Dealership Markups Are Getting Insane

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
dealership markups are getting insane

Car buyers and market observers are used to seeing large dealership markups on models that are tough to get — first editions of popular cars, usually, or models that are produced in small numbers, or both.

It’s no shock to see the Ford Bronco or Chevrolet Corvette marked up by thousands of dollars. Motor Trend reported markups of $30K on Broncos, for example. C8 Corvettes are also being marked up like crazy.

While annoying, it’s somewhat understandable, given how the franchise-dealer system works, as well as how basic capitalism and supply and demand work. You don’t have to like the phenomenon, but the logic behind its existence is sound.

Still, we draw the line at an almost $6K markup of a Mitsubishi Mirage.

You read that right. A dealership in Tennessee marked a Mirage — a freakin’ Mitsubishi Mirage — up by nearly $6,000 over its manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP), charging $24,260 for one after a $5,995 upcharge.

This is a result of the greater issues surrounding the industry right now. Inventories are at historical lows, due in part to the semiconductor chip shortage, and pricing for both new and used cars is all sorts of insane.

Still, it’s a bit jarring to see this kind of markup on a car that’s a) produced in large enough numbers that it is far from “rare” and b) marketed as basic transit to those who either can’t afford much or who simply only want the cheapest car they can get, regardless of income.

The Mirage isn’t in high demand, and it isn’t rare or built in low numbers. So this is either a dealership trying to get as much as it can out of each sale, knowing supply is tight, or a store screwing over low-income consumers, some of whom may have shaky credit, as Jalopnik asserts. Or it’s both.

Either way, it’s another reason to not buy a car in the short term unless you absolutely have to.

[Image: Mitsubishi]

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  • Jeff S Jeff S on Aug 01, 2021

    @Lou_BC--What you and Yankee said about the skilled labor shortage and about many of the younger workers is spot on. There are a few younger workers who are really good but it is few. There is an independent garage that I go to that has a couple of long time experienced mechanics but most of the rest come and go. Many of the youth are told to get a college degree but are not steered toward fields that they can get a good paying job with potential for growth. Art History, History, Literature, and other humanities degrees might make a person more knowledgeable and a better informed individual but they do not qualify you for a good job. I have 3 degrees Business Management, Petroleum Land Management, and Accounting and it was the Accounting degree that advanced my career and opened doors for me. When I was younger my goal was to get away from Accounting but after numerous jobs where I was laid off because of downsizing or a bad economy I was able to finally able to get a good job and advance myself because of my Accounting degree and experience. Few jobs are exciting but much of what you do is your attitude. You can find satisfaction in any job.

  • TheEndlessEnigma TheEndlessEnigma on Jun 09, 2022

    Fast forward one year since this article was published....and the Mirage hatch is in demand AND they are being sold as fast as they are stocked; the sedan a little less so but still sought after.

  • Ollicat I have a Spyder. The belt will last for many years or 60,000-80,000 miles. Not really a worry.
  • Redapple2 Cadillac and racing. Boy those 2 go together dont they? What a joke. Up there with opening a coffee shop in NYC. EvilGM be clowning. Again.
  • Jbltg Rear bench seat does not match the front buckets. What's up?
  • Theflyersfan The two Louisville truck plants are still operating, but not sure for how much longer. I have a couple of friends who work at a manufacturing company in town that makes cooling systems for the trucks built here. And they are on pins and needles wondering if or when they get the call to not go back to work because there are no trucks being made. That's what drives me up the wall with these strikes. The auto workers still get a minimum amount of pay even while striking, but the massive support staff that builds components, staffs temp workers, runs the logistics, etc, ends up with nothing except the bare hope that the state's crippled unemployment system can help them keep afloat. In a city where shipping (UPS central hub and they almost went on strike on August 1) and heavy manufacturing (GE Appliance Park and the Ford plants) keeps tens of thousands of people employed, plus the support companies, any prolonged shutdown is a total disaster for the city as well. UAW members - you're not getting a 38% raise right away. That just doesn't happen. Start a little lower and end this. And then you can fight the good fight against the corner office staff who make millions for being in meetings all day.
  • Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )