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6 Cars With a Shameless Markup Over MSRP

Low inventory and high demand have skyrocketed dealer prices .2022 is simply a bad year to buy a car.
Chris D'Alessandro

Supply chain issues, inflation and the desire to escape quarantine have driven car prices through the roof. Despite manufacturers trying to keep new cars within more reasonable selling prices, dealers have taken full advantage of the current climate to squeeze every dollar possible out of your next car purchase.

We’ve entered a realm where even the humble Kia Rio is being marked up 21 per cent over sticker price. In fact, some of the absolute worst deals in cars right now are on (formally) inexpensive, value-driven, economy cars from South Korean manufacturers, according to Consumer Reports.

Trucks like the Toyota Tacona and Tundra, and even vans like the family-friendly Honda Odyssey have not been immune from a two or three percent markup from their average selling price.

This price gouging has become so expected, Car & Driver published a report revealing that 40% of buyers would be willing to pay at least $5,000 over MSRP for their next vehicle.

Still, the lower initial MSRP has kept most of these vehicles within the realm of obtainability.

Where we start to see some truly shameless cost inflation is in the mid to higher-tier vehicles.

Luxury, sports, and specialty cars are selling well outside their intended price range, with frankly shameless amounts of dealer mark up.

If you’re looking for anything close to a fair deal on your next new vehicle purchase, these are probably the top six to avoid.

Mercedes G-Class – 18 per cent over sticker

Starting MSRP: $154,900

The “G-Wagen” has always commanded a high price due to its exclusivity. However, with Mercedes’ recent decision to halt delivery of any vehicle with a V8 engine, availability of new G-Class vehicles has fallen off the map.

Expect both demand, and prices to continue to increase as the V8-powered G-Wagen becomes more of a rarity on the streets.

Mercedes AMG

Kia Telluride – 18 per cent over sticker

Starting MSRP: $46,995

There seems to be no end in sight for the price gouging on the coveted Kia Telluride.

In the summer of 2021, Kelly Blue Book found selling prices were around 8% over sticker. Last month, however, Consumer Reports found that number had skyrocketed to 18% over sticker.

This hike in price spurred on the joke (one based in fact) that the Telluride is worth more used than when bought new. Ask a Kia-loyalist, however, and they’ll still tell you that they’re getting great value for their money.


2022 Kia Telluride

Chevrolet Corvette – 7 – 23 per cent over sticker

Starting MSRP: $70,998

Remember when everybody thought the new Corvette was going to cost $60,000 out the door and as such, that the new GR Supra was doomed? But then we all found out that you can’t touch a C8 Corvette for under $100,000? That was fun.

Back in October, The Drive reported the average selling price for a Corvette was about $90,000 USD. A reflection of an increase in Chevy sales prices across the board, which was up around seven per cent from August, 2021 and 23.3 per cent from 2020.

Now granted, that puts the ‘Vette right around what Chevy says it will cost for a coupe with a few options on their website. And KBB only found prices to be inflated about 2 per cent back in August.

However, I challenge anyone to find a C8 Corvette, at a dealer, selling for less than $120,000.

2023 Chevrolet Corvette

Land Rover Defender – >5 per cent over sticker

Starting MSRP: $66,100

The Defender has all the markings of a vehicle ripe to see rampant dealer price gouging.

First, it’s a luxury SUV. Second, it’s the newest, most hyped Land Rover on the market. And lastly, supplies are low — with dealers only receiving enough stock to last about 16 days.

The real tragedy is that the Defender was supposed to be a more accessible option than the Range Rover Sport, while being more capable than some of Land Rovers’ more luxury-focused, entry-level vehicles.

Thumb through some dealer listings, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a new one under the $95,000 mark.

2022 Range Rover Defender

Cadillac Escalade – >4 per cent over sticker

Starting MSRP: $90,495

During the second quarter of the 2021, the average transaction price of a Cadillac hit an all-time high in the U.S. of $67,488 — which beat the previous record set in 2019 by roughly $7,000. The primary driver of the new all-time high was the 2021 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV, both of which can easily run up an MSRP of $100,000 with a few options.

KBB in August reported that Escalades were leaving lots, on average, with roughly a four per cent markup over MSRP. But a quick thumb through dealer listings will show you listings for anything from $110,000 to $140,000 for a 2021 Escalade or newer.

Despite the increase in price, Escalade sales continue to see positive growth.

2021 Cadillac Escalade

Ford Bronco – 2 – 20 per cent over sticker

Starting MSRP: $40,499

What a tragedy it is to see such shameless markup on the new Broncos. Ford’s revived off-road rival was supposed to set free a new generation of adventurers at an accessible price.

Mercifully, you can find some entry-level models around the $50,000 mark, which doesn’t feel terribly excessive over the base MSRP, especially with a few options. Those prices also seem to be in line with KBB’s estimate of around 2 per cent over sticker.

Go for the higher Badlands edition, however — a vehicle which is supposed to start around $54,000 — and you can expect to pay up to $90,000 or more. Even fully loaded, that’s about 20 per cent more than what Ford says the vehicle should cost.

2022 Ford Bronco
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