Mike Stevens | Jun 12, 2009

Barely days after the ACCC’s new pricing manual for the motor vehicle industry came into effect, it has performed a partial back-flip in now amending its directive on the supply of prices by car companies to third parties.

Under changes to the Trade Practices Act, the ACCC had ruled that any compulsory surcharges and fees attached to a product must be included in the advertised price.

This came into effect May 25th, legally requiring car dealers to now display the full drive-away price of a new or used vehicle offered for sale.

But it created a problem for vehicle manufacturers and distributors who regularly run national advertising campaigns (and who provide vehicle pricing information on their websites) in a country where on-road costs can vary from State to State.

Now, the ACCC has amended its ruling to allow the publication of national prices by vehicle manufacturers and importers, exclusive of State-imposed stamp duties, CTP and delivery charges.

On top of those necessary changes, the ACCC has also removed the threat of prosecution to third parties who supply comparative automotive pricing data.

This will no doubt come as welcome news to companies like JATO and POLK who supply recommended retail price schedules across makes and models in the Australian market.

The ACCC said however that it should be made clear whether a published price is a drive away price or not, and that the term “recommended retail price” should be abandoned and replaced with “recommended price before statutory and delivery charges”.

While the advertising and marketing departments at automotive manufacturers and distributors will be relieved, FCAI Chief Executive (Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries), Andrew McKellar, has asked for further clarification of the ACCC rulings on third parties.

Expect more news to come on this one.

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