Tesla called out for sneaky math on Model 3 pricing

The Model 3’s cost can look a lot lower at a glance.

Image: tesla

Just like when Germany wasn’t too pleased with Tesla’s naming choice for its semi-autonomous feature (confusingly called Autopilot), the country’s automotive industry group is calling out the American electric vehicle company for misleading pricing online for the Model 3 sedan.

This week Reuters reported that the Wettbewerbszentrale nonprofit association that oversees fairness in the auto industry asked Tesla to include the full price of the car and remove the price based on gas savings and tax incentives and rebates. 

Tesla appears to have already reversed course ahead of the March 20 deadline for the change. Accessing the Model 3 website through a VPN set to a location in Germany Friday afternoon, the full price before savings is listed, with no mention of estimated savings on the bottom bar or elsewhere.

The Model 3 pricing page in Germany.

Image: tesla / screengrab

In the U.S., the “savings” price is featured more prominently, with the cost “before savings” listed at the bottom, reflecting the true price. So the $35,000 Model 3 looks at first glance like a $24,450 car — but there’s an asterisk. Germany wasn’t having it. The country considers the labeling non-transparent, calling the listings “marketing exaggerations.”

Pricing in the U.S. can be confusing.

Pricing in the U.S. can be confusing.

Image: tesla / screengrab

We reached out to Tesla about the price listings, but haven’t heard back yet.

Speaking of Autopilot, Tesla recently switched up the language on its website to make it a bit more vague and less likely to be accused of misleading or overpromising users on the system’s self-driving capabilities. Most noticeably, the Tesla Autopilot website’s main header now says “Future of Driving” instead of “Full Self-Driving Hardware on All Cars,” which was on the site as recently as Feb. 19, based on an Internet Archive search. Now, if only it could rename Autopilot …

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