Consumers' Association says Vauxhall site is a "rip-off"

Vauxhall says you're better off buying a car on its site. The Consumers' Association says don't be fooled...

Vauxhall's cut-price Internet car scheme met with a bitter onslaught from the Consumers' Association Friday, which slammed the car maker's plans as a "ripoff".

Vauxhall announced Friday its intention to offer special .com rates on its popular Corsa, Astra and Vectra cars, and is offering users upto £1000 discount if they order a car online. The move is widely reported as a response to recent criticism of UK car manufacturers for over-pricing.

The Consumers' Association says Vauxhall's Net discount is not enough. A spokesman for the Association explained: "Vauxhall is talking about cutting £1000 off the cost of a car which is nothing. They are trying to dress up a £1000 discount behind a huge marketing campaign which is not offering anything new. It is just another example of a UK car manufacturer ripping off UK consumers," he said.

A Vauxhall spokesman refused to discuss prices on its .com range -- due to be announced Tuesday at the London Motor Show -- but denied the new service fails to offer customers the discounts they want. "I don't necessarily agree that UK prices are higher," he said. "This Internet service is about more than price, it is expanding our range as we dip our toe in the Internet market." He refused to say whether Vauxhall would offer greater discounts or more ranges in the future.

The attack comes at a bad time for Vauxhall and indeed the car industry at large. It is widely accepted that other Europeans have access to cheaper cars. A recent investigation by the Competition Commission -- due December -- is expected to force car manufacturers to cut prices in the UK.

In related news, a dedicated Web site, launched Friday, promises up to 40 percent off new cars. Totalise Carsave says a new Ford Puma 1.7i would cost £15,900 from a UK Ford dealer. Totalise offers it for £12,717.

Happy with Vauxhall's plans? Tell the Mailroom