After the worst year for new car registrations since 1992, motor dealers are looking to bounce back in 2021.
However, with the lockdown currently in place and showrooms closed to the public, it is becoming increasingly difficult for salesmen to entice motorists into buying a new motor.
While ‘click & collect’ services are in place until the restrictions are lifted, some drivers might be concerned this will hamper their ability to barter on a new model.
Dealers are offering big discounts on some models to stimulate demand, including BMW retailers knocking over £11,000 off the price of a £54,000 luxury saloon model, new analysis by WhatCar? shows.
February new car discounts: Dealers are looking to slash the price of some new models to bump-start stalling sales with the BMW 5 Series seeing the biggest discounts
Analysis of the motoring title’s Target Price mystery shopper data found the average cash discount on a new car at the start of February is 6.8 per cent – the equivalent to a £2,773 saving.
It’s the highest average discount since November last year, it says.
And some of these offers on popular models exceed 20 per cent as retailers look to boost sales during lockdown and ahead of the March plate change next month.
BMW is offering the largest savings on its popular 5 Series, with a 21.4 per cent discount on the 530d diesel xDrive automatic, which usually retails for £54,260 but can be had for £42,875.
|Make||Model||Trim||OTR||% Cash Saving||Cash Saving|
|BMW||5 Series||530d MHT xDrive M Sport 4dr Auto||£54,260||21.4%||£11,385|
|Volkswagen||Passat||1.5 TSI R Line 4dr||£30,515||20.5%||£6,073|
|Renault||Kadjar||1.3 TCE Iconic 5dr||£24,695||19.5%||£4,637|
|Nissan||Qashqai||1.3 DiG-T N-Connecta [Glass Roof Pack] 5dr||£25,425||19.2%||£4,824|
|Citroën||C1||1.0 VTi 72 Sense 3dr||£12,095||17.3%||£1,923|
|Seat||Ibiza||1.0 SE [EZ] 5dr||£16,445||16.6%||£2,689|
|Citroën||Grand C4 Spacetourer||1.2 PureTech 130 Live 5dr EAT8||£28,105||16.5%||£4,417|
|Volkswagen||Golf Estate||1.5 TSI Life 5dr||£25,175||16.0%||£3,891|
|Citroën||C3 Aircross||1.2 PureTech 110 Rip Curl 5dr||£20,550||15.8%||£3,078|
|Vauxhall||Grandland X||1.6 Hybrid4 300 Elite Nav 5dr Auto||£44,370||15.3%||£6,681|
|Suzuki||Sx4 S-Cross Hatchback||1.4 Boosterjet 48V Hybrid SZ-T 5dr||£24,249||13.8%||£3,250|
|Renault||Clio||1.0 TCe 90 Play 5dr||£16,595||13.5%||£2,122|
What Car? says it can guarantee a discount of 20.5% – the equivalent of £6,000 off – a new Volkswagen Passat 1.5-litre TSI R-Line
A saving of 19.5% on a Renault Kadjar 1.3 TCE Iconic brings the £24,695 asking price down to a fraction over £20,000
A new Nissan Qashqai is due to be revealed next week, which means dealers are now trying to shift the remaining stock of the outgoing car. It means savings of 19% on one version
And it’s not just premium cars that have the biggest deals.
The £30,315 Volkswagen Passat 1.5-litre petrol in range-topping R-Line spec can be had with a 20.5 per cent discount.
Even family SUVs, like the Renault Kadjar and Nissan’s best-selling Qashqai, are available with savings of more than 19 per cent, according to What Car?, which guaranteed the savings for those who use its online car buying platform.
Buyers opting for a new diesel model stand to save more than seven per cent, while new petrol models are offered with 6.8 per cent savings.
The discounts aren’t only on large, expensive models. The dinky Citroen C1 can be had with 17% off this month, knocking the asking price down to around £10,000, says What Car?
Seat’s Ibiza is a popular supermini in the UK, so seeing dealers willing to shave almost 17% off the asking price in February could be inviting
For larger families needing plenty of space, the Citroen Grand C4 Spacetourer might be the car you’re looking for. The 1.2 PureTech 130 Live can be had with a saving of 16.5% this month
The VW Golf is among the most popular new cars in the UK, though the estate version isn’t in as much demand as the conventional hatchback. If you want a mid-size family car with plenty of luggage space – and a discount of 16% off the RRP – it could be the perfect option
And even despite their growing popularity, electric vehicles attract on average 4.3 per cent discounts from retailers, up significantly from February last year where they stood at just 2.9 per cent.
For motorists eyeing a deal but unsure on the type of vehicle they want, Seat is the only manufacturer found to offer savings exceeding 10 per cent (with an average cash discount of 13.8 per cent) across the entire model line-up.
Renault (9.9 per cent) and Volkswagen (9.6 per cent) are also offering signficant discounts, the research suggests.
The findings come after the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders announced that dealers had seen nearly two million car transactions wiped off their books in 2020, with new vehicle registrations plunging by almost a third to the lowest annual sales recorded in 28 years.
With the third national lockdown in full swing, January new car registrations also saw a poor start to 2021, down 40 per cent year-on-year.
Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?, said: ‘With showrooms closed, online retail is helping drive sales at the moment.
‘Our latest analysis shows 45 per cent of new car buyers say they would be comfortable buying their next car entirely online, and retailers are clearly looking to attract buyers through generous discounts.
‘There are great deals to be had on new cars, even if buyers can’t head to the showrooms just yet.’
If you’re looking for a crossover with plenty of unique appeal, the Citroen C3 Aircross could be the answer. This Rip Curl edition, usually costing £20,55, can be bought with a 15.8% discount
The Vauxhall Grandland X with the biggest discount is the range-topping 1.6 Hybrid4 300 Elite Nav edition with the automatic gearbox. Paying the £44,370 RRP might be a little steep, though a guaranteed What Car? discount of 15.3% shaves £6,681 off the price
What Car? says buyers of the Suzuki S-Cross Hybrid can trim the £24,249 by 13.8% this month – a saving of £3,250
The final car in the list of the 12 most discounted models is the hugely popular Renault Clio with a 1.0-litre petrol engine under the bonnet. Drivers can save 13.5% – taking £2,100 off the £16,595 usual asking price
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