How Not to Get Screwed by Dealership Markup

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In the coming months and years, Ford is going to be offering some pretty hot and impressive vehicles for sale. The Ford Focus RS. The Shelby GT350 and GT350 R. The 2017 Ford Raptor. All of these vehicles will be in high demand, and that means there will be some dealerships out there looking to make extra profit from the sale. Here’s how to avoid the annoying practice.

You’ll notice this more in high traffic areas. Just check out this post about a 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI over at Best Ride. There is a dealership in the San Francisco Bay Area that wants an additional $4,995 on a GTI  just because! We’ve heard of dealerships asking for $10,000 – $20,000 in markup on the 2015 Ford Mustang 50th Anniversary Edition!

Mustang 50 Year Limited Edition

So how do they get away with it? Because they can. At some point, someone will come in, wanting the car right now and fork out the extra coin on the car. On a rare car like the Mustang 50th, I can sort of understand, but on a Golf GTI, it blows my mind.

The best way to avoid it is to shop around. And I don’t mean go to the dealership up the street. If you live in an area where dealership markup is popular, such as Los Angeles or San Francisco, you need to be looking farther away.

GT 50 Years badge on the back of 2015 Ford Mustang 50 Year Limited Edition in Wimbledon White.

Just to give you an example, the rinky-dink town I live in has a Mercedes-Benz dealership. On that dealership lot is a 2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S. The price? MRSP. There is no way any business would stay in business in my town by charging more than MSRP on a vehicle.

For just the $5,000 markup that is being asked on the GTI, you could purchase a first-class airline ticket to anywhere in the country to buy the GTI. Most dealerships, to make a sale, would volunteer to pick you up at the airport, saving you cab fare. You could then drive back across the country in your new car, eat at nice places, and stay in decent hotels on your way home with your new car. And you’d still have money leftover to cover your time off of work for the trip, fuel, and other expenses!


In some cases, it’s even easier when ordering the car. Ford is still an automotive maker that allows custom orders of their vehicles. You can order a car from any dealership in the country, and they can have the car shipped to your local dealership for pickup for no additional charge. The delivery fee that you’re charged doesn’t mean that it has to go to the dealership you actually purchased it from!

Last time I checked, it’s more important for dealerships to sell volume than it is profit per individual car sold. Selling two or three cars at sticker price will net the dealership more money than selling one with a stupid markup. Plus, when those monthly sales sheets come out, there will be more cars sold as a result of not charging a markup. That seems like the obvious choice in my book.


When looking for your next new, rare Ford, don’t just settle for what your local dealership can do if they’re going to try to mandate a market adjustment on your ride. If you cast a wide net, you can get the vehicle you want without paying exorbitant markup.

What do you think? Let us know in the forums!

Chad Kirchner is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other auto sites.

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