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APA’s Report: Survey of New Car Dealers in Calgary
March, 18 2017

Secret shoppers recently completed the Automobile Protection Association’s (APA) annual survey of new car dealers. This year, the APA visited car dealerships in the Calgary market, and all visits were recorded on W5’s hidden cameras. The results were disappointing – just three out of 20 dealerships earned a PASS rating. Some of the dealer ads shopped by the APA even misled their own salespeople! W5’s report on the investigation aired on the CTV network Saturday March 18. The W5 article can be read on the W5 website. The APA’s report with the results for every dealer visit follows below.

This year’s findings are consistent with previous APA surveys of the Calgary market. In a 2015 investigation, only three of 22 Calgary area dealers surveyed had their advertised vehicle available at the advertised price or payment. The three dealers who passed this year amount to three small lights in a dark house. The Alberta marketplace puts a lot of pressure on the few new car dealers who are compliant when so many are not. Lax enforcement means the honest dealers are losing business to the dishonest competition.

 

Watch the W5 Report

 

Leadership Must Come from the Alberta Government

Ten of eleven dealers that failed the visit this year also failed a previous APA survey of the Calgary market, many of them for the same deceptive practices the APA identified in 2015. The results point to the need for more robust regulatory oversight and new tools to correct marketplace abuses in Alberta.

In its annual report, AMVIC, the Alberta auto dealer regulator says that it inspected over 400 dealers to check for compliance in 2016. An earlier AMVIC report identified compliance issues at two thirds of the new car dealers surveyed. That’s a very significant number of visits and findings of non-compliance, and the APA should have seen improvements in the Calgary survey this year. The APA believes the Alberta government needs to introduce reforms to the rules that govern automaker and dealer selling practices so AMVIC can do a better job. Does AMVIC think so? Maybe not, because AMVIC is governed by an industry board and is unclear about what priority to place on consumer protection when it inconveniences an auto dealer – in most cases, AMVIC settles for a warning letter and closes the file. Here are some recommended changes:

• Close the loophole that allows misleading auto manufacturer advertising to evade AMVIC’s oversight.
• Separate the roles of Registrar and Executive Director at AMVIC. Under the current setup, one person has both functions and is liable to pressure from the dealers, who appear to believe the CEO works for them. The Registrar, who is the head of enforcement, should be an independent person whose authority derives from the government.
• Introduce stricter rules to prohibit more clearly the passing off of demonstrator and used vehicles for new ones in dealer advertising. The mileage and date in service should appear for any demo or used vehicle from the current and most recent model years.
• Create a standard new vehicle sales agreement. Some Alberta dealer contracts are lopsided; several make high dealer charges look like they are standard fees.
• Give AMVIC the power to appoint a monitor who would have to approve advertising placed by repeat offenders. The monitor would report to AMVIC on the dealer’s advertising compliance, or other business practices, for a period from six months to two years. Ideally the monitor would have a professional duty comparable to a lawyer or auditor, and would have to sign off as to the dealership’s performance.
• Amend the current Bylaws relating to the dealer compensation fund to permit AMVIC to settle claims quickly when consumers have been defrauded by a dealer or otherwise suffer a loss from dealerships that closed their doors. The present Bylaws require AMVIC to wait up to three years before compensating a consumer. That is far too long.

 

Extra charges

Alberta is one of five Canadian provinces requiring all-in pricing in auto dealer advertising. An advertised price for a new vehicle must include all charges except for the GST. A sixth province, British Columbia, requires that all the information to arrive at the final price be in the ad, but not require a single total price. Extra charges were rampant in Calgary, and are among the highest in Canada. Many dealers added more than one additional charge. Here is a rundown of what the APA shoppers uncovered:

Documentation or DOC Fees, Administration Fees $450-$700
This charge for operating the business must be included in the advertised price. The APA’s secret shoppers were often misled by being told the charges are mandatory for filling out paperwork. DOC is an acronym for Dealer Overhead Charge.

Nitro, Tire and Rim Protection, Winter Security, Green Tire Levy $495-$899
Nitrogen is worth about $8 a tire. Depending on the coverage, a tire and rim package costs the dealer between $40 and $100. The charge was presented as mandatory at most dealers promoting the coverage, sometimes by bundling it with the mandatory $20 charge for tire recycling.

