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I’ve had people on to me over the past weeks giving out about the prices car-makers publish for their models.

I got a bit of stick too for publishing official prices in the course of news stories and reviews.

The potential buyers couldn’t get a car at the ‘starting-from’ prices which were published.

I checked. Yes. The prices I’d published were correct (shock!) but either dealers didn’t have entry-level models in stock or were waiting on new models at a higher price.

Bluntly, ‘starting-from’ prices don’t exist in the real world for many brands.

In one case a couple, anxious to buy a new Dacia Duster, were told the price of the car was more than €2,500 above what they had read as being the entry-level cost. Needless to say, they are not best pleased and won’t be buying.

The fact is that ‘entry-level’ pricing is a strategy that bears little resemblance to what the vast majority of people will pay. It mostly just gets models into the ballpark when people are browsing online.

The same criticism applies to delivery-related charges, which run to hundreds of euro but are often not mentioned.

Volkswagen, for one, make it clear they charge €750 delivery on most models. So do others, but everybody should, I think. Why? Because such prices do not fully reflect what a car is really going to cost you either.

That is, of course, if the dealer has an entry-level model to sell. There is strong evidence that people are buying second and third-tier trim levels which cost a good deal more than the much-derided ‘entry level’.

* Let me know of your experience to ecunningham@independent.ie

Skoda is teasing with sketches of the new Octavia. It will mark the fourth generation of the hugely popular family motor – the fourth best-selling car in Ireland. It is expected to arrive here late next year.

Mazda says it will surprise us with an ‘innovative’ diesel engine next year.

That goes against the grain a bit given the massive swing towards electrification.

But Mazda says it will continue to improve both diesel and petrol engines alongside electric and plug-in hybrids.

The brand’s Europe R&D boss Christian Schultze is quoted as saying they are ‘sticking’ with diesel and have a new approach to it.

“We will show you how clean and very efficient diesel engines can be.”

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