While Toyota (GB) PLC - Lexus Division, the importer of the cars into the UK, is able to set recommended retail prices, it would be anti-competitive and illegal for it to insist that dealers only sold at that price.
However, the salesman in Bolton told our shoppers in an e-mail: 'Lexus are monitoring the sales nationally to ensure the new CT 200h are not discounted from the list price during the launch period.'
A statement from Lexus Division said: 'This has been uncovered as the lone action of one sales individual at one Lexus location in the U.K.
'The use of such a response is both ill-judged and naive and immediate action has been taken by the senior management of the group concerned as they, along with Lexus Division, are extremely mindful of the potential implications of such a communication.
'Lexus Division is completely alive to the legal implications of such a statement and would reiterate that this forms no part of any sales and marketing activity whatsoever. We cannot and do not fix prices either directly or indirectly through any indirect method such as monitoring or artificially constraining supply.'
The dealer in Bolton may have had no need to bring the suggestion of price fixing by the Lexus Division into his reluctance to discount the car.
If demand outstrips supply, dealers can often have no need to discount a car and the What Car? Target Price the most we think you should pay for a new car is set at the same level as the list price.
If a dealer tells you he can't discount a car, check out the What Car? Target Price to see if one is in fact available.
If the dealer still won't play ball, we guarantee to put you in touch with a dealer who will.