Glass or Security Etching
Cost to the dealer is about $60. The insurance contribution usually requires the consumer to return to the selling dealer for their next vehicle in the event they want to benefit from the coverage. Some dealers pre-apply the etching prior to making a deal, to eliminate a purchase objection. Just because the vehicle has the etching on the glass does not mean you have to buy the insurance that’s bundled with it. You can decline it.

Price available only to Costco members
Advertised prices at both Ford dealerships visited were available only to Costco members, but their ads didn’t always disclose that. Everyone else pays $1,000 more. If you think you can just go over and sign up at a Costco store, you’re mistaken. The membership has to predate the dealer’s promotion. The APA has encountered this misleading practice at Ford dealerships more frequently in Calgary than any other city.


Risky Vehicle Financing Practices

Three dealerships advertised a "Cash Back" promotion, up to $10,000 with a new vehicle purchase. The cash “back” is in fact a disguised loan to oneself. No actual discount on the vehicle is given. Some dealers promoted these inflated car loans as a way to get your finances in order and reduce credit card debt; that’s a bad idea. You’ll end up paying sales tax on the cash back, as well as adding considerable debt to your vehicle loan.

Long repayment terms on loans of 84 and 96 months were common. Some dealerships suggested you could "pull forward" the vehicle replacement by coming back as early as three years into an eight year auto loan, and rolling the negative equity into your next vehicle. The APA believes refinancing unpaid car debt on a new vehicle is a risky strategy.

Chrysler and Hyundai Private or Registered Sales Events
The APA found three dealers hosting this type of event, which we had not encountered so frequently before. The on-site representatives at these high pressure sales “happenings” claim they are working for the vehicle manufacturers. Part of their pitch is based on convincing consumers to break their current lease or financing agreements early and sign a new deal with many more years of car payments.

In 2016, Fiat Chrysler ran into trouble with the US securities regulator for misrepresenting its monthly sales results. Fiat Chrysler promised to fix that, and actually had to restate its monthly sales figures going back a few years in the US and Canada (some monthly totals were reduced). The large number of Fiat Chrysler dealers with unsold 2016 inventory of service loaner and demonstrator vehicles encountered by the APA in 2017 suggests that Fiat Chrysler is pushing product on its dealer network, perhaps to continue reporting high sales.

Misleading Advertising

Advertised vehicles not available
At several dealerships, one or more of the advertised vehicles were not available, even though the APA shoppers took care to shop on the same day an ad was running. In several cases, ads continued to run online and in the Calgary Sun or Metro News for several days after the APA visits.

One Honda dealer reported that they did not have a 2017 Fit DX at the advertised lease and finance interest rate on the Honda Canada website. The seller said they could order one, but it would take three months to receive it. Another Honda dealer did not have the 2017 Honda DX model advertised on the their website for $16,511, but could offer the shoppers a more expensive Fit LX for $20,900.

At Woodbridge Ford, the advertised Escape SE 4WD was sold. The dealership could order the advertised vehicle but it would take weeks to arrive. The seller presented several more expensive models.

At Courtesy Chrysler, an advertised Grand Caravan “demo” was no longer available, so the seller offered a new Grand Caravan instead for the same price. But then the sales manager boosted the price by adding over $1,500 in extra charges for paperwork and tire and wheel rim protection.

Mistakes
Two dealers had advertising mistakes that made their in-store offers much worse. Eastside Kia advertised a new Forte5 for $15,005, and then claimed the car had been sold when the APA shoppers showed up on the same day the ad was running. The Forte was back on the market a few days later at a higher price of $18,875.

CMP Chevrolet advertised a 2016 Cruze with tinted windows, a backup camera, cruise control and Bluetooth. The car was indeed in the dealership’s showroom, but it didn’t have any of those features on it. The dealership offered to have some of them installed and corrected its advertising.

Confusing advertising related to used current model year vehicles
Four dealerships advertised 2016 model year vehicles without mentioning that they were used service loaners or demonstrators. In all cases, the dealers employed tricks in their ad copy and layouts to pass these vehicles off as new ones.

Sunridge Nissan had the word “demo” next to three of six 2016 Nissan models in its ad. A reader would reasonably believe that the three other vehicles were new, but that was not the case – all six vehicles were demonstrators. At Shaganappi GM, the advertised Chevrolet Cruze turned out to be a used vehicle with 23,000 km on it.
 

