Manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) – nicknamed “sticker price” – is the recommended selling price car companies assign new vehicles.
This price is not firm. It’s a suggestion for dealerships, and depending how the vehicle type is selling, dealerships may adjust the actual selling price either lower (for slow selling cars) or higher (for vehicles selling fast) than the MSRP.
MSRP only applies to new vehicles. It does not apply to used cars because the value of a vehicle drops the second it is sold and driven out of a car lot.
However, when shopping for a used car, it’s good to know the MSRP of the vehicle you’re eying. The advantages of knowing it include:
- It gives you an idea on how well the vehicle you’re considering held its value.
- It allows you to gauge if the car’s asking price is fair.
- You can use it for estimating vehicle registration costs, as well as the vehicle tax, using an online tax calculator.
Find MSRP for Used Vehicles to Gauge Car Registration Cost
The process for finding an MSRP is relatively easy. You can locate it from any of the following sources:
- Call the service department for a franchise dealer for the make of the car in question. Based on the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN), ask if they can print out a copy of the original invoice.
- Visit the website for New Car Test Drive. Search under the Car Reviews tab for the make, model and year of the vehicle you’re searching – it lists information on used vehicles dating back many years. After entering the information, you’ll receive a page with prices, including the MSRP.
For more on purchasing a vehicle and the costs that come with it, check out our Buying and Selling section.