In my 2-year effort to secure a 2005 Ford GT, preferably at MSRP, I had called over 50 Ford dealerships across the U.S. When I started the process in mid-2002 the most common response to “Would you commit to selling me a GT at MSRP?” was “Sure, we got Mustangs on the lot. Come on down!” Telling the dealer rep I was calling about a future Ford exotic car, with a mid-engine V8, was usually met with an extended pause, followed by “Umm…I haven’t heard about that. Let me get back to you.” Despite these challenges I had five dealers express interest in selling me the car at MSRP “…if and when it shows up.” I was surprised by the skepticism many dealers expressed about the car ever actually being built, which was increasingly frustrating as I watched the Ford GT progress from concept car to production vehicle over the course of 2 years.
Then, the Super Bowl commercial hit on February 1, 2004, and suddenly every Ford dealer was very aware of the car…and the potential it held for dealer mark-up. I can only imagine how many phone calls flooded showroom switchboards on the Monday after Super Bowl XXXVIII. Not surprisingly, when I checked back with the dealers who had previously committed to selling the car at MSRP (including one I’d sent a $2,000 deposit to), they had a different attitude after the Super Bowl commercial. “Yeah, we’re going to use a bidding process for the car.”