New car discounts close to 50%

* Target Price savings hit eight-year high * Average savings almost 2000 * Close to first genuine half-price car...

New car discounts close to 50%

New car discounts are at their most generous level in eight years and could get even bigger, according to research by What Car?.

Average What Car? Target Price savings stand at 1932, 244 more than at the beginning of the year and more than double the 974 average from 2001.

That means it's already a great time to get a cracking offer, but it could get even better for buyers as dealers become increasingly desperate for business in a plummeting new car market.

Official registration figures show that the new car market is down 23% but the true figure, taking out cars that have been registered by dealers, could be as much as 30% or 35%.

Some of the discounts on offer
What Car? has heard of cars being supplied to dealers at 40% of their list price, so the prospect of the first half-price deal might not be far off. Internet broker Drivethedeal has a Citron Xsara Picasso for 8568, which is tantalisingly close to this at 45% off the 15,616 list price.

Shop around and you can get a Ford S-Max or Galaxy for less than 15,000, for instance but it's not just big, or old, cars that come with big savings.

You can get 10% of the latest version of the Volkswagen Golf Mark VI with internet broker Carfile, and thats before the first cars have even been delivered to their owners.

The Ford Fiesta has only just been launched as well, but you can slash 15% off the list price straight away by going to Motorlogix.

Our reigning What Car? Car of the Year, the Jaguar XF, is up for grabs at 2187 off the 31,616 list price at Drivethedeal. The same company can also chop an amazing 11,500 off a Jaguar XJ, dropping it to 33,764.

How Target price is set
What Car? mystery shops thousands of new car dealers every month to come up with its Target Price. It shows the maximum you should pay for any new car and is a figure you should use as a starting point for haggling at your local dealer, especially in the current financial climate.

If a dealer refuses to match Target Price, What Car? promises to put the consumer in touch with a dealer who will.