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German regulators tell Tesla to drop ‘gas savings’ from pricing

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The company will be more straightforward about sticker prices in the country starting March 20th 

Photo: Sean O’Kane/The Verge

Tesla will stop factoring estimated fuel savings into the price of its cars in Germany, according to Reuters. The German Centre for Protection against Unfair Competition said Wednesday that Tesla agreed to be more straightforward with pricing on its website by March 20th.

The order pages of Tesla’s website currently feature multiple prices for each car, including ones that include “incentives and gas savings.” These adjusted prices show up next to the pictures of the company’s cars, while the actual sticker price (labeled the “before savings” price) is found at the bottom of the order page. The German association, also known as Wettbewerbszentrale, didn’t like this.

“Even if ‘savings’ could be realized, such an amount cannot be deducted from the purchase price or the monthly rate ... because customers must pay the full price at the time of purchase or financing,” Reuters quoted the association as saying. Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tesla’s approach to pricing has drawn criticism since the company started using it on Model 3 order pages, though the scrutiny increased after it added the “after savings” prices to Model S and Model X order pages last November. While tax incentives and the cheaper cost of electricity compared to gasoline can ultimately reduce the cost of ownership, Tesla’s inclusion of these factors in the upfront pricing has been called “scammy,” “dubious,” and “confusing.” One pro-Tesla blog even referred to the pricing structure as “optimistic.”

This is not the first time Germany has clamped down on the language Tesla uses in its promotional materials. In 2016, the country’s transportation minister asked the company to stop using the term “Autopilot” to describe its advanced driver assistance package.