2018-12-04 11:30:02 UTC
Why car dealers are fudging the numbers of cars they actually 'sold'
Andrew Robertson, business reporter
04 Dec 2018 02:50Z
[image] Cars parked at a dealership.
Excess cars are often sold to customers months later at huge
discounts, wiping out dealer profits. (Gary Rivett, file photo: ABC News)
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It should be simple really. Add up all the vehicles that have been
sold to customers, and the total should be the number of new vehicles
on Australia's roads.
* Thousands of cars are sitting in dealerships all over Australia,
misleadingly counted as "sold"
* Dealers claim they are bullied by manufacturers to buy excess cars
* It is estimated the number of cars "sold" is over-reported by 340,000 per
year to meet inflated sales targets
It's anything but.
According to the official figures, the industry is heading for its
sixth consecutive year of sales of more than a mn.
Or is it?
Not according to the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce.
"We think that there's an over-reporting of vehicles sold to consumers
by about 340,000 vehicles a year," the chamber's chief executive,
Geoff Gwilym, told ABC News.
An over-reporting dealers claim is forced on them by foreign
manufacturers dumping cars into the Australian market to reach
inflated sales targets.
They're known in the industry as "cyber cars".
"Many dealers are afraid not to take these cars," he said.
"And these are cars that the dealer has to buy and register so they
look as though they are sold, when in actual fact, they're not sold to
They do eventually get sold to a customer, often months later, at huge
discounts, which wipes out dealer profits.
And for good measure there is a reduced warranty, because the warranty
period starts when the car is registered.
Deceptive car sale figures distort the economy
The ABC spoke to a number of car dealers in preparing this report.
We heard chapter and verse of the bullying of dealers into buying cars
for which there was no genuine customer demand.
However, no dealer was prepared to speak publicly, out of fear of
reprisals from the car manufacturers.
And the over-reporting of sales has implications outside the car industry.
Economists see new vehicle purchases as an early warning sign of the
state of the housing market, which is an indicator of the state of the economy.
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