Car dealers will tell you that all car prices are up, thanks to inflation. Car dealers used to have a reputation (well deserved) for being absolute sharks, you wouldn't believe a word they said about a car's value. If you didn't do your homework buying a car, you would pay through the nose. That has never been more true than now. Unfortunately, many consumers will take their word with no question and gladly overpay.
The sales people working the floor will tell you that inflation has driven up prices on all cars, new and used. While it is true that used car prices, which are up about 45% from a year ago, that isn't the case for new cars. In fact for one example, the 2022 VW Tiguan SEL-R is the top trim level for VW's most popular SUV. In 2021 the top trim level on the Tiguan was called the "SEL Premium R-Line" level, which had an MSRP around $3,000 more than the 2022 SEL-R, which actually has more features. The decrease in the sales price likely reflects the savings to the manufacture from consolidating. Simplifying and actually making fewer trim lines saves the company money and makes them more competitive.
Despite this knowledge, it won't stop many sales people from trying to gouge you, with padding the MSRP. The typical line is that "market place conditions" require them to add $2000 or $3000 to the MSRP. This simply is not true.
In my recent research and purchase I've confirmed that while many dealers will try to charge you over MSRP, there are still plenty that do not. In fact, many car manufacturers are punishing their dealers that do this. Getting a fair deal could require a purchase across state lines, from Oregon to Washington for example, with the case of the Volkswagen, but I've found dealers that will drive the car half way (3 hours) or even further, for no additional money. This is a similar situation I've seen before when buying my past new VW TDi vehicles or when I bought my Sprinter van, in fact easier.
I should also mention, that all the California new car dealers I've spoken with will offer to deliver your car across the California boarder so they won't be required to collect the steep California sales tax. Something to consider if you border California.
From my residence on the Oregon coast I could drive to the largest dealership in the area, located in the big city, inland and pay thousands over MSRP for a new Mazda, for a car they didn't have. I could also drive to a small town to the south of me and pay MSRP. MSRP isn't leaving the dealer poor, they are still making bank.
When the chip market catches up with new car demand we will see the gullible consumers that overpaid, will again get fleeced when it comes to selling their car. So, the lesson is don't pay too much in the beginning and sell your car years later without the extra loss in value or time on the market.