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Parker's forecourt focus: Dealers sell Mondeo for Impian money

It’s the emerging carmakers I feel sorry for. The accepted wisdom is that while the latest cars from Hyundai, Kia, Proton, Daewoo et al are not quite up to the standards set by the more-established players, at least they’re cheap enough to attract the bargain hunting motorists.

Not any more – at least, not in the real world. Parker’s produced a supplement this month to go with our Price Guide. Called Right Car, we wanted to showcase some of the great deals you can find on new, nearly new and used cars. Most of the best deals were on the new, pre-registered stock.

What surprised us most was the breadth of choice available and the sheer volume of cheap, pre-registered cars on sale. Look in the supermarkets, main dealers and the independent brokers/specialists and you’ll find pretty much any mainstream car (and a few waiting-list-busting exotics, too) for much less than list price.

A new Ford Focus for well under £10k not cheap enough; how about a Mondeo for similar money? Or, Chrysler Crossfires with £5,000 off at Chrysler dealers and a massive 24% off list price on Ford’s Focus C-Max.

The C-Max is, in some respects, the most interesting of the lot. It is widely regarded as the best car in a fast-growing sector. Based on the forthcoming Focus, not the existing one, it is bang up-to-date and yet still needs a £3,716 discount (on a 1.8 Zetec) to sell in the required numbers.

We all know the reasons for pre-registering, but if it’s going to continue growing, then there’s an enormous implication for new and used car values just around the corner.

Those emerging makers can’t compete. Try looking for a discount on a Hyundai or Kia and you’ll struggle. In the same town as we found bargain Mondeos, the local Proton dealer was trying to flog new Impians for £200 more. So expect to see more of the clever finance packages (Kia’s seven-day free insurance is a good example), even better aftersales packages and more Korean niche vehicles (the big 4x4s and MPVs are where they can genuinely compete and steal a share of the volumes).

As for used cars, at the same time as we were slack-jawed at the Chrysler Crossfire deals, one of the Parker’s researchers pointed out that, along with all the other trade price guides, we were still valuing a six-month-old Crossfire at £3,000 more than you can buy a pre-registered, delivery miles car. For a dealer trying to balance new, pre-reg and used car stock, setting prices for real deals to make a decent living must be a nightmare.

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