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Franchised dealers renew efforts to attract customers

Prices fell for nearly a fifth of all new cars by 3.1% in October, according to independent car price monitor, CarPriceCheck (www.carpricecheck.com).

UK dealers recorded price cuts on 92% of the 812 models which had displayed a price movement between September and October. CarPriceCheck data shows that buying activity is down 18% year on year for the period.

This was at odds with transaction prices for the market in general (taking into account all supply channels - dealers, internet, manufacturers and importers) where transaction prices rose by 1.2% in October. The statistical analysis shows that for only 18% of the model ranges that recorded price activity during the month delivered a fall in price. For example, the average market saving for a Saab 9-5 increased from 7.15% in September to 9.67% in October.

Key movements from UK dealers, recorded by Carpricecheck included:

  • MG Rover reversed its recent run of transaction price rises to cut 2.89% off its entire UK range on average
  • Citroen cut prices on 66 models by an average of 5.6% with the popular Xsara Picasso compact MPV available with an average 15.37% discount
  • Prices for 33 Fiat models fell by 2.68% with discounts as high as 20.55% on average for the family Marea range
  • Renault improved discounts by 3.27% for 77 of its most popular models.

    After a relative lull in activity, the online retail arms of Vauxhall and Ford moved into action during October. Vauxhall Buy Power mirrored the UK dealer trend and cut the transaction price for 41 different models by 4.06% on average, with the FordJourney site initiating a 2.14% price fall on 24 models in its range.

    Steve Evans, CEO of CarPriceCheck.com, said: "Franchised dealers are not always the cheapest source for any given model, but they have consistently shown their resolve and demonstrated a renewed willingness to offer deals that attract car buyers in October. How much of this is a reaction to the cyclical downturn in activity and how much a result of the activity correction in consumer demand since the September 11th terrorist attack in the United States is a matter for conjecture."

    Mr Evans believes that the improved pricing from the online sales channels of Ford and Vauxhall indicates that manufacturers are in general looking to boost showroom activity: "The signs are extremely positive for consumers looking for a bargain at the moment," he said.

    In terms of price competitiveness, Fiat proved to be the most competitive manufacturer in the new car market in October, recording a consistent fall in price of 2.26% for each model in its range during the period. The biggest falls were for the soon-to-be replaced Brava and Bravo with average discounts of 15.26% and 14.18% available respectively.

    Citroen's C5 showed the biggest fall in pricing for a single model with discounts almost doubling to an average of 12.8% off list price. UK dealers continued to pull the biggest punch in the market with a 16.3% saving on the car, but JamJar was the most aggressive single supplier, slashing 10.7% off its stock delivering an average discount of 15.1%. "The C5 is indisputably the most competitive UK sourced upper medium car in the market," added Mr Evans.

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