Seven Subaru dealerships in Melbourne have moved to a fixed-pricing model in an effort to improve transparency for consumers and do away with haggling.
The 'Price Pledge' initiative has been implemented across the Trivett retail group's dealer sites in Berwick, Docklands, Doncaster, Essendon, Glen Waverley, Mentone and Werribee Plaza.
The approach was originally trialled across two models from May 2020 onwards, but has now been rolled out across all models in the brand's portfolio.
"Price Pledge gives Subaru Melbourne customers price transparency in the process of considering a new car. It presents our best price, up front, first time," a Trivett spokesperson told CarAdvice.
Prices are calculated by taking into account the average discount consumers have negotiated historically, as well as the nationwide stock availability for the vehicle in question.
Vehicles with more available stock are likely to attract higher discounts, and prices are also likely to change over time, but Trivett will aim to limit these price changes to once a month at most.
The plan also gives competing dealerships the option of undercutting Trivett's prices – with most Subaru businesses independently owned – but Trivett is confident customers will respond well to the transparency.
"Customers are responding well and the next step is to embed ‘Value My Car’ into in-store and online customer engagement platform. This compliments the best price, first time Price Pledge philosophy, but expands the same ethos to include trade-in cars," the spokesperson explained.
"This uncomplicated, simple and customer-centric approach to retailing is Trivett Retail’s first significant step towards a realignment with our customers."
While Trivett has dealerships across Australia, the Price Pledge program was first implemented in Victoria due to the state's extended COVID-19 lockdowns, which provided ample time to road-test the model.
Trivett is expected to roll the pricing model out across its other Subaru locations in due course.
Meanwhile, a Subaru Australia spokesperson said that while the fixed pricing model was strictly a "Trivett Melbourne initiative", it's likely "other parts of the network will be watching with interest".
The spokesperson added that a wider rollout of this fixed pricing model, "would be up to individual dealers or owner groups to consider".
Trivett's decision follows Honda Australia announcing it would switch to fixed prices for all its new cars from 1 July 2021, with discounts on recommended retail prices not to be offered "under any circumstances".