Here's what the dealers told our mystery shoppers
• Citroen C3 mystery shopper
The only way to avoid the 20% VAT is [to ensure] that the car is registered and tax is paid by 31/12/2010.
If the car goes into 2011 then you would have to pay 20% VAT.
• Ford Fiesta mystery shopper
If you order the car as soon as possible and we can get the car registered before the end of December you won't pay the increase rate of VAT, however the cars are going very quickly as everyone is doing the same and trying to beat the VAT increase.
• Nissan 370Z mystery shopper
If the delivery date is next year, you will pay the new VAT rate. We will see if there is any help for this, but at the moment, there's none.
• Ford C-Max mystery shopper
Unfortunately, there is no way of avoiding the new VAT rate if the car is registered in the new year.
It can be avoided only by allowing the vehicle to be registered before the 31st December 2010
• Mercedes-Benz C-Class mystery shopper
To avoid the VAT increase, your car must be in the country, registered and paid for before Jan 1 (you probably have until the middle of this month to place an order that will safeguard this).
• Mazda 3 mystery shopper
If a new car is registered in Jan 2011, the VAT will be 20%.
• Toyota Auris HSD mystery shopper
Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do regarding the VAT because it is paid on the date the vehicle is registered.
What Car? says not true. As long as you order before January 4 you are allowed up to six months for delivery according to usual schedules. You cannot, in other words, ask for delivery to be delayed to the new March registration plate, but tax is calculated at the VAT invoice point, not at the point of delivery or registration.