 The Results of APA's Investigation Chrysler | Ford | General Motors | Honda | Hyundai | Kia | Nissan | Toyota

 
CHRYSLER
DEALER RATING VEHICLE COMMENTS

Crowfoot Dodge Chrysler

20 Crowfoot Rise N.W.
Calgary, Alberta
T3G3S7
403-241-0300
Sales Manager:
Jesse Argueta

passPASS 2016 Jeep Wrangler The advertised sky blue Jeep Wrangler was available. The sales manager matched the advertised price and the $85 weekly payment in the ad, which was all-in. Warranty information correct. The manager demonstrated superior knowledge about the Jeep Wrangler.

Courtesy Chrysler

125 Glendeer Circle SE
Calgary, AB T2H 2S8
403-255-8111

failFAIL 2016 Grand Caravan CVP 1st visit: Dealer advertised Grand Caravan in stock was not new but a demo with 1450 km; the ad doesn't say that. 2nd visit: The dealer has two new Grand Caravans with the Canada Value Package advertised for $20,998 in a Chrysler Canada ad. Additional charges totalling $1,585 include $686 for paperwork and $899 for tire and rim protection. They are not included in the ad price. The shoppers were asked to sign paperwork related to a "Private Sale" which they were told would be used to meet a Chrysler representative working on the premises that day who could sweeten the deal. The shoppers asked what the extra discount or incentive would be several times but were unable to obtain a final price unless they signed. After the visit, the APA learned the rep is not a Chrysler employee; he works for a marketing company that stages "Private Sale" events. Lots of pressure to complete a purchase on the spot.

Renfrew Chrysler

1920 Pumphouse Rd. S.W.
Calgary, AB
T3C 3N4
403-266-1920

failFAIL 2016 Dodge Journey CVP

The dealer had one base Journey corresponding to the ad at $19,340. Extra documentation and tire-related charges total $724. The seller says, “At any dealership you go to there are fees. No hidden fees.” The extra charges are in addition to the ad price.The seller says the factory warranty is extended by the amount of mileage showing on the odometer at delivery; the Journey is showing 76 km, so the warranty will expire at 100,076 km (not correct).The seller reviews the equipment on the base model and asks the shoppers what other vehicle they are considering (good technique). He lists the additional equipment that comes with the more expensive SXT trim level, but there is no pressure to take it. The seller says “Alloys are standard. Steel wheels with covers are extra.... $19,340 is with steel wheels” (incorrect, the steel wheels with covers are standard, and the alloys extra).

The shoppers request information on the ad offer "Plus get up to $10,000 to pay off your holiday bills." The seller says the dealership can do “a couple of cool things” with financing. The dealership can boost the selling price by $5,000 and return the shoppers a cheque they can use to pay off their credit card balance. “The payment would reflect that. You might be able to get up to $10,000. We have a promotion going on to pay off your credit card balance.” Inflating the price to get a cash loan when financing a new vehicle is usually a bad idea. The shopper would do better to stay out of the car market and refinance just their credit card debt. Seller doesn’t mention that making a loan to oneself this way incurs sales tax on the entire amount to be financed. No corrosion warranty, according to the seller. “They don’t rust. We have a protection plan for an extra charge...”

Varsity Chrysler

665 Goddard Avenue N.E
Calgary, AB
T2K 6K1
403-730-4000

failFAIL 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan

Advertised HOT DEAL with $16,592 savings for a 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan at $25,998 fails to indicate it was not a new vehicle, but in fact a demo with 3031 km that has already been sold. The dealer offered the shoppers a red Grand Caravan with more equipment, also a demo, with 5,200 km for the same price. The fine print reads “All prices include fees.” There is a $571 documentation charge not in the ad. Twice the biweekly payment of $150 does not equal a $300 monthly payment as represented by the seller. Cost of Borrowing information in the fine print applies to a Dodge Dart which is not featured in the ad.

The seller says there is “no warranty for surface rust,” (not correct), only a rust-through warranty of 5 years/100,000 km (correct).

