Congress has before it a plan that, if accepted, will require auto makers to paste on the windshield of each new car a label showing the exact “suggested retail price” set by the manufacturer.
The Department of Justice, at the same time, is presenting evidence to a grand jury in Washington, DC, in an attempt to show that some auto dealers around Washington are violating antitrust laws by agreeing to fix prices several hundred dollars higher than the manufacturers’ suggested list prices. Investigations are underway in other cities, too.
The idea gaining ground in Washington — and in the auto industry as well — is that some action is needed to lessen confusion over car prices.
In recent years, price confusion has grown rapidly. Auto buyers have been bombarded and bewildered with claims and counterclaims concerning “gimmick advertising,” “price packs,” “discounts,” “overallowances,” “bootlegged cars,” and other things.
Many have the impression that car prices are higher than they actually are. The uncertainty has contributed to the slump in auto sales, dealers say.