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Dealers Limiting Deals for Buyers Coming From Too Far?

1416 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  bugsnt
Some time back, maybe a year or two there was talk on here about SOA requiring dealers to limit the discounts to potential buyers that come from too far away. This was supposed to prevent loss of sales and protect dealers in more rural areas, where most Subaru buyers were traveling to metro areas for much better deals.

Does anyone have any information on this? If this is true, what distances are considered too far? How much are deals limited? Do all big metro dealers comply/participate?
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In the Bay Area, Serramonte Subaru's internet department gave me by far the best offer for a '18 Limited Forester, but if I wanted to register it more than 180 miles away from the dealership, they would have to charge $1000 more. I asked if there was any way around this extra fee and was told no, and they let me 'walk' (by email).

That being said, other dealers were able to offer around that price or lower a few months later when there was more incentive to move the '18s.

In my experience, it's a thing, but a very very rare thing. The two big Colorado dealers are very happy to have you come and buy there and so are the Seattle area ones (and Eastern WA). AND, the internet quote from Serramonte had the distance requirement listed too, so if on the off chance there is a dealer who has to charge more to customers further away, then you should know right away. So imo you should keep your search wide - only takes a min to ask for an internet quote!
I made my purchase through the USAA Car Buying Service, which didn't do much more than make the introduction to a salesperson at Subaru of Spokane. I live in Kennewick, WA, which is about 140 miles away. There is a large Subaru dealer in the city adjacent to mine (Pasco, WA). After some back-and-forth via email on a custom order, the Spokane dealer made my an offer below invoice. I took the offer to the Pasco dealership, and was told they would not go below MSRP on an order. I placed the order with the Spokane dealership and am due to take delivery in about two weeks.

There are also dealerships in Hermiston, OR (about 30 miles away) and in Yakima, WA (about 90 miles). I didn't approach them with my offer. No one else is within 200 miles.

If there is some distance requirement or limitation here, no one has said anything about it. I'll pay slightly more state sales tax in Spokane (9% vs 8.6% where I live) because each county sets its own rates, but the costs of registration will be the same.
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I haven't had any dealers indicate they have a distance issue on initial discussions. And from looking at the dealer locating map, it looks like there are a lot of dealers close together in some areas and broad areas with no dealers particularly close, either. So an arbitrary "180" mile distance could have some serious anti-competitive impacts on the close together dealers and a negative impact on customers in broad swaths of the greater southwest US not in the urban areas. Registration is set by the state and sales tax is based on the point of registration, not sale. For example, I live in San Bernardino County but am within less than 20 miles of dealers in SBDO, L.A., Orange and Riverside county as well. My purchase would be registered and taxed at the San Bernardino (and city, if applicable) rate which could be as much as 2% or so different from the highest areas. That's about $600 on a $30,000 car so I suppose one might find some notable tax differences depending on how the tax/registration fees worked out. But the Distance surcharge seems a little ???
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Here in Alaska the Subaru dealer will not drop a dime. The price is firm as on sticker.
Tried to buy a 19 Forester last week. No deal. Ether buy or not. Not even throw a free keychain. Walked away. Looking for a 18 VW Tiguan now.
To be clear, the 180 mile limit is, I would think/assume/guess, NOT a Subaru wide-policy, but a policy put in place at that dealership - maybe by Subaru, maybe just by the owners, who knows. It was JUST at that dealer (Serramonte in South San Francisco). I have not heard any other dealers having any policy like that.
This information might be outdated but this was in effect when I purchased my 2017 OB in June of 2016.

At that time, Subaru had implemented a policy of penalizing dealerships which offered to sell vehicles to any owners who would register the vehicle outside a 200 mile radius of the selling dealer. I live in Central NJ and contacted a dealer in PA and before they quoted me a price, they simply asked what my zip code was for registering the vehicle. After the email quote and I got around to speak to someone in their Internet sales dept, they did confirm that there was a penalty for selling outside the "Area Of Responsibility". The dealership never shared this penalty amount with me.
As for the high volume dealers in CO, they have come out and publicly stated they they would absorb any penalties imposed by SOA. I'm reading between the lines that the penalty is not great enough to prevent these dealers from selling to out of area buyers.
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