First, buyers need to know some car pricing terms. "Sticker price" refers to the price displayed on a car's window or "Monroney" sticker. It's also called manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP).
Buyers usually treat the sticker price as an "asking price" and try to negotiate a discount. That usually works. But in some cases, it won't. And keep in mind that even within a single dealership there could be pricing differences, depending on whether you contact a salesperson on the floor or the Internet manager (who will often give lower prices).
Here are some common situations that lead a dealer to charge full sticker price and refuse to come down from it:
1. When a car first hits the showroom. Some new cars are highly anticipated and even before the car reaches the dealership, there is a waiting list of eager buyers. Some dealerships even try to get more than sticker price for these cars, asking for a "market adjustment" of $1,000 or more. The over-sticker charge is highly inflated, and it's sometimes possible to negotiate all or part of it away. But a dealer's determination to charge sticker price is a fact of life when demand is high.
2. When you want a hard-to-find combination of color and options. If you've searched the entire state for a Dodge Challenger 392 Hemi Scat Pack Shaker in Sublime Green Pearl and found one at a dealership 300 miles away from you, it will be hard to get a discount. That's because the salesperson knows it is unique and that you really want it. If the salesperson won't budge, where's your leverage? You can't tell the salesperson you'll go to his competition, since there is none. You can always ask for the dealer's "best price," or simply request a discount. But if the answer is no and you still want the car, you'll have to pay sticker.