Complaints of last-minute price hikes on final Commodore heroes
Holden dealers have been caught asking up to $95,000 (plus on-road costs) for the car maker's final run of limited-edition models.
With over 2000 registrations of interest made prior to the official reveal of information on January 19th, Holden's three special-edition models have garnered their fair share of interest.
But, with only a handful of vehicles left, are Holden dealers trying to gouge customers with exorbitant asking prices and inflated dealer delivery fees?
Since that announcement of special edition models , CarAdvice has received a number of emails through our website, and as many calls to our national radio programme.
Some callers have complained of dealers squeezing them on prices well above the recommended retail figure, while others are being gouged on dealer delivery charges, with some dealers justifying price increases by asking $10,000 for dealer delivery.
A pair of dealers are also understood to have asked more for vehicles already subject to a signed contract. In one case, CarAdvice has seen a physical copy of one contract that shows an agreed price of $65,000, with a $5000 deposit paid last year.
The dealer is now asking $15,000 more from the customer.
The company is aware of the practice and is reminding dealers of their obligations to the customer, Holden's director of corporate communications, Sean Poppitt, has said.
Speaking with CarAdvice earlier this week, Poppitt said, "Holden has been blown away by the demand and passion for the Commodore Limited Edition models. Within just two weeks of official details being released, only a small handful remain unsold. Clearly, demand is outstripping supply with both customers and dealers grappling with how best to manage that demand, given each dealership was allocated only a small number of cars."
"In a supply and demand market, vehicles are only ever worth what customers are prepared to pay and we are aware of many instances of customers enthusiastically offering well above RRP to secure a car."
"These are very special Limited Edition vehicles. In our industry, the release of vehicles like these often create situations where passionate customers are prepared to pay well above the odds to secure a piece of history," he said.
"Holden has reminded all dealers of their obligations to ensure customers are treated in a way to maximise customer satisfaction during this unprecedented period of demand, and of course that any contracts previously signed are honoured. We know our dealers are as committed to their customers as we are."
A source close to the matter has told CarAdvice that senior members of Holden management team have been in touch with at least one dealer, following a direct customer complaint that pricing had been changed after a contract was signed.
Earlier this week, we followed up with over 20 dealers around Australia and had one dealer ask $95,000 for a Director and $85,000 for a Magnum, while the rest of the dealers were asking around $75,000 for the Magnum. (All prices here exclude on-road costs.)
When challenged on pricing, one salesperson deflected blame to the Federal Government's luxury car tax (despite the fact none of these cars attract luxury car tax at their recommended retail prices), while another suggested dealer delivery was more expensive for special editions.
Of the dealers that had vehicles unsold, most were quoting dealer delivery prices of between $5000-10,000 — one salesperson said "this is how we make our money, because there is such a slim margin normally."
As a comparison, a Mercedes-Benz C-Class shipped from South Africa, only attracts an average $2500 dealer delivery.
While it's not the first time we've seen this — the same thing happened with Ford Falcon Sprint models after they were announced — have you come across anything similar in your hunt for a limited edition Commodore? Should Holden dealers be charging this far above recommended retail prices?