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2009 sees car buyer's bonanza

A cornerstone of the AM Buy A Car Campaign is to bring about a change in the attitude of the national media on the state of the car industry.

If we are to help bring a turnaround in the fortunes of the car market we need to influence the influencers, namely the media to get them to take a different angle on the slow drip-drip tales of woe and failure to highlighting the positives and the opportunities for the biggest player in the marketplace - the consumer.

So, AM has put together a press release which has been sent to all the main news channels: newspapers, magazines, websites, TV and radio stations and government agencies.

Here is the press release in full:

As the SMMT announces a drop in car sales of 11.3% for 2008, AM Magazine has launched a campaign to alert the car buying public that there has never been a better time to buy a new or used car.

This week’s issue also urges the national press and TV reporters to focus on the reality that a combination of interest rates close to record lows, cashback offers, VAT at 15%, 0% finance deals and falling residuals mean that buyers have a great opportunity to save considerable sums on car purchases.

With Gordon Brown under pressure to provide financial support to a number of car firms, AM Magazine believes that the British public has the opportunity to provide financial support and bag a bargain at the same time.

Stephen Briers, editor of AM Magazine (the newspaper for the automotive industry) comments: “A small but growing band of retailers, carmakers and local paper journalists are starting to recognise and promote the fact that there has never been - and never will be in the future - a better time to buy a car.

"While the reaction by the public has so far been muted, the New Year will bring a degree of improved optimism – and car buyers need to take advantage.”

While TV reports and national newspapers have been dominated by stories on falling car sales, manufacturing plants cutting production and business closures and redundancies, AM is backing the UK car industry to highlight the amazing deals that are available to retail buyers.

There are several factors leading to the current buyer’s market in cars:

• Low interest rates – today lowered to 1.5% and tipped to fall to as little as 0.5% in the second quarter with some suggesting 0% is not inconceivable
• Cashback offers from several manufacturers
• Three- and four-year 0% finance deals from many manufacturers, including Citroen which has also revived its no VAT deal on selected models
• competitive Personal Contract Purchase deals, including zero deposits
• VAT reduced this year from 17.5% to 15%
• Two for one offers from dealers, including Central Garage on the Isle of Wight (buy Citroen C4 Picasso, get C1 free), Broadspeed in Essex (two for one on Dodge Avenger and Kia Magentis) and EMG Mazda in Norfolk (buy CX-7, get Mazda2 free)
• The raft of new low emission, high fuel efficient models such as VW Blue Motion, Ford Ecotec, Mercedes BlueEfficiency and Peugeot Blue Lion will also save motorists money on running costs

It is expected that later this year manufacturers will put up their prices. So dealers are offering incredible deals to encourage customers to buy now. Vauxhall, Chevrolet and BMW retail group Peter Vardy in Scotland is offering discount savings on local radio.

It is also attracting customers with free servicing, nothing to pay until Easter, cashbacks and 0% finance deals.

“The deals on new and used cars are as good as they are going to get,” said group chief executive Peter Vardy.

“Manufacturers have lots of cars to sell and their offers are very strong.”

The incredible offers are not expected to be around for long however. As well as manufacturer price rises, many analysts expect taxes to rise in 2010 and a new VAT rate of 20% has been suggested.

For used cars, the massive drop in residual values at the tail end of summer means prices are now much lower than a year ago.

Figures obtained by AM Magazine from residuals pricing guide CAP reveal that the average used value for a three year/30,000 mile lower medium car has fallen by 20% from December 2007 to December 2008.

Upper medium cars, executive cars, MPVs, convertibles and supercars also exceeded a 20% drop while 4x4s fell by nearly 30%.

However, industry sources claim that used values across all sectors, while significantly lower than a year ago, have started to stabilise.

In December they actually edged up slightly on the previous month.

AM Magazine Editor Stephen Briers concludes: “Consumers who have put off buying a car because they think that they can’t afford it should look very closely at some of the deals available, as waiting may just be a false economy.

"When it comes to buying new or used cars, the motto of the moment is ‘spend now, save now’, and it might just be more than hard cash they are saving, it could help save an entire industry”.


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