Price is not right

Herald Sun - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE CONFIDENTIAL - Twit­ter: @RTMBlack­burn

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.

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