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Carmakers clash over warranties at the NEC

Renault UK announced a three-year warranty on all models as the Birmingham motor show opened at the NEC but a spokesman did not anticipate any immediate price cuts.

Press day was dominated by announcements about prices and online selling strategies following earlier announcements on both by market leaders Ford and Vauxhall.

Volkswagen said it would continue to offer cuts on selected models until the end of the year. Peugeot had "no plans" to make reductions because demand for its range was still high. A Citroen UK spokesman said the company was finalising details of a three-year warranty.

Pressure on volume carmakers to improve their retail customer packages came after Vauxhall announced price cuts of up-to 12% and a three-year warranty and roadside rescue package.

Nick Reilly, Vauxhall chairman, said: "Our value pricing initiatives have brought the UK car buyer unprecedented value for money. Now we have decided to make these offers permanent and even more transparent."

The Vauxhall Astra 1.6 SXi will come down by £1,500 and a Tigra 1.4i falls to £11,900.

A Vauxhall spokesman said its dealers would provide a home delivery service and from-the-door test-drive programme for its expanded internet sales site which goes live on November 9.

Customers will be able to choose and specify their new car from the full Vauxhall range and have a full choice of colours, options and accessories. They will be able to value their part exchange over the internet and arrange finance. Savings are likely to be around 5%.

A Vauxhall spokesman said the dealer network would play a key role in internet sales, trialled for a year with the limited dotcom model range. The selected dealer would contact the customer once the order has been placed and offer an "at home" service.

"They will come to your door if necessary. You don't have to go to them," said. "They can arrange test drives at home or in the office and a handover to suit the customer. We want to get away from the idea you have to troop down to the dealership on a Saturday to buy a new car."

Dealers had a traditional margin on the cars and would be free to set the transaction price.

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