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New car prices rise, but buyers still get more for less

The list price of the average new car rose by 1.4%, year-on-year, to the end of last month, equivalent to a rise worth £182.

The findings, published by EurotaxGlass’s in the monthly Glass’s New Car Market Trends report, point to a continued modest increase in new car prices, albeit at a rate that remains below that of UK inflation as a whole (the Retail Prices Index currently stands at 2.5%).

The sector that has seen the greatest increases is the lower-medium sector (Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, etc), with an average list price rise of 3.2%, or £396, over the past 12 months. At the other end of the spectrum, superminis (Vauxhall Corsa, Renault Clio, etc) have seen list price reductions worth 1.4%, or £130, on the average car.

“Current low levels of list price inflation are particularly noteworthy given the continuous improvements being made to vehicle specifications, as well as the growing physical dimensions of new cars in most sectors,” said Alan Cole, editorial consultant for the Glass’s Market Intelligence Service.

“Buyers are effectively getting more for less. However, demand is simply not strong enough to enable vehicle manufacturers to increase prices in response to rises in steel and energy costs.”

“Dealers are caught between a rock and a hard place. Retained margins of 1% or less on the selling price of a new car are the order of the day, and new car profitability is still in decline. This all means there is very little room to offer further discounts on new cars and, with finance deals already very attractive, retailers have to be increasingly imaginative to secure consumer interest.”

There have been year-on-year list price increases at or beyond the 1.4% market average in the following sectors:

  • Lower-medium (Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, etc): up 3.2%
  • Upper-medium (Vauxhall Vectra, Ford Mondeo, etc): up 3%
  • Large Executive (BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, etc): up 1.4%

    Below average rises, or falls in list prices have been seen in the following sectors:

  • Compact MPV (Renault Megane, VW Touran, etc): up 1.1%
  • Large MPVs (Ford Galaxy, Renault Espace, etc): up 1.1%
  • Compact executive (Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class, etc): up 0.2%
  • Sports Utility Vehicle (Toyota RAV-4, Land Rover Freelander, etc) down 0.2%
  • Supermini (Vauxhall Corsa, Renault Clio, etc): down 1.4%

    The biggest list price changes

    The single largest list price rise during October was for the Lexus SC430, which increased by £1,993 to £53,905. The greatest list price fall was for the Toyota Corolla Verso 1.6 VVT-i T2 MPV, which had a reduction of £505 to £13,297.

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