Tesla to drop fuel savings ad for Model 3: German industry association

FILE PHOTO: A Tesla logo is seen at a groundbreaking ceremony of Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory in Shanghai, China January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Electric carmaker Tesla has committed to stop using fuel savings estimates to advertise its Model 3 online, a German industry association set up to prevent unfair competition practices said on Wednesday.

The Wettbewerbszentrale independent body, formed by German industry to ensure companies compete fairly, said the U.S. carmaker had been using random and non-transparent fuel savings estimates and that it must drop the practice by March 20.

Tesla had displayed the 56,380 euro ($63,811) original price for the Model 3 online as well as a price of 51,380 euros when taking account of estimated fuel savings of 5,000 euros over five years, Wettbewerbszentrale said.

“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,” the association said.

The company has guaranteed that it would not repeat such advertising, Wettbewerbszentrale said.

A Tesla spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by David Goodman