Price is not right
THE consumer watchdog needs to take another look at the way car companies advertise their prices online. Despite the best efforts of the ACCC, car companies are still playing games with consumers, as we found while researching this week’s cover story on the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and Peugeot 308.
The commission requires brands to publish drive-away pricing on their sites. It has worked to an extent, despite claims by the industry it would be impossible to implement.
But there are still plenty of pitfalls. Take the Ford Focus Trend we shopped online this week. The recommended retail price is $23,390 and, if you go into the “build and price” section on the website, it will tell you a Trend manual is $27,176 drive-away. The auto is listed at $28,206 drive away, a $1030 premium.
But if you click on the “latest offers” tab, it says you can get a manual Focus Trend for $24,990 drive-away, thousands less than you are told elsewhere on the site.
And there’s another catch — the deal is available only on the manual, so for now an auto transmission on a Focus Trend will effectively cost you $3216, not the $1030 you were first told.
To its credit Peugeot has bitten the bullet and now publishes only drive-away pricing for the 308. VW’s Golf drive-away deals apply the discounts to auto and manual models. Ford is by no means the only group to offer deals solely on the manual — but when manual sales make up such a small percentage of stock available, it seems a bit odd. It also means Ford looks much cheaper at first glance.
It’s time to cut the confusion for good and mandate driveaway pricing.