will fall for it and pay full price. In the end nobody pays less for a vehicle than the dealer wanted them to, no matter what the fantasy price on the hood said.

  • avatar

    People point fingers at the domestics for hijinks like this, but it was the Japanese import dealers who started these “add-on” stickers, back in the day when the Japanese automakers were under a voluntary limit on the number of vehicles they would import to the U.S. Back then, it was a matter of supply and demand – and people still were willing to pay a few hundred dollars for a “sealant” that was actually no better than a wax job.

    But these shenanigans make me think that, somewhere in Oklahoma, the late U.S. Senator Almer Stillwell “Mike” Monroney is turning in his grave…

  • avatar

    I think we have an agency problem here.

    The dealer would rather sell one Camaro with a 6 grand profit than 5 Camaros with a 1 grand profit.

    GM really really needs that dealer to sell the 5 Camaros, ya know?

    The dealer is choking its golden goose to death, and killing the Camaros mojo.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    This isn’t a domestic dealer problem, it happens all over the place. I remember when Honda Odysseys were in short supply several years ago and the local Honda dealer put a $2500 market adjustment sticker in the window.

    I’ve walked off many lots over the years after telling the salespeople I would never do business with a place that plays the added dealer markup game.

  • avatar

    The dealer would rather sell one Camaro with a 6 grand profit than 5 Camaros with a 1 grand profit.

    GM really really needs that dealer to sell the 5 Camaros, ya know?

    The dealer is choking its golden goose to death, and killing the Camaros mojo.

    That is THE problem in a nut shell…
    When is the all powerful, and all feared, PTOA going to step in and send this dealer to Gitmo?

  • avatar

    If you are married to capitalism, you gotta accept it “for better or worse”.

  • avatar

    I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t call it “Victory” Red. It’s anything BUT a “Victory”. It’s more like a Menstruation Red…as this company is bleeding like a stuck pig. Hell, the front fascia is already known to be cracking!!

    Here you go…this is what the world knows as a “Chevy”:

    Before too long this “dealer” will be offering toe-tag sales, “dealer” incentives, etc.

    But know one thing: the “Camaro” legend (3rd-rate junk for wanna-be sports car owners) still holds true…even after some 25+ years.

    I’m so GLAD they have managed to “stick to their roots”.

    PS, you DO know anyone who buys a set of tires from Costco automatically receives lifetime rotations AND (hold your breath) NITROGEN for the cost of the tires. This “dealer” is scum.

  • avatar

    rastus…..toetag sale….you have been listening to the ever famous buickman

  • avatar
    Cougar Red

    The Genesis Coupe has no $5000 “market adjustment.” Thus, the Camaro’s 6 point win in the “Gotta Have It” category . . .

  • avatar

    the air we breath is 70 percent nitrogen to start with. $999 to take 30% of the oxygen out of the air? stupid.

  • avatar

    From what I’ve experienced domestic dealers do seem to be the most likely to put an added markup on a car.

    -Ford dealers had big markups on the retro-Thunderbird, GT, and any Mustang with “Shelby” emblazoned across it.

    -GM dealers pissed off a lot of people with GTO gouging. Then there was the Solstice, G8, Z06, ZR1, SSR, and this current Camaro all introduced with price premiums.

    -For Chrysler, I once saw a Prowler with a $30000 markup! Then I’ve seen premiums on the Stealth R/T, PT Cruiser, Crossfire, Jeep SRT8, ACR Viper, and ’08 Challenger.

    -To the credit of the import dealers, I’ve never seen/saw a premium on a 350Z, 300ZX, WRX, STI, EVO, Lancer Ralliart, 3000GT, GTI, R32, or Genesis Coupe. The only imports I’ve seen with an added markup were the FJ Cruiser and GTR. So for me it has been quite a mis-balance.

    Maybe this is because I’ve lived in areas that sell a lot of domestic vehicles, but I’ve learned that if the Big 3 introduce a cool car- expect above MSRP pricing for about 6 months.

    And yes, dealers are certainly free to do this if they want, but I think it kills the car’s hype. Hype that the manufacturer spent a lot of money to create.

  • avatar

    It was misspelled…it’s not a Desert Protection Package, but a Dessert Protection Package. In case your kids drop a few dollops of DQ Blizzard on your back seats…

  • avatar

    That article linked by lw sent shivers up my spine…

  • avatar

    GM has nothing to do with the amount a dealer charges for a vehicle, if GM did then everyone here would be yelling about price fixing!!! Every dealer of every car maker has done this at one time or another, ask the Prius buyers last summer when gas was $5 a gallon!! This is a problem with the current system. Go to a honest and straight forward dealer, my local Chevy dealer sold his only 3 Corvette ZR1’s for MSRP when others were charging $50,000 over and getting the money. Reward the honest dealer with your business and the dishonest guy will dissappear.

  • avatar

    Boy…GM touts its Camaro as having a $22k base sticker. You walk in with $26k and you get hammered by a “management adjusted” price premium.

    Dealers really have a way of killing enthusiasm when a car such as this is on sale (so to speak).

  • avatar

    Agree that this is a dealer thing, not a GM thing. For the record, my worst dealer experience was at the local Acura dealer in Troy MI and not a GM dealer.

    Mr. Miller, you seem upset about this price increase. But regarding your BMW, aren’t you upset that the company charges so much money for what is basically considered a German Taurus by the locals in Deutschland? That’s the real outrage.

  • avatar
    George B

    I accept that prices will be higher for popular cars, but it’s too bad that extra profit goes to the dealership. Rather have the extra profit go back to the manufacturer to help fund new car development.

  • avatar

    Supplies are extremely low, and demand is high (for now). “Making hay while the sun shines” is a common practice for dealers.