 
FORD
DEALER RATING VEHICLE COMMENTS

Cam Clark Ford

1001 Highland Park Blvd.N.E.
Airdrie, AB
T4A 0R2
403-948-6660

failFAIL 2017 Escape SE AWD

The ad states the price is “NO BULL ALL IN". The seller explains that the ad price includes a $1,000 discount available only to Costco members (which the ad doesn't say). To qualify for the advertised price, the Costco membership must predate the promotion. The ad also promises that "For an additional $15 paid bi-weekly receive “$2000 cash back in you pocket!” The seller explains, "Sometimes people after Christmas have high credit card balances -- you can add this to the payment and we give you $2000 back.” There was no pressure to take the offer; "You don't have to take that if you want to keep the payment lower.” (Inflating the selling price this way means you'll pay sales tax on a loan to yourself; the seller doesn't disclose that).

The seller mentioned the GAP insurance included with the lease and suggested not spending more money for replacement cost coverage (good advice). He added that GAP insurance is there to protect the Ford Motor Company and the customer (correct). Warranty disclosure was complete, with the seller saying the basic warranty is "bumper to bumper, except wear items like brakes and tires" (good detail). Extended warranties are available but there was no pressure to take them. Excellent seller, with good product knowledge but a deceptive ALL IN advertised price to the tune of $1000 for a rebate that is not available to the general public.

Woodridge Ford

11580 24th Street S.E.
Calgary, AB
T2Z 3K1
403-640-7472 

failFAIL 2017 Escape SE AWD The seller says the Escape is the dealership’s second best seller. The 2017 model featured in the ad was sold; and ordering the same one for delivery would take weeks; a trade with another Calgary dealer might be possible. The same ad for the unavailable Escape continued to run for a few days after the APA visit. A long and arduous visit, as the seller repeatedly tried to move the shoppers into a more expensive model. The all-in ad price of $29,189 includes a Costco rebate that was mentioned in the fine print. Non Costco members pay $1000 more, and the membership must predate the start of the promotion. The seller told the shoppers there is no rust warranty (not correct), but "there is a rust module that may be installed; it's not built into the price".
 
GENERAL MOTORS
DEALER RATING VEHICLE COMMENTS

CMP Chevrolet Buick GMC

1313 36 Street N.E.
Calgary T2A 6P9
403-207-2455

failFAIL 2016 Chevrolet Cruze

Ad for a 2016 Chevrolet Cruze with "rear vision camera, Bluetooth, cruise control, tinted windows and more... 100+ Cruzes in stock."
The shoppers show the seller the ad for the Cruze and attempt to confirm that it’s new. The seller says, “Yes, that will be new. Are you thinking of trading anything in? There's a trade-in bonus, I think it's about a $1000.” The seller says they might qualify for the bonus using the registration from their current vehicle (nice touch). The seller is confused because the advertised features do not match the equipement on the actual Cruze, which is in the showroom. He takes the ad provided by the shoppers to show it to the business office. Returning, the seller says the car doesn't have the advertised features. “I spoke to the boss, we can still put in a rearview camera, Bluetooth and cruise control on it. Just so you know, the car doesn't have air-conditioning. It's the same car (as the one in the showroom) because of the stock number. We have to honour it – $3000 off plus an additional $1800 for the camera and other features; in total you're getting almost $5000" in value. The seller claims the dealer-installed back up camera and cruise control will be warranted to 5 years/160,000 km."The parts will come from GM".

The shoppers requested details of the price and payment in the ad. The advertised cash price does not include $976 in dealer extra charges. However, the seller says the charges are built in to the advertised finance payment. Corrosion warranty information is correct.

Knowledgeable seller who was stuck with an ad that had incorrect information about the vehicle’s features, and an extra charge of $976 on top of the ad price for a cash buyer. The ad representations relating to the features on the Cruze were corrected on the day after the visit.

