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Thinking outside the box (or country)

Manufacturers bemoan the weak pound as making new cars more expensive, but some UK dealers are exploiting this by finding customers overseas.

This article in today's edition of The Times is food for thought.

But customers outside the UK borders aren't only interested in durable, cheap old 4x4s.

I'm told that dealers in Northern Ireland are notching a few new and used car sales to people coming across the border from Eire, thanks to the exchange rate.

And a premium carmaker told me recently that it is considering adding left-hand drive availability to its dealers' management systems as a few have picked up orders from mainland Europe.

The table has truly turned from the old days of the 'Rip-off Britain' car market.

A quick Google search provides examples.

Irish dealer Breens Suzuki advertises a 2009 Suzuki Swift 1.3 petrol five door with 9,756 miles for 11,900 euros.In the UK, a brand new comparable Swift lists at £9,350, or 10,161 euros at today's rate.

Think premium? Audi A3 1.4TFSi 125bhp lists at 25,300 euros in Eire. UK-sourced car works out at 18,342 euros plus importation.

While I don't know what it costs to import a car into Ireland, I'm sure there's a marketable message to be spread here.

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