    Come November when cobwebs have gathered around Camaros due to the upcoming winter things will turn around.

    What’s the deal with nitrogen? Yes, there are minor benefits, but passenger car tires are rarely run to the extremes that would show any benefit… Oh, $1000 dollars extra? Now that’s what I call a benefit!

  • avatar

    I really don’t think it’s a big deal, typical pathetic car dealer gamesmanship. When enough potential buyers tell the horses’ a$$ of a dealer to piss-off they (the dealer) may eventually get the message, if not they won’t be selling too many Camaros. Actually, I don’t think they’ll be selling many in the long run anyway. As a matter of fact, I bet in one month they’ll start begging people to buy these things; C11 will make them quickly humble.

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    When getting my Mazda serviced at the Chevy/Caddy/Hundai/Mazda dealer (NEVER going there again BTW), I looked at the new cars.

    ALL of them, including the aveo’s, had “Be nice, pay us an extra $2K-3K” stickers in the windows, even those which had “$3000 rebate” in big numbers on the hood…

    AND the “Be nice to us sucker” stickers also had $800 bluetooth adapters listed on all of them, including all the cars with factory bluetooth!

  • avatar

    The bottom line is this; if you think the price on a car —any car— is a rip off, don’t buy it. You can try to negotiate a deal that you’re happy with, and if you don’t come to an agreement, walk. Or even better, you go straight to the salesman or manager and tell him your (reasonable) price. Let him know that if he can’t do it, you’re walking and see what happens. If he can’t do it, leave. Period. And don’t go back.

  • avatar

    I don’t care if any dealer wants to charge a huge premium on a hot car. However, that dealer should also realize that I won’t care if their dealership closes because they can’t sell enough cars. Capitalism works both ways.

  • avatar


    If this was several years ago & stolen bailout dollars hadn’t come from public coffers, I’d say you are right — if the market will bear the price, so be it.

    Now that you are (most likely) going to sell to the same public that you have already robbed borrowed money from, charging for any vehicle over MSRP is inexcusable.

    How much more money do I have to surrender at gunpoint lend them to be able to buy the car at MSRP?

  • avatar

    This is another reason why car dealers generate zero sympathy when news comes out that many of them will be closing.

    Just another example of how the delivery and sales model in the auto industry is beyond broken.

    This is no different than some of the G8 stories that were posted here.

  • avatar

    It’s a good bet that a person who compares taxation to armed robbery has never been the victim of armed robbery.

  • avatar

    From a financial perspective, the bailout is probably worse. The only difference is that with armed robbery the emotional toll is much, much worse (so I’d imagine).

  • avatar

    Sorry to break this to everybody but it’s more than just GM dealers that do this stuff. Dodge, Ford, Toyota and Nissan dealers do it too with newly introduced sports cars such as when the new Viper came out or the all new 370Z. These price padded stickers are a common site in Upstate, NY. The local Toyota dealer charges $2000 for a chrome exterior package on Camrys for the blue haired set that consists of glued on door handle covers, a chrome body door molding that you can purchase at Advance Auto parts for $25.00 and chrome wheel covers that look like they came from Walmart or in other words can you say $1800 of pure profit.

  • avatar

    I’ve never had a problem with these ridiculous charges. It’s capitalism-don’t want the car, don’t pay the added fees. This is probably the only Camaro this dealer will get for six months.

    Of course, three years from now (if GM and this dealer are still in business) he will probably have seventeen Camaros in the back lot gathering dust.

  • avatar

    @Xander Crews,

    1. You are right. The dealers are just feeling out the market, weeding out the gawkers and maybe making a extra dime from the suckers. Market capitalism at it’s finest.

    2. It goes both ways. Most people would rather sell their children to gypsies that have to deal with a car lot.

    3. Again you are right…sort of. Money was supplied to GM, Chrysler and GMAC to provide incentives to buyers and financing. That gets passed on to deals to put money on the hood. So really, you do get taxpayer money.

    4. Again your are right. You can’t satisfy all of the people all of the time, but Saturn did a hell of a job satisfying it’s customers before GM screwed the pooch. I my not be a fan of Saturn cars but you get very few reports of unsatisfied customers.

    5. Truthfully, dealer hate probably comes from the support side of the dealership rather than the sales force. Most people (wrongfully) believe they made a good deal and screwed the dealership on their new baby. Then the dealership gets their revenge when the new baby has to come back and additional charges, failed warrenty claims, multiple comebacks, and general poor dealer experience crops up.

  • avatar

    If the dealer can find someone stupid enough to pay this, then good for him/her. That is how the system works.

    Perhaps the problem is with the sticker. Cars are unique in this regard because the markups are itemized for all to see. When you go grocery shopping the store doesn’t itemize the costs of a loaf of bread. They just tell you how much it costs for you to buy it from them.

    Why do cars have to have to show the price breakdown? Why can’t a dealer just put a price on a car?

  • avatar

    you could literally wait 6 months and get this car at invoice – incentives.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    The most powerful tool in a buyer’s arsenal is the capacity to walk away.

    Smart buyers allow the new model sales frenzy to dissipate before making their move. It also gives the manufacturer time to resolve the inevitable design and production bugs that plague new car introductions. If purchasers are busting down the showroom doors for the latest hot car the dealer has little incentive to accept a low profit offer. On the other hand, with a full storage compound and inventory charges eating him up he may snatch your deal and skin the next rube.

  • avatar

    I wouldn’t limit this type of dealer (saleman) behavior to just “domestics”. I was told that 1 in 10 people pay sticker price. We as consumers have rewarded this type of behavior with our dollars.

    I remember when the GT-R came out and there was a $20,000 market adjustment on the sticker. And those cars were sold! So who is to blame?

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