22/01/14 - Update: Google Australia has removed the pricing and fuel economy figures
Google Australia has initiated its in-built car search system, but using US pricing and specifications.
A quick Google search of terms like 'Ford Focus Price' will inform readers that a Focus is priced at 16,810 in USD.
The keyword type searches for 'make model price' are one of the most popular on Google according to the search engine’s Adwords tool - with tens of thousands of searches a month - and are very likely to begin causing confusion for local buyers.
Interestingly, this is likely to cause the most issues for premium manufacturers that have large discrepancies between their US and Australian pricing.
For example, googling 'Audi A8 Price' will show the user that pricing for the luxury Audi should start at just US$75,100. Meanwhile in Australia the A8's starting price is $188,000.
Daydreamers would be delighted to know the Porsche 911 starts at just US$84,300, rather than $206,500 in Australia.
This now provides a quick way for Australian buyers to find out just how much more they are paying than their American counterparts. Although as we explained in our “Are Australian car buyers getting ripped off?” article, there is more to the higher pricing than one might think.
Google has also started showing the fuel economy figures of cars based on their US miles per gallon rating if the search term “make model fuel economy” is googled. As with the pricing, the data displayed is actually incorrect, as local fuel economy figures are gathered using an entirely different type of testing.
Google has rolled its car pricing and fuel economy system out in North America but there has been no confirmation that is has yet launched in Australia.
CarAdvice has contacted Google Australia to find out if this is a bug (which would be highly unlikely) or whether the tech giant intends for Australian car buyers to learn miles per gallon and be depressed about the higher local prices permanently. Check back soon as we update with an official comment.