German Regulators Tell Tesla to Stop Advertising Prices With Fuel Savings Estimate

Christoph Steitz, Reuters:

Tesla had displayed the 56,380 euro ($63,811) original price for the Model 3 online as well as a price of 51,380 euros when taking account of estimated fuel savings of 5,000 euros over five years, Wettbewerbszentrale said.

“Even if ‘savings’ could be realized, such an amount cannot be deducted from the purchase price or the monthly rate … because customers must pay the full price at the time of purchase or financing,” the association said.

I asked Canada’s Competition Bureau about Tesla’s pricing over the weekend and received a response this morning. While their spokesperson could not comment on the specifics of this incident and couldn’t even tell me whether they had received any complaints about Tesla at all, they did give me a statement about estimated cost savings more generally. In part:

Fine print that expands on, or clarifies possible ambiguities in the main body of an advertisement, is unlikely to mislead consumers, assuming that the general impression of the advertisement is not otherwise misleading. The potential to mislead consumers increases significantly when a disclaimer is used to restrict, contradict or somehow negate the message to which it relates. If the main body of the advertisement creates a materially false or misleading general impression in itself, before any reference is made to a disclaimer, then fine print may not do much to alter the general impression in a way that ensures that consumers will not be misled.

I don’t know whether Tesla factoring estimated gas savings into the total cost of the car is misleading from a legal standpoint, but it feels dishonest. It also lacks confidence. Does Tesla not think that the Model 3 can effectively compete at $47,600 in Canada?