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Sales slump means big savings

06 July 2005

A slump in car sales in the first half of 2005 could give buyers the upper hand over dealers for the rest of the year.

hands - cash and keys

A slump in car sales in the first half of 2005 could give buyers the upper hand over dealers for the rest of the year.

New car registrations up to June 2005 are down 5.8% on the same period in 2004, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Car dealers and manufacturers are aggressively marketing their models with a battery of new discounts and incentives, which could leave savvy buyers with some excellent deals.

SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan said: ‘Dealers may be feeling the pinch but there is good news for consumers. More models are coming on the market and car prices have tumbled by 10% since 1998 [according to analysis by What Car?].

‘Combine these factors with deals such as 0% finance, free insurance and money-back offers, and you have all the ingredients of a true buyers’ market.’

A swathe of 0% finance offers are available on dozens of models from several manufacturers, including Fiat, Ford, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Seat and Suzuki, which can save buyers thousands of pounds.

These finance offers are on top of the savings that buyers can negotiate on the list price of a new car by using the What Car? Target Price.

Citroen has combined cash-back discounts with interest-free hire-purchase deals.

Fiat dealers could be particularly keen to do business with buyers because the company’s sales have crashed by more than 50% so far this year.

Whatcar.com editor Iain Reid said: ‘Our team of mystery shoppers has been busy, rounding up all of the deals to make sure you’ve got every piece of information you need to get the best deal.

‘We’ll post the results on Whatcar.com this Friday, so don’t go shopping this weekend without checking our website first.’

The SMMT figures show that overall car sales so far this year are down 80,080, compared with the same time last year, to 1,296,485. Sales to private buyers have dropped by 11%. Ford’ Focus has occupied the top slot throughout the first half of the year, selling 12,389 in June and 80,755 so far this year.

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