Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love those cars ads? Buyer beware

By Herb Weisbaum, The ConsumerMan

Automakers are betting tens of millions of dollars they can score big with their Super Bowl commercials. Expect to see more than a dozen car ads during Sunday’s telecast.

“Most of the Super Bowl commercials are a lot of fun,” says Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor for Edmunds.com. "Just keep in mind that the car you're looking at in the commercial may not be the car you find on the dealer’s lot.”

Reed says you need to separate the hype from reality because “car ads can lie.”

Here are a few of the common tricks to watch out for:

Show the top trim, but advertise the base price: Automakers feature top-of-the-line models in their commercials but often display the price of a base model – which can be thousands of dollars less. They get around this by saying “starting at” or “base price.” But the message can be confusing. What you see is not what you get at that price. Boast unrealistic mileage: The figure on the screen is probably the highway mileage, which is always higher than the overall mileage. And this is the mileage you can only get under the best conditions. In some cases, the small print may explain that the mileage displayed is for a different version of the car than the one shown in the ad, one with a smaller engine or no options. Remember, your mileage will vary.Lease payments that are too good to get: The new benchmark in lease payments is $199 a month, an amount that seems affordable to most customers. To get that low payment, you’ll have to pay potentially thousands of dollars for taxes, title and license, and possibly a down payment of $1,000 to $4,000.

You can learn about new cars, various features and special bargains by watching TV commercials. Just don’t get swept away by them. You need to do your homework before you start seriously shopping.

“Even the savviest consumer can be seduced by a TV ad,” Reed says. “My advice: take a cold shower before you really start thinking about buying one of the vehicles you see advertised during the big game.”

CNBC's Mary Thompson & Brian Shactman share details on Boston and New York's economic growth.

0 коммент.:

Post a Comment