Sharp ques­tions

Herald Sun - Motoring - - THE TICK - Twit­ter: @JoshuaDowl­ing

DRIVE-AWAY deals are not cre­ated equally. That’s what we learned when search­ing for bar­gains this week.

Some drive-away deals are su­per sharp but oth­ers sim­ply save you the ef­fort of cal­cu­lat­ing on-road costs.

For ex­am­ple, Ford (to its credit) has a long list of drive­away deals in the “of­fers” sec­tion of its web­site — none, un­for­tu­nately, sharp enough to in­clude in our cover story on this month’s best bar­gains. We also no­ticed some old habits creep­ing in among other brands.

This month Hyundai, Honda, Mazda and Subaru prom­ise “free on-road costs” or “$1000 off” or sim­i­lar — but don’t men­tion the ac­tual drive­away price of cer­tain mod­els.

So de­spite the ap­pear­ance of a great deal, the price is open to ne­go­ti­a­tion just like any other month. Some cus­tomers will pay more than oth­ers.

It’s a mys­tery why more brands don’t con­sis­tently ad­ver­tise one sharp price for ev­ery­one. They would sell more cars. I won­der how many cus­tomers didn’t even walk into one of th­ese brands’ show­rooms be­cause there were no drive­away prices on­line for their most pop­u­lar mod­els?

Hyundai can do some of the sharpest deals in the busi­ness (the re­cent $19,990 drive-away for the i30 was hard to beat) but this month it’s back to try­ing to arm-wres­tle with the cus­tomer. Buy­ers are wak­ing up to the prac­tice of turn­ing dis­counts on and off from month to month and will sim­ply hold off un­til the next time the deal rolls around.

Our ad­vice to buy­ers look­ing for a bar­gain: if you can’t see a drive-away price on­line, look some­where else. Or brush up on your ne­go­ti­a­tion skills.

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