Mar­ket mas­sage

Herald Sun - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE CONFIDENTIAL - @JoshuaDowl­ing

JAN­UARY’S sales fig­ures for new cars showed we are on track for an­other record year — if the fig­ures are to be be­lieved.

Sales were up 2.7 per cent com­pared with the same month last year, which turned out to be a record.

But just how ac­cu­rate are the Fed­eral Cham­ber of Au­to­mo­tive In­dus­tries fig­ures?

Con­trary to wide­spread be­lief, new-car sales are not cal­cu­lated ac­cord­ing to ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tion data sup­plied by govern­ment au­thor­i­ties.

In­stead, the fig­ures are col­lated by the FCAI via the man­u­fac­tur­ers us­ing an “hon­esty sys­tem”.

How­ever, a spe­cial Carsguide in­ves­ti­ga­tion this week found wide­spread vari­a­tion in the way car com­pa­nies re­port their fig­ures.

In some cases it can leave buy­ers with less war­ranty on their new car than they were ex­pect­ing.

It works like this: deal­ers are of­fered in­cen­tives at the end of the month to hit sales tar­gets. They are told to de­clare a car as sold or risk miss­ing a bonus.

Some cars are sold straight away while oth­ers sit in stor­age un­reg­is­tered un­til the dealer can find a real buyer.

In most cases such cars come with a big dis­count. In other in­stances, how­ever, the war­ranty starts the mo­ment the car is de­clared as sold, not when the cus­tomer takes de­liv­ery. So be sure to check be­fore you sign on the dot­ted line.

NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury says: “Peo­ple buy­ing ve­hi­cles would rightly ex­pect the war­ranty starts the day they take their new car home . We would en­cour­age con­sumers to check with the dealer be­fore they sign a con­tract and be­fore they take de­liv­ery as to when the war­ranty will start.”

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