Did you know that window stickers are legally required on every new vehicle sold in America? Automobile sales slumped in the 1950s. Dealership pricing irregularities were widely blamed for consumers’ lack of confidence. Existing price tags were often vague and allowed unscrupulous dealers to inflate selling prices by adding hidden charges, such as preparation and freight, as well as federal, state, and local taxes and installed optional equipment.
In March of 1958, Senator Michael Monroney, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Automobile Marketing Practices, proposed a bill that would take the mystery out of new car pricing. The bill required automobile manufacturers to attach a certificate to the window of every new vehicle, showing the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, transportation methods, freight charges, and accessory prices. This enabled consumers to walk into an automobile dealership and find an itemized, accurate price tag on all new vehicles.
Senator Monroney’s bill was designed to prevent abuse of list prices, but would not, however, prevent dealers and buyers from bargaining over final selling prices. Monroney received widespread support for the bill from both consumers and dealers alike. Dealers viewed the Monroney Label as an opportunity to restore the confidence of new-vehicle buyers, which they hoped would result in increased sales—it did.
Get a copy of your new car’s Window Sticker. It should be kept with your purchase contract and comes in handy when selling or trading in your vehicle years later.