Everything You Need to Know about the MSRP: Our Guide

car sales dealership

Before getting too excited about buying your new car, it is essential to know all the information about your potential purchase, especially about the things that you are not familiar with. For example, the Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is also known as the car’s sticker price, list price, and asking price. If you are in the market and you come across this term, you’ll need to understand the importance of knowing such information before purchasing a car.

In this article, we will guide you about everything you need to know about MSRP and why it is so important in the context of car sales. 

What is the MSRP? 

The Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price pertains to the suggested vehicle price, and it usually appears at the side window of the vehicle you are considering for purchase or lease or frequently posted on an information sheet. In essence, it is the price of the car that the manufacturer suggests to the car dealer. If the MSRP is not present in either of the two, you must ask the dealership sales professional for this information. 

How is the MSRP determined?

Often, dealers tend to confuse innocent buyers since they add an addendum sticker that looks very close to the manufacturer’s sticker on the vehicle. As a car buyer, you should take note that there is a federal law that mandates dealerships to show the MSRP of every car for sale on the lot. Although, in turn, dealers are not obligated to sell a vehicle at this price, and depending on demand and availability of the car in question, they can adjust their selling price.

Every new car is available in multiple trim levels. This trim each adds equipment to the vehicle, ranging from interior features to larger engines, and they usually add costs to a car’s MSRP. Yet, you can always negotiate the vehicle’s sale price down toward the posted MSRP or even lower if possible. 

What is not included in the MSRP? 

Typically, MSRP’s do not include costs that the buyer is required to pay to purchase the vehicle. Car purchasers cannot negotiate the fees that are not included in MSRP since a manufacturer, not the dealer, sets MSRP. All costs included are incurred over the manufacturing process and sales process, and it does account for the dealership fees. 

Examples of dealership fees that are not included in the MSRP are:

  • Destination charge
  • Dealer preparation fees
  • Sales document fees
  • Manufacturer rebates
  • Residual value
  • Dealers acquisition fee
  • Registration fees and tax
  • Add-ons (paint protection, VIN etching, and pinstriping)


Now that you have an idea about the MSRP, you need to ensure that you have researched the market value of the make and model you are interested in. This is because knowing the demand, supply, options, and incentives can help you in the negotiation process to get a fair price. Purchasing a car can be tricky and a hassle, especially if you do not know much. As such, we highly suggest looking for a car dealer that will give the best rate and reflect prices based on the actual market value.

Lewis Motor Sales has a wide range of pre-owned cars for sale, from auto to pickup trucks. We spend a significant amount of time researching every vehicle we sell to ensure that our prices reflect the true market value. Our financial staff will work with you hand-in-hand so that you can get the best deal possible, every time. Contact us today and get a great deal!