FRANKFURT — Electric carmaker Tesla has committed to stop using fuel savings estimates to advertise its Model 3 online, a German industry association set up to prevent unfair competition practices said on Wednesday.
The Wettbewerbszentrale independent body, formed by German industry to ensure companies compete fairly, said the U.S. carmaker had been using random and non-transparent fuel savings estimates and that it must drop the practice by March 20.
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.
This is consistent with what Tesla does in the United States. On the opening page of its Model 3 configurator, for example, it claims a price of $26,950 for its newly announced Standard Range, Standard Interior trim level, but that price is asterisked. Follow the asterisk and you learn Tesla has arrived at that "price" by building in $3,750 in federal tax incentives and subtracting $4,300 in projected savings from not burning gas. The actual price of the car is $35,000.
"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.
The company has guaranteed that it would not repeat such advertising, Wettbewerbszentrale said.
A Tesla spokesman was not immediately available for comment.