So your opinion on buying direct from Tesla, or Rivian, or Lordstown, or Canoo, who for the most part circumvent the dealer experience?
I think the answer is complicated - depends on market conditions; the type of buyer you are; and what you're buying.
If you want the simple answer then ... yes the best customer experience comes from the direct to consumer (DTC such as Tesla, Rivian, Lucid). It's too bad ICE vehicles cannot be sold DTC.
Drilling down a bit... regardless of which brand you choose... if you are buying a super hot car (or there's a supply chain shortage) then paying MSRP is ideal where possible. Obviously YMMV with dealerships and markups, but that's up to the buyer to decide how to handle their money.
But if a recession hits and you want a sweet deal, go into a traditional dealership. The thing about first degree price discrimination at normal dealerships is that the possible benefit goes both ways. Sometimes the dealer makes more (like earlier this year with every dealer just jacking up prices). But other times first degree price discrimination allows the buyer to give up less through haggling than what flat pricing would have cost.
For the vast majority of transactions, the dealership is maximizing their margins above where they would be with flat pricing. Since the clever folks at the dealership settle on a price exactly with the mindset of determining what the buyer can/will pay. Hence why @EVTrucking
hates the concept of additional dealer markup (ADM) since sometimes the price a dealer tries to charge is actually greater than MSRP. You know, since it's a free market and they want as much money as possible... some dealers will do what they think is right.
But on the flip side, for the more aggressive/haggling customer, they will get cars cheaper through a dealer network. Especially if it's a car that people aren't clamoring to buy or it's a recession.
Personally, I've worked too many years in auto... so I'm jaded because I know their stupid games inside and out. I hate
how the old-school auto industry typically does their net pricing game at the showrooms. Or worse, they find what a buyer "can afford" and try to fit the most expensive ride into that budget. It's often a terri-bad experience or terri-bad outcome for many buyers. The reason is that every single little interaction with the typical car showroom is part of their script to maximize their margin. There is nothing done randomly or in the customer's better interest. It is a carefully curated experience to get someone excited enough to want to purchase; then the script goes to the next act whereby the dealers apply pain/stress to the customer to extract maximum dollars.
The monetization of their stress tolerance is a game few buyers want to partake in. But if you're willing to play the game, then it is the best game to play to save a bunch of cash when times get tough.
As a buyer who knows their stupid antics, I can absolutely piss the hell out of the dealer selling me a car by using their own tricks against them. Which is funny, because they absolutely hate it when you try to reverse tactics on them. They like to squeeze max money out of buyers, but I like to squeeze max car out of the seller. Like I said, I'm jaded so I sort of view car buying as a dumb-azz challenge to see how much I can piss them off to get the price as low as possible. And for the right price during an economic downturn, they'll still work with you to close a sale. You will not get this flexibility to maximize your own "margins" by going DTC.