Shagannappi GMC, Buick, Chevrolet

4720 Crowchild Trail N.W.
Calgary, AB
T3A 2N2
403-288-0444

failFAIL 2016 Cruze

2016 IS FINALLY OVER!! BLOW-OUT SALE ON NOW!! 2016 Chevy Cruze Limited turbo engine, auto, AC, cruise control, remote start, Bluetooth, was $21,998 now $18,888 4 left! Save up to 22%

To arrive at the advertised discount up to 22%, the dealer is comparing the price of a used Cruze to a new one, but the ad doesn’t say that. The seller was careful to explain that there were two Cruze models in 2016, one outgoing called the Limited, and one all-new (good info).The seller directs the shoppers to a 2016 Cruze LX automatic for $18,640, with a new 153 hp. engine and Stop/Start. He says “It will have less features; will not have cruise and remote start. It will have Apple Play, back up camera, auto and AC, and it's brand-new.” The seller points out that a brand new 2016 Cruze is available with 2.49% financing for 84 months whereas a used one must be financed at a higher 4.9% rate. To arrive at the total price, the seller adds the $100 air conditioner excise tax (an excise tax is supposed to be included in the price), tire recycling charge of $20, $6.25 AMVIC fee and a documentation fee of $499 “like you have when you buy a house.” The seller tried to locate the new Cruze he had priced for the shoppers, but after a lot of trying, he let them know that the vehicle was not currently available because there were “complications."

Competent seller undermined by a deceptive ad. The seller had a good command of the different features on the Cruze and GM’s various financing offers. At the end of the visit, he made a helpful suggestion: near-zero interest on a new 2017 might make it a better deal than the rebate of $4000 on the outgoing 2016.

 
HONDA
DEALER RATING VEHICLE COMMENTS

T&T Honda

888 Meridian Road N.E.
T2A 2N8
403-291-1444

Leasing Manager:
Norman Burgos

failPASS 2016 Honda Fit LX

Honda Canada website ad for a 2017 Fit DX, MSRP starting from $14,950 manual. Ads on the dealer website for a 2016 Fit LX automatic for $20,611 in Crystal Black Pearl, and a 2016 Fit. Lease and finance rates from .99%. The ad promises a free book that explains leasing vs.buying. Signage posted at the dealership indicates the dealer is a Member of the Better Business Bureau, and a 14 year winner of the Consumer Choice Award. The shoppers ask if the dealership has the Honda Fit DX offered on the Honda website. The seller answers, “No we don't...It would take three months to order a 2017 Fit DX if you wanted one. I would make an order from Honda Canada, from the factory, three months.”

The seller says there are no active promotions on the Fit.The shopper showed him the .99% rate for 2016s taken from the dealer’s website. The seller checked and corrected his answer, stating that the 2016 Fit lease and finance rate of .99 % still applied. The dealership has two LX models like the one advertised for $20,844 (the price includes a block heater), minus a $750 Honda discount. “That's it, plus air-conditioner $100 excise tax, and tire tax and AMVIC $26.25.” The seller explained that the shoppers can have both the $750 rebate and the low finance rate.(The rebate is an additional benefit that drops the price to below the ad.) The seller mentions the Fit’s high resale value (good info). The warranty information is correct. At the end of the visit, the shopper requested the book promised on the dealer website titled “Should I lease or buy my next vehicle?” The seller, who is the leasing manager, isn't aware of it. He leaves to find out and returns laughing at himself. "It’s an e-book that you can download, no purchase necessary."

Village Honda

7663 110th Avenue N.W.
Calgary, AB
T3R 1R8
403-239-3900

failFAIL 2016 Honda Fit

Online dealer ad for a 2016 Honda Fit, $2000 holiday bonus, lease and finance from .99% starting from $16,511.25 The advertised price was for a Fit DX that was not available. The closest price for a 2016 Fit in the dealer's inventory was for an LX at $22,694. Additional charges apply: $588 for mud guards, tire and rim warranty, etching, nitrogen and documentation. The seller asked the shoppers about their current vehicle, possibly to see if they qualify for a loyalty or other rebate (nice touch). There was some uncertainty regarding the .99% advertised finance rate. The seller says, “I'm not sure.”

The shopper asks about the advertised $2000 holiday bonus in the ad. The seller answers, “I believe we can still do that; there must be a holiday coming up” (it’s January). The seller says, “I believe the $2000 is off this number (the price quoted). It's $2000 total but I'm not sure where it’s applied $1500 + $500. On the 2016, you get the holiday bonus. On the ‘17 you get .99%. The ad which is for a 2016 Fit doesn’t mention that the bonus and finance rate cannot be combined on 2016 models. The seller made several fruitless trips to find a manager for more specific information and payment calculations, but couldn’t get anyone to help him. He reported that his managers were all tied up. Courteous seller with good product knowledge.

