OMVIC has recently received a number of enquiries regarding advertising a new vehicle’s MSRP and a price that is less.

The guidance provided in the Standards of Business Practice stipulates that “savings amounts” shown in new vehicle advertisements are to be based on a vehicle’s average selling price, not the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (M.S.R.P.). But what if no savings amount is referenced? For example:

Car Ad

As there is no savings amount stated or claimed in the example beside, there is no breach of the Standards or Code of Ethics. In other words, the example is acceptable as the advertisement did not claim a savings amount: i.e. the ad did not state “save $4,925”, or similar language.

Given today’s DMS systems that generate individual MSRP’s for each vehicle based on its specific options, OMVIC believes this interpretation makes advertising simpler for new vehicle dealers and helps create a level playing field, without affecting consumer protection.


Advertising MSRP and Manufacturer Credits/Discounts

Consumers are bombarded by manufacturer advertising that often promotes credits or discounts. Dealers are prohibited from implying that a manufacturer credit/discount is their own.

For example, if RAM is offering a $12,000 discount on all pickup trucks and a dealer wants to advertise a 2018 Ram Sport with an MSRP of $49,453 (inclusive of all charges), in order to comply, the dealer should advertise:

Car Ad - Compliant


If the dealer wants to include an additional discount, it can be itemized separately. For example: .

Car Ad - Compliant


It is important that a dealer’s advertised price that includes a manufacturer’s credit or discount make it clear the credit/discount has been applied to the advertised price. If a dealer fails to do this, consumers could be misled and anticipate the manufacturer’s discount will be applied to the dealer’s advertised price. These are three examples of non-compliant ads:

Car Ad - Non Compliant


Note: these examples do not constitute an exhaustive list of non-compliant advertising representations.


Used Vehicles and MSRPs

Comparisons to MSRP are prohibited when advertising a used vehicle.


Conclusion

Dealers may advertise a vehicle’s MSRP and their all-in selling price. If the ad also references a savings amount, then the average selling price must also be included. Dealers can include manufacturer discounts/credits in advertised prices IF the ad clearly and prominently indicates the credits/discounts have been applied. Additional dealer discounts can be itemized separately.

Dealer advertised prices must include all fees and charges the dealer intends to collect. Note: HST and licensing can be excluded if the advertisement clearly indicates they are excluded. For example: $33,453 + HST and licensing.


For More Information dealers should contact their local inspector or OMVIC’s Business Standards Team at marketing_standards@omvic.on.ca