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2019 OUTBACK 2.5 TOURING
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Is Costco still offering vehicle discounts and if so, are dealers still accepting them?
Costco does not ever "offer" discounts. Dealers within a market pay Costco as a lead generator and guarantee a price mutually agreeable with both parties.
 

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2021 OB Touring, 2011 OB Premium
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I purchased my 2021 Touring on March 4, 2021 from dealer stock. This car had just come in to the dealership so it was basically "off the truck." I was able to get the car, with trading my 2018 Forester, for a little over $2,000 off MSRP. This seemed to be fair, given a trade-in situation.
 
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I have two experiences to share. My family ended up in Las Vegas in December 2020 after an unexpected and sudden international move became necessary (escaping some pretty frightening anti-virus tyranny in Argentina after 19 years living there, where the equivalent of an Outback Premium costs around US$60,000 LOL). I had a 2000 Impreza 2.5RS back in the day, bought in Schaumburg, Illinois. I fell in love with Subaru back in the Colin McRae days. And I ended up taking my Impreza down to South America for a couple years while working on an international construction project. Put 40,000 miles on it between Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile over some pretty extreme roads and weather conditions and it never let me down, despite the low ground clearance!

So naturally, now back in the USA without a car, it was straight to Subaru of Las Vegas right between Christmas and New Year 2020. It's the biggest Subaru dealer in the world, and it's quite an impressive place! We got a Crosstrek Sport as a starter vehicle. Despite paying cash, they were very stubborn about discounts, and we only managed to get about $1,000 off MSRP, based on an identical car having that discount on the website as a "dealer's special" but was sold hours earlier. We did get a whole lot of extras thrown in, though, including a 75% discount on the 10-year warranty, a trailer hitch and a few minor interior accessories. There were about 150 Crosstreks on the lot when I went, and about 900 new vehicles in total. Crazy that now the same dealer shows between 5 and 20 vehicles available any given week, nearly all in transit!

We left Vegas for the midwest and now live in a rural area where the closest dealer is 1.5 hours away. I recently started working again so we needed a second car. I wanted to get a MINI Countryman AWD for the wife. She likes the looks and the small size. A reasonably equipped entry-level one goes for a little over $32,000. The problem is, they are now nowhere to be found. Everything is top trim now for $42,000-$45,000. We don't want turbos, leather seats or heated steering wheels. So MINI was off the table. That's when we decided to get a bigger car for family trips and stuff. We don't like SUVs so I immediately started looking for an Outback. This was mid-September 2021. I was already aware of the difficulty in finding cars so I was not surprised it took some major searching to find something that was actually on the lot. I wanted a Premium trim. Nothing more, nothing less. There were a couple options in Minneapolis but they were a green one and a brown one and I really dislike those colors. I found a Bronze Premium with the Nav/Power Cargo Gate/Blind Spot Detector/etc... package for $34K + change at Beardmore Subaru in Omaha, 3.5 hours away. Called them up. They told me it was MSRP or nothing. Sounded fair given the situation. They took a deposit over the phone. A couple days later I drove out there, did the money/financing stuff, and was on way home in two hours. Great service, and I appreciate their honesty and transparency. They could have easily screwed me over by selling the car to someone else. Given the circumstances, I chalk it up as a win at MSRP given that we really needed a second car. This was not just a "I want a new car" purchase.
 

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2021 Touring XT in Crystal White Pearl
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Went by one of the Subaru dlrs. I DIDN'T buy mine from. He is also a Hyundai dlr and I wanted to see the new Santa Cruz. Didn't have one but I took a look around while I was there and they had ONE new OB. A grey Limited and they were asking $2k over MSRP. I asked about the OBW. They didn't have one but she told me when they got them they were asking $7k over MSRP. Guess P T Barnum was right, "there's a sucker born every minute."
 

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I would be new to Subaru. None of the dealerships have a turbo Outback to test drive. They don't even have a Forester available to test drive. Most vehicles are in transit are spoken for. I am not comfortable in ordering a vehicle model that I have not driven.

I am going to have to wait till the inventory increases. That most likely will be 12 to 18 months from now or later. Then I will take a serious look at the Outback, Forester, and other vehicles in their class.

Covid has definitely made looking for vehicles different. Only so much you can do on the internet to review a vehicle.
 

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2021 Touring XT in Crystal White Pearl
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Around here seems most dealers have no more than five new cars total. What’s amazing is the large number of used cars you see on carmax and other lots. How can they keep paying stupid money to buy these? Crazy times. Good lessons from Econ 101.
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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What’s amazing is the large number of used cars you see on carmax and other lots. How can they keep paying stupid money to buy these?
They wouldn't be doing this if there wasn't someone out there buying them, yes?