 
HYUNDAI
DEALER RATING VEHICLE COMMENTS

Calgary Hyundai

1920 23rd Street N.E.
Calgary, Alberta
T2E8N3
403-250-9990

failFAIL 2017 Elantra GL

Ad on the dealer website with a Hyundai Canada promotion for the 2017 Elantra, weekly lease payment $59 at 0% with a $750 downpayment. Ads for two Elantra GLs on the dealer website for $20,044. The advertised Elantra was not available for $59 a week. The seller said, “This one you’ve chosen is an automatic, this is a GL with BLIS, a backup cam, heated leather steering wheel... This is your price, $22,044 plus $699 for mud guards, block heater, tire tax $20, and air tax of $100 and $599 dealership fee plus GST...” The seller invites the shoppers to post a review on DealerRater, which is “something you can post your experience on. You can say whatever you feel like. There is no way for us to delete it... I encourage my customers to post.” The seller says, “I will create a profile of the customer. It will show on my manager’s computer, and he will give you the numbers.” The seller could not provide the numbers, and a manager took over.

After the shoppers said they were not ready to sign that day, the seller suggested they return between the 26th-28th of the month for a Private Sale Event with Hyundai Canada reps at the location. “Keep that in mind. There will be some additional rebates.... Don’t make a decision (to buy from another dealer). I can pull inventory from any of three stores (Interesting advice about waiting until the end of the month for a better deal). Warranty information provided was correct.

Country Hills Hyundai

2307 Country Hills Blvd. N. E.
Calgary, Alberta
T3J OR4
403-984-9696

failFAIL 2017 Elantra L

Dealer ad: Happy New Year, 2017 Elantra GL, now only $21,548, $58 dollars/week at 1.99% with a Hyundai Canada Corporate promotion. The seller says Hyundai has more features for the equivalent price level than competing Japanese brands (correct). The seller says, "The cash price is cheaper than the Hyundai promotion, $22,590 all-in for a 2017 Elantra GL." Extra charges of $983 are not in the ad price. The seller says financing with $0 down is $60.90 weekly, fees and tax included. Regarding the vehicle demonstration, the seller says, "I'm showing a used car with 17,000 km; this one is from our used car lot; we didn't want to go offsite. A new car is here somewhere.” He mentioned the pull-ahead program “to get you of your current vehicle after one or two years or more down the road (the Elantra has 8 year financing) – your choice.” There is no warning about the risk of “pulling forward” an 8-year car loan; the borrower will likely owe more than the car’s market value. This “negative equity” will have to be added to the loan amount for the next vehicle.

The 5 yr/100,000 km warranty from Hyundai was represented as the “best in the industry.” Regarding corrosion, the seller says, “Rust is not really a warranty thing” (a misrepresentation, an upsell followed). The seller promoted a suite of extra cost protection packages sold by the dealership. All are very expensive: “I want to show you the protections. Undercoating is extra... Undercoat chemicals go under the car, reduce noise up to 55%, prevents damage, prevents rust. A rust inhibitor is applied all over your car.” Regarding extra cost paint protection, the seller stated, “Over time, your car won't fade.” His “favourite” is the 3M film applied on the hood and bumper. The whole package with a remote starter is called the Elite Package for $2400. “What you're looking at is $24 biweekly" (over 96 months, that’s $4,992, the highest amount the APA has ever been quoted for an aftermarket body protection package). "There is such a thing called the Entry Level Package; you choose three protections. And the Value Package, you choose four protections, that's $18 biweekly” (a hefty $3,744 over 8 years). The 3M protection and the remote starter are included with all the packages.

 
KIA
DEALER RATING VEHICLE COMMENTS

Eastside Kia

2256 23rd Street N.E.
Calgary, AB
2TE 8N3
1-877-575-6418

failFAIL 2016 Forte LX + Sunroof

Ad reads 2016 Forte5 LX for $15,005 + Sunroof. MSRP $23,535 save $4,750 Finance $114/bw Finance price $18,785. Save $4,750 Lease: $118/bw Lease Price $18,785. No-charge remote starter with every purchase. Fine print: Vehicle prices and payments include all fees and dealer added accessories. The seller explains the cash versus the finance price as follows: "If you pay cash, it's $15,005; if you're going to finance it’s gonna be $18,785 I'm not sure why...” Seller: “Yup, that's the advertised price; that stock number is as in the ad, $15,005 + GST; it's $8,550 off MSRP. Right here, there’s a difference of $3780 between cash and financing. If you're able to pay, cash would be the best.”

