Photo credit: Jared Auslander/Jalopnik

I’ve brokered thousands of deals and have encountered a variety of excuses as to why a car’s price was not competitive, but I’ve have never had a dealer say the automaker made them charge more. If the email I just got is any indication of the norm, the excellent Kia Stinger is getting absolutely screwed by its dealers.

Here’s the email, one of many I’ve received from all of you who were really excited by the new Kia Stinger but have grown incredibly frustrated with the dealership process. This tale of a man who was allegedly told that Kia is requiring markups on the car, however, is on a whole other level of pathetic:

“This was a Sunset Yellow Stinger GT2 RWD which stickers for $50,100. They looked me dead in the face and said: “$54,900 that’s the price”. $4800 over because “Kia told us we have to sell the car at a certain price” Then the dealer said“We can take off the extra $1200 for mudflaps ($95 on the Kia website) and $1200 for ‘nitrogen tire treatment’ (take it out and give me good old air), but the $2500 Limited Edition markup is required”...

This buyer then made two other attempts to buy a Kia stinger at or below the MSRP only to be told on numerous occasions that either the advertised prices online or via the TrueCar buying services were “wrong” or that the additional dealer markup and accessories were not disclosed.


Of course, none of this is terribly surprising. And while I’m sure there are a few Kia dealers somewhere that are willing to offer a fair price on the Stinger, those seem to be the exception rather than the rule. Recently I was attempting to help lady by a Kia Niro and got a phone call from the sales manager of a local Kia dealer who spent over fifteen minutes berating me as to why he will not be sending me a quote in writing.

I reached out to Kia Motors Of America to see if they had any procedures or policies in place similar to what Dodge did for the Demon to help mitigate shady sales tactics on the Stinger. The Kia rep did not elaborate but just sent me the simple message of:

“KMA actively discourages dealers from marking up prices above Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price.”


At the end of the day, economics is going to favor the seller when the there are more buyers than available products. But the perfect storm of a hot car and what might be one of the worst dealership networks of any mainstream automaker is not doing Kia any favors. That’s extra true if Kia expects to use the Stinger as a means to move “upmarket.” The reality is that eventually, the market will have to adjust, but the actions of a few dealers may have turned off too many buyers and encouraged them to look elsewhere.

Do you have a Kia Stinger sales story to tell? Hit me up at