Because there's extra profit to be had in dealing with people who don't negotiate or are unskilled at it?
That seems like the only reason I can think of. Can't say I like it. Joe Bob Jones shouldn't be able to get a better price on a mass-produced good by being meaner/more stubborn/smoother/whatever than Jim Bob Smith...
Thinking about this more I started thinking about buying a house. With pre-built, regular neighborhood homes, negotiating a price for a house makes sense - it's essentially a unique, hand-made product and there are a whole bunch of factors involved like location, construction quality, materials, age, etc etc. that make that house different than every other house on the market. There are emotional factors, market influences, etc.
In some developments, though, when we were shopping for houses we looked at a couple of those where essentially there's a huge development built by a single builder and they have maybe 4-5 house "styles" to choose from and they build them on demand. In those cases it seemed like the real deciding factor in price differences was location/lot size; otherwise, the house itself cost $X for this base model, and $Y more if you wanted upgraded floors/counters/etc, and $Z more for an extra laundry area, or whatever. It was pretty much "pick your house and here's a chart showing you what it will cost." There seems to be much less variance in price and less wiggle room to negotiate, which makes sense because they're essentially building to suit your specs instead of trying to convince you to buy something already built.
To me, buying a new car seems somewhat more like the latter type of house-buying than the former, and even more "cookie cutter" in that there's no "location" factor to consider. It's a mass-produced appliance. But for some reason it seems like we treat it more like the former, and act like every car is unique and every person should pay a unique price. I find it odd, and kind of... anti-consumer.
Cool story, bro. But this isn't what we were talking about. Sharing another dealer's pricing is the issue, not shopping around for competitive price.
Yes, that's what we were talking about. The conversation evolved from the ethics of sharing one dealer's pricing with another, to wondering why on earth two dealers who are selling an identical product produced in the same factory would even have two different prices to begin with.