The seller locates the advertised white Forte5 LX on her computer “It's a 2016, we’ve got to get it out, it's brand-new, it’s been on some test drives so it will have a few kilometres on it but not much... This one car, they make it as inexpensive as possible to try and get people here. Once this car is gone, it's gone.” The seller checks with her manager to locate the car for a road test but returns empty handed. The car was sold. The seller offered a more equipped EX with a smaller discount of $4,750. A couple of days later, the original Forte LX with the same stock number reappeared, now at a higher cash price of $18,785.

The seller provided the correct information on Kia’s warranties. “The warranty is 5 years/100,000 km comprehensive... there are no issues with rust. I haven't seen any issues with vehicles on our pre-owned lot (interesting info). We do offer 5 years/100,000 km for perforation.”

Northland Kia
5100 Shaganappi Trail N.W.
Calgary, Alberta
T3A 2L7
403-247-2411
failFAIL 2017 Kia Forte LX

The ad for a 2017 Kia Forte LX reads "Save $1750. Now $16,803 or pay only $49 weekly or lease for $55 weekly." The fine print reads “All offers include freight, PDI and fees.” The dealership has one car corresponding to the ad in inventory, in black.The shoppers ask, “Just one?” The seller answers that it’s “because manual is not that popular, not many people can drive a manual. It will be a little more to locate a different colour and deliver it from another dealer.” The price includes very expensive dealer charges of $1498 for a block heater, lifetime oil changes, wheel locks, security etching, plus a $499 admin. fee. The seller tells the shoppers, “The good news is that this price (in the ad) includes everything except GST. From what I was told, the no extra charge winter tires are worth $3000 (very exaggerated). The brand is Tiger Paw.”

Regarding rust, the seller initially said, “They don't usually rust; we have a rust enabler, paint protection and undercoat. The finance office will add it to your payment. Later the seller says, "This is off the top of my head; it’s for a few years, I can't remember the Kia coverage.”

 
NISSAN
DEALER RATING VEHICLE COMMENTS

Brasso Nissan

195 Glendeer Circle
Calgary, Alberta
T2H 2S8
403-253-5555

Salesperson:
Chad Swirsky

failPASS 2017 Rogue S FWD Nissan Canada ad for a 2017 Rogue S, lease from $258 monthly with $1495 down. That's like paying $59 weekly at .99% APR for 60 months. The dealer had a white Rogue S available within seven days and could trade for a black one from a local dealer in a couple of days. The glacier white Rogue has a paint surcharge of $135. The seller quoted an air tax of $100 & AMVIC fee of $6.25, PPSA $20.65 & tire tax $20. A winter security package for $495 was available, but there was no pressure to take it; it includes a block heater, all season floor mats, wheel locks and a first aid kit. The seller provided a helpful printout of charges and payments.Advertising a weekly payment "that's like paying only $59" is confusing; it was common to several ads shopped this year.

Royal Oak Nissan

7690 110 Ave. N.W.
Calgary, Alberta
T3R 1R8
403-241-1040

failFAIL 2016 Micra SV One new 2016 Micra SV is available in red. The fine print reads "includes all fees except GST.” Contrary to the fine print, the advertised price does not include $479 in dealer fees, and $100 air tax, $20 tire tax and $6.25 AMVIC fee. In total, there seller locates 24 Micras in the Prairie Provinces. “Some are not even here yet,on the train, in a compound or at the factory (that’s better availability than the when APA shopped Nissan dealers in Calgary for the advertised base Micra in late 2014 and some could not locate even one in Alberta).

Sunridge Automotive

2701 32nd Avenue N.E.
Calgary, AB
T1Y 6J1
403-4447902

failFAIL 2015 Micra S

Base Micra S for an ad price of $13,890 for $82 bi-weekly with $1,998 down for 84 months at a 4.7% interest rate. The ad fails to mention that the Micra S is a demonstrator with 2006 km on the odometer. Three of the six vehicles featured in the ad are identified as demos; the remaining three appear to be new. Reviewing the ad, the seller says, “These are all demos, they didn't print it. It's a demo; we had two left, this is the only one... A demo comes with winter tires; all our demos in the winter (come with winter tires) no extra charge.”  The seller states that the $82 bi-weekly payment is an all-in price. “The price is $13,890 plus tax, nothing else. This is a financing option, $82 biweekly with $1998 down for 84 months.” The seller says the ad payment “includes the GST and everything else.” He confirms the advertised interest rate of 4.7%.

