Budget Chinese brand MG has been warned by Australia’s top consumer watchdog for breaching advertising guidelines after it removed drive-away pricing from two popular cars.
Chinese car giant MG has been warned by Australia’s top consumer watchdog after publishing basic RRPs rather than full drive-away pricing on two popular models.
It has been illegal to advertise anything other than a final drive-away price for new cars in Australia for more than a decade – since 2009 – when “clarity in pricing” amendments were mandated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Before the new automotive advertising regulations were introduced, car companies published attractive prices before compulsory add-ons such as stamp duty, registration and dealer delivery fees were included.
The exclusion of these prices in automotive advertising under-called the true final price of cars by about 10 per cent, or $3000 on a $33,000 vehicle.
The rollout of national drive-away pricing prompted car companies to overhaul their websites to calculate the various stamp duties in each state and territory – which they have done for more than a decade – or offer one national drive-away price and absorb the cost of different registration and stamp duty fees.
Until MG made its embarrassing gaffe this week (pictured below), all car brands in Australia have abided by the new regulations since they were introduced in May 2009.
Emerging brand MG this week fell foul of the advertising guidelines by publishing RRPs before on-road costs were added.
It means the cars appear to be more attractively priced than they really are.
When asked for a comment about MG’s pricing breach this week, a statement from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to Drive said: “Businesses must display clear and accurate prices and cannot mislead or deceive consumers about the prices of their goods.
“Under the Australian Consumer Law, businesses are also required to display a total price that includes taxes, duties and all unavoidable or pre-selected extras.
“If a car dealer is selling a vehicle, they must prominently display the total ‘drive-away’ price for that vehicle inclusive of the car purchase price, government charges and individual dealer delivery fees.”
MG Australia blamed the error on the rollout of a new price calculator on its website.
A statement from MG Australia said the company was in the process of overhauling its website to offer state-based drive-away prices rather than one common national drive-away price.
“As the on-road costs and policies for (electric vehicles) varies significantly across Australian states and territories, MG is no longer able to advertise a standard national drive-away or all-inclusive price for our (electric vehicles).”
MG said its electric cars will soon offer drive-away prices that are aligned to regulatory charges in each state and territory – and it hopes to have a new state-based drive-away price calculator live on its website in the coming days.
The two affected vehicles, the MG ZS EV Excite and MG ZS EV Essence electric cars, were listed at $44,990 drive-away and $48,990 drive-away respectively, before the drive-away prices were pulled, and RRPs of $43,990 and $47,990 before on-road costs were added instead.