While markups are hitting new cars left and right, the used market is seeing a more subtle version of markups. With new inventory tight, used cars are just as hot. But not all the savings you see are actual savings. Some dealers are lying in plain sight to make it seem as if you’re saving big on the price you’re seeing. Don’t fall for it.
I noticed this after stumbling across a car I was looking at. Being the old man that I am, I was checking out a 2019 Kia K900 at a local dealer. I almost exclusively use Cargurus for car buying because of features like being able to exclude vehicles that have been in accidents, and the ability to see price increases or whether or not a car is a good deal. This particular K900 came across as a good deal. With just 30,025 miles the dealer is asking $40,300.
Now, on the dealer’s site, these savings are presented as huge savings to the buyer. The dealer claims that the market value of this K900 as it is is $48,145. Remember that number because I’m not entirely sure where the dealer got it from. A “price difference” of $7,845 is presented as some sort of savings, resulting in the $40,300 sale price. Here’s the problem.
First, the market value the dealer has presented here is pretty much arbitrary. They pulled it out of their ass. I don’t know where they got it from, and that price is not its Blue Book value. Checking KBB.com shows that with the years, mileage, and options this K900 has its value range is $36,583 to $39,060. Things get better when you check Cargurus.
The price history on Cargurus shows that the dealer has increased the price of the car by over $5,400 since March of ‘21. It’s pricing gymnastics for false savings.
It’s even happening on the lower end of the market. Take this 2019 Nissan Sentra at another local dealer. The dealer says the retail price is $23,977 with a “dealer discount” of $2,489 for a sale price of $21,488. Like the K900 and its market value price, that “retail price” is completely made up. And a 2019 Sentra with over 50,000 miles is only worth $16,193 to $17,886 according to KBB. And sure enough, if you check Cargurus, you’ll see that it’s overpriced by over $2,900.
So if you’re in the market for a used car, be on the lookout for these false savings. Go in with your own info on car values. MSRPs are already meaningless, and it seems as if dealers have made market values just as pointless.