The seller mentions the comprehensive warranty of 3 years, but neither he nor the shoppers discuss the early start date for the warranty on the Micra because it's a demonstrator. At the end, the seller volunteers that the design will be changing significantly for 2018: “It will look like a mini Rogue.” (very good of him to have provided this information). Seller a little green; much better sales experience than the last time the APA visited Sunridge in 2015.

 
TOYOTA & LEXUS
DEALER RATING VEHICLE COMMENTS

Country Hills Toyota

20 Freeport Landing N.E
Calgary, AB
T3J 5H6
403-290-1111

failFAIL 2017 Corolla CE

The ad vehicle is a 2017 Corolla 2017 CE CVT (no selling price listed) for $129 bi-weekly 0.99% with $0 down payment for 60 months. The seller tells the shoppers the advertised Corolla CE CVT has a manual transmission (incorrect), and no air conditioning; he quickly moves on to the features on the LE and SE. He says, "I want to explain to you first, maybe the Corolla CE (in the ad) is not for you." The shopper redirects the seller to the advertised model. The cash price provided by the seller was $23,081.81 (high for the car in the ad) less the $2000 cash back advertised for $21,081.81. The seller says the lease payment is based on $17,608.50 and the buyback is $ 8,714. It’s a lease through Toyota. “All vehicles in Alberta get a block heater. It’s mandatory (a misrepresentation), a charge of $120 included in the price.”

About the warranty, the seller states, “There is no guarantee without (dealer applied) rustproofing. I haven’t seen that many rusted Toyotas.” The business office offers a protection package “in the $2,000 range”, including a rust module, which is an electronic device installed in the engine bay (misrepresentation, Toyota offers 5 years for corrosion perforation). Another form of protection is offered for $488. High pressure selling; seller pushing the more expensive Corollas.

Canyon Creek Toyota

370 Canyon Meadows Dr. SE
Calgary, AB
T2J 7C6
403-278-6066

failFAIL 2016 Corolla CE, manual

Dealer ad features a 2017 Corolla CE with the following options: automatic transmission, air conditioning, backup camera, a 6.1 inch voice activated touchscreen and Bluetooth stereo for $!7,599 with a lease deal of only $26 a week plus GST for 39 months. The ad vehicle was not available for the price advertised. The backup camera requires the LE upgrade package offered for an additional $1300 more. The seller returned from the business office with an ad from the dealer website to show the error in the ad printed in the Calagary Metro News. (No correction appeared in the next day’s Metro News. A new ad reappeared in the Metro News seven days after the original ad was published. The backup camera was replaced by power windows.) The dealer corrected their online ad. The dealership had two white Corolla CE without the backup camera for the ad price. The lease interest rate was .99%.

The seller said there was a warranty for premature rust but didn't say for how long (Toyota offers five years for corrosion perforation). The shoppers inquired about "other fees" included in the lease payment but not the ad price for a cash buyer. There are $995 in dealer charges covering five years of oil changes (one every 16,000km/12 months), 3-year tire warranty, 3M film, dealer paperwork and a block heater. Personable salesperson.

Lexus of Calgary

22 Heritage Meadows Rd. S.E.
Calgary, Alberta
T2H 3C1
403-225-3987

failFAIL 2016 Corolla CE manual Advertised payment bi-weekly from $219 on a 39 month lease at a rate of 1.9 % with a $2000 credit on the 2017 NX 200t AWD with the standard package. The fine print states, "Taxes,license, insurance, registration and certain fees... including dealer fees and charges..." The biweekly payment of $278.31 provided by the seller is much higher and includes a $795 plastic body film package and $595 administration fee, neither of which was included in the advertised payment. The $795 film could be dropped but the admin fees was mandatory. The seller was not able to provide exact numbers for lease buyback because the business office executives were in a meeting. Seller provided correct warranty info. Courteous, low pressure, very knowledgeable seller.
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