Ragging on car dealerships has become a sport almost from the beginning. But there are sometimes reasons why they continue being maligned, like the one we present here. West Shore Honda in Tampa, Florida, recently sold a bread-and-butter 2023 Civic in a uniquely convoluted sleight-of-hand number salad.
What is a “Market Value Selling Price”?
The $26,240 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, or MSRP, suggests this was a slightly upgraded base model. But it does have a manual transmission. And the best news is that West Shore has discounted it by $9,400. So this is starting out to be a great price.
But this dealer doesn’t look at MSRP for its pricing, that’s so 2020. Instead, they use the more timely “Market Value Selling Price,” or MVSP. We don’t know how they come up with this price. But we can assume that it favors the dealer since, after all, the dealership is the one determining that amount.
What is a dealership “Marketing Adjustment?”
But remember, this dealer offers great discounts on its new Hondas. So being the benevolent dealer they are, this Honda Civic is already discounted $9,400.84, for an adjusted price of $16,839.17. That’s almost one-third off MSRP, which would be great if the price was based on that. Unfortunately, it is not.
But then, the additional fees begin. Three rows down on the invoice there is a $9,995 “marketing adjustment.” That more than wiped out the discount. Moving along, there is a “Westshore Adv” charge of $2,995. Now we’re up to $29,829.
What are some other dealership fees to avoid?
What is that? It is the Westshore Advantage Plan package that includes things like Nitrogen Tire Service and Anti-theft VIN Etching. This, by the way, is a non-negotiable charge, according to the Reddit poster whose tale of woe we are relating.
Besides Marketing Adjustments and packages that include VIN etching and such, you should always avoid fees for Guaranteed Asset Protection or GAP Insurance, Loan Protection Insurance, Extended Warranty, Tire and Wheel Protection, appearance packages, and anti-theft devices. We’re sure some of these are part of the Westshore Advantage Plan.
Taxable fees, dealership fees, it’s too confusing
But there’s more. A $394.50 “Taxable Fee” is next on the list. These fees protect the lender from having the state seize the car over nonpayment of taxes ahead of the lender. Unfortunately, they’re a legitimate fee that comes with car loans.
There is also a “Dealer Fee” of $1,198. Unfortunately, we don’t know what this is. And there is a “Non-Tax Fee” of $1,617.69. If it were a tax fee, it would have to be a legitimate charge that the dealer can’t keep or get a cut of. It would also be deductible. But a Non Tax Fee is nothing but a mumbo-jumbo dealer markup.
So in the end, the $26,240 2023 Honda Civic that was discounted by $9,400 became a $34,999.66 Honda Civic. In other words $35,000. That’s what some would call inflation, but not us.