Bill Marsh Jr. 44, president of an 8-brand dealership group in Traverse City, MI, has been using the Internet to help sell cars since the early 1990s, making him a pioneer of sorts.
He says, “Other dealers have stumbled on the web because they advertise manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRPs) for their new vehicles when most consumers know they're inflated.
“We have consistently displayed the very best discounted prices that are non-negotiable and set at market. That pulls in consumers from an 80-square-mile area who are drawn by cars they can get here hassle-free.”
Tom Libby, senior director of the Power Information Network, a tracker of automotive retailing says, “A significant segment of marketplace likes haggling. Some people like one-price.”
Although some industry observers and participants say General Motors Corp.'s employee discount pricing plan for regular consumers was a step toward no-haggle pricing, Libby disagrees.
“GM's employee discount for customers did not change the landscape nor was it intended to,” he says.
Marsh eschews certified pre-owned cars because “our reconditioned used cars are better and less pricy.”
He has sold 1,925 new cars from January to July this year, including 700 Buicks, Pontiacs and GMCs; 600 Chryslers, Dodges and Jeeps; 450 Saturns and 175 Hyundais.
Add to that about 1,200 used units at the group's “Price Point” centers and Marsh feels he's doing “pretty well” in a town of 25,000 that's icebound in Michigan's northern winter.
“We'd love to buy more stores in northern Michigan,” says Marsh, whose three brothers work alongside him at the dealerships. “We truly enjoy selling transportation that's better and better to look at as well as fun to drive — at one and only one market price.”