Posted by Dale Buss on February 17, 2011 11:00 AM
Despite what eBay says, most people hate buying cars.
It’s not just a matter of the huge financial stakes that are typically involved – it's typically their second-largest purchase, after a house. It’s also a perception problem, and the fact that auto salespeople can make you feel like you’ve been taken, even when you haven’t.
Fiat wants to save buyers of its new 500 model from all that unpleasantness when the Italian-made curiosity begins landing on US shores in the coming weeks.
North American Fiat chief Laura Soave indicated earlier this month that the 130 Chrysler dealers who have qualified to sell the Fiat 500 will be encouraged to use “no-haggle” pricing.
The idea isn’t new, of course. Most of the strength of GM’s now-defunct Saturn brand was in its unique approach to customer relations at the dealership level, which included a genuine service mentality and a relative absence of price negotiation.
Soave says that Millennials don’t like to haggle, though that would be true for just about everyone. What is clear is that the 500 may take some getting used to by American consumers, including its clam-shaped hood. And of course, the remnant vibe of the Fiat brand in the United States isn’t good after the carmaker slinked unremarkably out of the American market many years ago with a poor reputation for vehicle quality.
Just about everything concerning Chrysler and its new owner is iconoclastic these days. No-haggle pricing would fit right in.