Auto Makers See Red Over The Gray Market

When Maria Kinshofer decided to buy a new Jeep Wrangler, the 32-year-old Bavarian housewife didn't head off for the nearest franchised Jeep dealer. Instead, she went shopping at Auto Binder, a suburban Munich gray-market importer offering discount prices. Owner Jurgen Binder didn't have the green, air-conditioned model she wanted in his lot, so he called Jeep dealers in Italy until he located one for shipment to Germany. Three weeks later, Kinshofer plunked down $28,400--$5,700 less than the conventional dealer's price in Munich--and drove off in her new car, stereo blasting. "When you can save money today, why shouldn't you?" she asks. "I recommend that everyone do it."

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