Here's what the dealers told our mystery shoppers
• Toyota Avensis mystery shopper
In response to your email, I have looked at our guidelines regarding the VAT increase in January.
If you were to place an order for the Avensis before the end of December (ideally much sooner, due to factory build time) and pay for the car in full by the 3rd January 2011, then you would be charged the 17.5% VAT rate.
This means even if the car wasn't ready for collection for a few weeks, you would not be liable for the increase.
• Hyundai Santa Fe mystery shopper
The only way to avoid the VAT increase is if we have a chassis number for the new vehicle i.e it has arrived in the country and we are able to invoice you for it, which also means you would have to pay for it. The vehicle can be registered in January 2011 still but not incur the VAT increase.
• Audi A4 mystery shopper
The only option with regards to the VAT is if you can pay the full amount by the end of the year and secure the 17.5% rate.
• BMW 3-series Coupe mystery shopper
To avoid paying the 20% VAT, the car would need to be paid in full during December simple as that.
• Land Rover Range Rover Sport mystery shopper
Im afraid that the only way that you can avoid the VAT increase on the 4th January would be for the vehicle to actually be built, or at least showing a chassis number and to pay fully and outright for the vehicle (i.e. finance would need to be paid out prior to VAT change). This, as I said, can only be done if the vehicle is showing a chassis number. I know off-hand that a factory order from us would unfortunately not fall into this category; hence the increased VAT rate of 20% would apply on any order.
• Lexus RX mystery shopper
You would need to pay for the car in full before the end of the year. This would then qualify as a 17.5% VAT purchase.
• Toyota Rav4 mystery shopper
If you wish to proceed with the order of the Rav4 then as long as it is on order and you pay us in full before the last day of December that will then insure you get the 17.5% VAT amount
What Car? says you don't have to pay in full. Dealers might not want to pay the VAT due on the purchase without having your cash first, however, so agreeing to give them enough to cover this might secure the 17.5% deal.