And I can assure you it's sold for a higher price than what they paid for it.

Econ 102. :)
 

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Fresh Out of Outbacks!
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Several automakers have decided that this is the right opportunity to overhaul their entire production & sales model. They've been looking for a way out of the overproduction-->rebate/discount cycle for years, and they think this is it.

I have no specific knowledge of Subaru's plans in this regard, but I don't expect any mass-market automaker will be able to compete once a few of the big boys show their shareholders what it's like to always sell at or above MSRP.
 

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2019 OUTBACK 2.5 TOURING
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Several automakers have decided that this is the right opportunity to overhaul their entire production & sales model. They've been looking for a way out of the overproduction-->rebate/discount cycle for years, and they think this is it.

I have no specific knowledge of Subaru's plans in this regard, but I don't expect any mass-market automaker will be able to compete once a few of the big boys show their shareholders what it's like to always sell at or above MSRP.
You are absolutely right about executives looking to change the market dynamics and to cease rebates and incentives. That has been going on for about a hundred years and is a dream of every new executive. That process will last right up to the point of when dealers have more cars in stock than they want and refuse new stock. It is hugely expensive to stop assembly lines, stops the manufacturers major source of income when they do, and leaves them little choice. This current situation is a blip in time but has yet to present a reason why a major change id going to be long-term.
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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I don't expect any mass-market automaker will be able to compete once a few of the big boys show their shareholders what it's like to always sell at or above MSRP.
GM already did this experiment - well, at least the part about selling at MSRP. They failed at it. Ever hear of Saturn?
 

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GM already did this experiment - well, at least the part about selling at MSRP. They failed at it. Ever hear of Saturn?

For years I figured Saturn was the only good thing GM made, since the constant attempts to kill it from within took so long to succeed. Apparently they kept accidentally selling cars and pleasing customers, if you can imagine such.

EDIT adding:

Seriously though- if one outlier is holding to MSRP and everyone else has piles of inventory, it's a very different situation than we have now.

@PDX Wilderness don't forget about bumperplugs.com. If that's the worst part of your deal, you did just fine for these interesting times.
 

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2020 Defender
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Several automakers have decided that this is the right opportunity to overhaul their entire production & sales model.
Interesting point about how automakers are taking this period as a way to soft launch new models and production lines. With vehicles going above msrp, wonder if automakers would revisit a direct sales model to keep more of the profits along with removing rebates / programs like Tesla. It also potentially involves secondary market like Carvana and Vroom.
 

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2021 MGM Outback 2.5i Premium with Tungsten Grey seats
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wonder if automakers would revisit a direct sales model
The dealers have lobbyists in the pockets of politicians, it won't happen. Look at the trouble Tesla has had in getting "stores" set up in some states, because they're direct sales rather than through a dealer network.
 

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The auto market has been turned completely upside down. It reminds me of exactly the market in Argentina during my 20 years there. Empty lots, wait times, markups and semi-new (2019-2021) vehicles with asking prices above 2022 MSRP. This is going to be part of the infamous "new normal" that has been jammed down our throats for the last 18 months. There is no sign of any imminent improvement in the supply chain issues. In fact, everything indicates that it's going to get worse.

However, with the trade-in mania of the last couple months probably slowing down due to lack of new stock, I do foresee dealers cooling down on used car purchases. Their lots are filling up with used cars at exorbitant prices, and with increasing inflationary pressures pushing families more towards basic necessities, I predict a sharp downturn in used prices by year end. Not a price collapse, mind you, but a significant correction.

My mother traded in a 2013 CR-V EXL FWD with 90,000 miles a month ago. I had calculated a ~$13,000 street price and was expecting less than 10k on the trade-in. Final value ended up being $10,500 which was not too bad. The dealer put it for sale for $16,700. That is absurd. Of course, a month later, it's still sitting on their lot. I don't think there are many people validating these high prices and many used sales are probably done with hefty discounts. For sure the "specialty" cars like the Wildernesses, and soon probably the new WRX, will have plenty of shoppers paying 20-30% surcharges to be "firsts" if indeed the supply remains low. Or the Civic Type R I saw with a $10,000 "scarcity" surcharge. But the markups on "normal" used and new cars cannot continue as demand contracts due to economic belt-tightening by a big chunk of the population.

All IMO of course.
 

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The dealers have lobbyists in the pockets of politicians, it won't happen. Look at the trouble Tesla has had in getting "stores" set up in some states, because they're direct sales rather than through a dealer network.
If the dealers are no longer providing the (previously very valuable) function of warehousing product, then the automakers may feel a bit more bold about challenging them via direct sales.

