U.K. auto dealers are offering the biggest new-car discounts in a year as they try to overcome a yearlong sales slump that sees year-to-date deliveries off 12.4% at 718,489 units.
Industry consumer watchdog What Car? says the average discount available across all car sectors stands at a 12-month high of 8.4% or £2,560 ($3,600) a vehicle.
What Car? editor Steve Huntingford says nearly a quarter of automakers are offering double-digit discounts across their model ranges, with French brands Citroen and DS leading the way with average discounts of 14% and 13.2%, respectively.
Volvo, Mercedes and Ford models are on the magazine’s list of top 10 discounts.
The largest markdown found was 42.3% off a SEAT Toledo 115 SE, a compact hatchback with a 1.6L turbodiesel.
“We are truly in a buyer’s market right now,” Huntingford says in a statement. “Even sectors where big discounts are normally harder to come by, such as city cars and small SUVs, now are generating great deals.
“Current pressures on the car industry, plus a barrage of new products flooding the market, mean there are some very attractive personal consumer purchase deals on offer if you know where to look and do your research.”
The deals are offered as the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reports new-car sales have fallen for 12 straight months, capped by a March result down 15.7% at 474,069 units.
The industry group says business (-14.5%), fleet (-15.0%) and private-buyer (-16.5%) business all fell in March.
Ian Plummer, director-manufacturing and agency for online car retailer Auto Trader, says new- car sales were hit by a triple whammy in the first quarter of the year.
He says first-quarter 2017 sales were artificially inflated by consumers pulling forward purchases ahead of increases to vehicle excise duty.
“Second, we had several days of Arctic weather and this impacted deliveries to dealers and deterred consumers from visiting showrooms,” Plummer says.
Third is the ongoing negative impact of Brexit, which he says has hurt consumer confidence.
“On top of all that, there’s the continued uncertainty which has been created around diesel sales, which only adds to the list of reasons why consumers may be inclined to delay their next car purchase.”