Called Lexus Plus, the scheme aims to bring total transparency to car prices. Each car on the showroom floor wears a sticker on the windshield that lists its retail price, any options or accessories fitted, incentives, discounts and a final non-negotiable price – which can sometimes be less than the listed retail price. The scheme also applies to used vehicles.
Haggling can be fun for some in a dusty street bazaar or crowded market, but when it comes to buying a new car the agonising to-and-fro of offer and counter-offer can be a pain.
It’s not just about providing what Lexus calls “Upfront Pricing” either. A single salesperson assists the customer from new car browsing to new car buying, reducing the chance prospective owners are handballed from employee to employee and making the buying process as fuss-free as possible.
The scheme is so far confined to the US market and participation by car dealers is voluntary. While the initial response from dealers and customers has been positive, the programme is still in its infancy.
Asked by WhichCar whether Lexus Plus and its no-haggle pricing policy could come to Australia, a Lexus representative said it was something the local operation was monitoring but had yet to commit to.
No-haggle dealerships aren’t exactly a Lexus invention though, with negotiation-free dealers proving somewhat successful in overseas markets – primarily the USA. The concept has yet to get traction in Australia.
General Motors even made no-haggle dealerships a core pillar of its Saturn sub-brand, while Toyota’s youth-focused Scion offshoot adopted a similar tactic when it arrived in the USA in 2003.
That said, GM shut down its Saturn division in 2010 and Toyota is preparing to wind up its Scion operation by the end of this year. Read into that what you will.