I don't see direct sales as a natural consequence of this change, but I'd say it will be closer to possible once everyone has settled into this new arrangement.

If nothing else, dealers will have to find other ways to prove their worth to their partners in manufacturing. Or not.
 

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It is normal for the uninvolved public to relate the dealer/manufacturer dynamic as it pertains to the sale of vehicles only. The reality is that it is far deeper than that. The average dealership today represents around an eleven-million dollar investment...not including real estate. They represent an instant payment for the vehicles produced as soon as they come off the assembly line and venues covering the entire country where they are displayed and advertised.

Dealerships are built to the approved specs of the manufacturer and represent not only a sales location that is staffed but also a Parts & Service facility handling the entirety of the manufacturer's warranty needs. Not only do these dealers do the warranty, they stock and sell billions of dollars of OEM parts yearly that are highly profitable to the manufacturer. They also collectively spend more advertising dollars into their market than the manufacturer does in total.

Dealers do not spend millions of dollars to build service facilities without sales and equip them with hundreds of thousand of dollars worth of equipment. They build these facilities as part of the package to sell new cars, used cars, financial products, service, parts, body-shops, and the many other products they become involved with.

When the manufacturer chooses to sell direct to the consumer, dealers would walk away. The same as with hundreds of other products, retailers who have to compete with each other but also with the manufacturer selling them the product, it becomes a losing proposition. In many cases today, the actual value of the dealer body to be replaced is more than the actual value of the manufacturer. Contrary to some inexperienced journalism majors dreams, this system is unlikely to be replaced anytime soon. It has worked for both parties for more than a hundred years. Only ten percent of the buyers currently surveyed feel comfortable buying a vehicle on-line unseen. Hardly a groundswell driving change.
 

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@rasterman Was digging around based on this thread about direct sales and came across this; Ford Wants More Buyers to Order Online and Wait, Rather Than Pick Off the Lot and this Ford Might Give You $2,000 If You Buy New Off The Lot: Report (jalopnik.com) .

This makes sense based on Ford's approach with the mach-e, lightening, bronco, and maverick. With the Cadillac Lyriq selling out via online, that is another example. Within the above article they mention VW is trying to increase the custom orders using their TN plant. Subaru is in a unique position as they are similar enough to VW in the US to offer custom online orders with the vehicles sourced from IN.
 

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It is normal for the uninvolved public to relate the dealer/manufacturer dynamic as it pertains to the sale of vehicles only. The reality is that it is far deeper than that. The average dealership today represents around an eleven-million dollar investment...not including real estate. They represent an instant payment for the vehicles produced as soon as they come off the assembly line and venues covering the entire country where they are displayed and advertised.

Dealerships are built to the approved specs of the manufacturer and represent not only a sales location that is staffed but also a Parts & Service facility handling the entirety of the manufacturer's warranty needs. Not only do these dealers do the warranty, they stock and sell billions of dollars of OEM parts yearly that are highly profitable to the manufacturer. They also collectively spend more advertising dollars into their market than the manufacturer does in total.

Dealers do not spend millions of dollars to build service facilities without sales and equip them with hundreds of thousand of dollars worth of equipment. They build these facilities as part of the package to sell new cars, used cars, financial products, service, parts, body-shops, and the many other products they become involved with.

When the manufacturer chooses to sell direct to the consumer, dealers would walk away. The same as with hundreds of other products, retailers who have to compete with each other but also with the manufacturer selling them the product, it becomes a losing proposition. In many cases today, the actual value of the dealer body to be replaced is more than the actual value of the manufacturer. Contrary to some inexperienced journalism majors dreams, this system is unlikely to be replaced anytime soon. It has worked for both parties for more than a hundred years. Only ten percent of the buyers currently surveyed feel comfortable buying a vehicle on-line unseen. Hardly a groundswell driving change.
The dynamic is changing with the electrification of vehicles. Less parts to stock / replace (exhaust, ignition, oil, transmissions, etc) as vehicles become less complex but more dependent on electric motors and computers. Literally just swapping out modules. No different than carriage shops or buggy whips scaling back. Sure, blacksmiths still make horseshoes, but they are legacy services.
 

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Contrary to some inexperienced journalism majors dreams, this system is unlikely to be replaced anytime soon. It has worked for both parties for more than a hundred years. Only ten percent of the buyers currently surveyed feel comfortable buying a vehicle on-line unseen. Hardly a groundswell driving change.
Just wondering how long you think Tesla can keep using their current sales and service practices.
Seems to me three reasons their current model works for them are 1. their customer base is not put off by it and is willing to adapt, 2. they have more demand than supply, and 3. the cars have fewer mechanical parts and don't need the same extensive support organization that ICE needs.
 
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