Herald Sun - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE CONFIDENTIAL - Twit­ter @JoshuaDowl­ing

WHEN it comes to lux­ury cars, the head­line price is in­creas­ingly just a tease. At least that was the case when I vis­ited the deal­er­ships of the three pop­u­lar Ger­man brands this week.

I was help­ing a friend to buy a car. Her bud­get stretches to the start­ing price of their most pop­u­lar mod­els.

There was just one catch — at ev­ery dealer. There were none in stock. In fact, rep­re­sen­ta­tives for all three brands boasted they never stock the ba­sic mod­els.

Ev­ery car we wanted was bun­dled with “pop­u­lar op­tions”, which also hap­pened to in­flate the price by at least $6000 or roughly 10 per cent of the ad­ver­tised cost of the car.

You could in the­ory or­der a base car but that would re­quire a three-month wait while it is built and shipped.

Just as I was won­der­ing what the con­sumer watch­dog would make of this prac­tice, we got to the price of metal­lic paint and dealer de­liv­ery. Add $1100-$1500 for sparkles in the paint — the same sparkly paint that costs $550 ex­tra on a Holden or Toy­ota, or is free on most Maz­das.

Dealer de­liv­ery — con­trary to per­cep­tion, it does not cover the cost of get­ting the car to the deal­er­ship; that’s cov­ered in the dealer’s in­voice from the man­u­fac­turer — was $4000.

To put num­ber­plates on the car and re­move the pro­tec­tive tape, that seems a bit rich. Es­pe­cially when you’d be lucky if the car came with a full tank of fuel.

So, as ever, it pays to do your home­work on­line be­fore walk­ing into a show­room.

And if you want to pay close to the at­trac­tive RRP of the most af­ford­able model, then be pre­pared to be pa­tient while they build you one, then ship it.

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