Buy now or face reduced discounts and long waiting lists, car buyers warned

Analysis of the new car market by our team of mystery shoppers suggests would-be buyers need to move fast to maximise their saving and avoid long delays...

Using computer to shop for cars online

New car buyers hoping to get a discount on their next car are being advised to act quickly, because a backlog of pent-up demand is likely to quickly outstrip supply in the wake of factory closures caused by the Covid-19 crisis.

Analysis of the UK new car market by What Car?'s team of Target Price mystery shoppers has found that manufacturers are expected to react by reducing discounts on new cars as demand returns. In turn, because of factory closures, waiting times between ordering and receiving a new car could increase.

Pat Hoy, who heads What Car?'s Target Price team, said: “With few people buying cars right now, sales staff are keen to do a deal. But the clear expectation is that, as soon as demand outstrips supply, they will look to reduce incentives and discounts and focus on profitability.

Car dealership

 “Of course, there will be variables within that. Some manufacturers will sacrifice profit for market share, but the likelihood is that most buyers will face the double whammy of discounts narrowing and waiting lists extending.”

 The commentary comes after the Government announced dealers are allowed sell and deliver vehicles remotely in the UK, spurring a spike in online leads to dealers. Manufacturers will open factories and production lines gradually in the wake of the lockdown, meaning the supply of new vehicles will depend on existing stocks and limited production.

What Car?’s Target Price analysis of discounts for the first three months of 2020, up to the start of the lockdown, found Citroën offering the best deals with an average of 16% off on a new car. Seat (average of 16%), Nissan (14%), Skoda (12%) and Mercedes (11%) completed the top five discounted brands.

Biggest Target Price discounters, January-March 2020

10. Vauxhall
Average cash discount: £2343
Average Target Price saving over OTR price: 10%

See all What Car? Target Price guaranteed savings for Vauxhall

=5. BMW
Average cash discount: £4804
Average Target Price saving over OTR price: 11%

See all What Car? Target Price guaranteed savings for BMW

=5. Mercedes
Average cash discount: £5209
Average Target Price saving over OTR price: 11%

See all What Car? Target Price guaranteed savings for Mercedes

=5. Smart
Average cash discount: £1800
Average Target Price saving over OTR price: 11%

See all What Car? Target Price guaranteed savings for Smart

=5. Suzuki
Average cash discount: £2152
Average Target Price saving over OTR price: 11%

See all What Car? Target Price guaranteed savings for Suzuki here

=5. Volkswagen
Average cash discount: £3583
Average Target Price saving over OTR price: 11%

See all What Car? Target Price guaranteed savings for Volkswagen

4. Skoda
Average cash discount: £3262
Average Target Price saving over OTR price: 12%

See all What Car? Target Price guaranteed savings for Skoda

=2. Nissan
Average cash discount: £3644
Average Target Price saving over OTR price: 14%

See all What Car? Target Price guaranteed savings for Nissan

=2. Seat
Average cash discount: £3819
Average Target Price saving over OTR price: 14%

See all What Car? Target Price guaranteed savings for Seat

1. Citroën
Average cash discount: £4373
Average Target Price saving over OTR price: 16%
See all What Car? Target Price guaranteed savings for Citroen


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