Car dealers are already looked upon with suspicion by most Australians, with car salesmen consistently ranking as the country’s least-trusted profession year after year. The shenanigans that some dealers are pulling when it comes to extra fees in 2022 ain’t helping their image one bit, either…
It’s a pretty tough time to buy a new car right now. The ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – coupled with exceptionally high demand caused, in no small part, by COVID – means the country’s grappling with a chronic new car stock shortage. Waiting lists for some models, like the new Subaru BRZ or Suzuki Jimny, stretch into next year.
Now, to make matters worse, dealers are adding on above-average dealer delivery fees to further pad their bottom line – we’re talking four or five-figure fees.
For example, Drive reports that most Ford dealers in Australia are quoting between $1,200 and $1,900 for the nominal dealer delivery charge for the popular new Ranger ute, yet a number of customers are reporting fees ranging from $3,000 to as much as $6,000.
Exotic car dealers are even worse. They also report that some General Motors Specialty Vehicles (GMSV) dealers have been trying to charge up to $25,000 in dealer delivery fees on a new Corvette, where a normal fee would be $2,000 or less. That’s bloody cheeky.
It’s worth keeping in mind that, despite the name, dealer delivery fees don’t actually cover the cost of delivering a car to a dealership. They’re simply pure profit-making exercises. It’s an unfortunate part of buying a car… But it’s particularly unfortunate right now where demand far outstrips supply and dealers can get away with taking the piss like this.
Not all brands’ dealer networks are quite as evil. Volvo, for instance, has written into its dealer agreements a maximum dealer delivery fee of $2,995 on most models. And where some car brands play a bit fast and loose with their online price calculators, Toyota’s online configurator only displays the highest possible dealer delivery fee, which most customers don’t pay.
It’s making the trend towards ‘no-haggle’ or ‘agency model’ new car pricing, such as the schemes Honda and Mercedes-Benz have recently adopted in Australia, not look so bad.
DMARGE previously criticised these sorts of fixed-price sales models as anti-consumer, as buyers lose their potential negotiating power regardless of which dealer they visit. But in a market where there are no deals to be had anyway, having some consistency and transparency around new car pricing seems rather attractive.
Other brands like BMW are reportedly interested in also adopting an agency sales model in Australia, so watch this space.