The success car buyers are likely to have in haggling with car dealers varies by 24%, according to consumer research, with the most generous discounts coming from Volvo, Citroen and Renault dealers.
What Car? applies what it calls a 'target price' method as a way of ensuring consumers don't "spend a penny more" than they need to on a new car, using secret shoppers to haggle for the best cash deals. "You can use the target price to make sure your local salesman delivers the best value possible".
What Car? said: "Over the past 12 months there have been many fluctuations in the average Target Price discounts that are achievable within individual model segments.
"This unsettled market activity has been caused by car makers facing a bit of a conundrum.
"They want to encourage and sustain a post-recessionary recovery in new car sales, but without creating a permanently visible discounting structure that will prove difficult to wean customers away from once sales pick up.
"This has resulted in a high level of finance-based incentive activity.
"However, while this increase in finance-led incentives has certainly played a major part in nourishing a fragile recovery, many car manufacturers have also looked to the UK to try to make up for flagging new car sales across much of Europe.
"This additional, and unintended, pressure has resulted in dealers being able to use high
levels of manufacturer cash support to reduce showroom transaction prices in a bid to close out more sales.
"It is the tactical and targeted nature of this manufacturer activity that has culminated in year-on-year variances of up to 24% in the average Target Price discount applicable to individual car model segments.
The recent three-month trend of typical target price discounting across all vehicle segments is showing an increase and currently stands at 9.2% or £2,264 per car."
The most generous showroom savings are typically available at Volvo, Citroën and Renault dealers with average 'target price' discounts of 22.2%, 21.2% and 16.7% respectively.
Apart from Dacia, with its zero-discount policy, the car brands offering the least amount of typically achievable transaction price discount are Jeep (4.8%) Mini (5%) and Land Rover (5.4%).
The top 10 biggest percentage discounts
1 Chrysler 300C 3.0 V6 Limited 27.8%
A guaranteed saving of more than £10,000 is still available on the 300C.
2 Skoda Fabia 1.2 12v 69 SE 25%
Buyers can get a 25% discount when buying this Fabia hatchback version.
3 Hyundai i20 1.2 Classic 20.8%
A £2,100-per-car saving means this i20 variant can be had for less than £8000.
4 Volvo S80 models 20.6%
Average target price discounts of more than 20% are available on S80 models.
5 Seat Ibiza 1.4 85 Toca 20.5%
Seat is offering a big £2710-per-car saving on this five-door Toca model.
6 Volvo XC90 2.4 D5 200 ES 20.3%
Volvo’s large SU V can now be bought for less than £30,000.
7 Vauxhall Zafira models 20%
What Car? research has revealed that a typical 20% target price discount is available
when buying Vauxhall Zafira versions.
8 Citroen C4 1.6 VT i 120 VTR + 19.8%
Citroën is hoping that a £2750-per-car discount will help dealers to shift C4 1.6
VTi 120 VTR + variants.
9 Fiat Punto 1.2 8v Pop 19.7%
Salespeople can use a £1955-per-car Fiat saving to sell the 1.2 8v Pop model.
10 Volvo S60 models 19.6%
Customers can get a £4200-per-car Volvo bonus when buying S60 variants
(excluding Business Edition).
Bottom 10 What Car? Target Price falls since last month
1 Suzuki Swift 1.6 Sport -10.7%
The withdrawal of a manufacturer incentive has resulted in a 10.7% drop in the typical
target price discount.
2 Vauxhall Mokka -2.5%
Salespeople are becoming more resistant to offering discounts on Mokka variants.
3 Peugeot 207 SW 1.4 VT i Active -2.2%
Average Target Price discount has dipped because of a reduced registration bonus.
4 BMW X1 -2%
Salespeople are less willing to boost BMW X1 cash support with dealer discounts.
5 Audi A6 -1.5%
There are signs that a reduction in Audi factory support for A6 versions is
contributing to lower average Target price values across the range.
6 BMW 5 Series saloon -1.5%
Research has picked up an increased dealer resistance to discounting
on 5 Series saloon models.
7 Kia Rio 2 -1.5%
Dealers are claiming that the £1400-per-car Kia customer saving is the only discount
they are prepared to sanction on Rio 2 variants.
8 Mazda 6 -1.25%
Salespeople are claiming that an upsurge in customer interest in has allowed them to
reduce the amount of dealer discount they need to give to secure deals.
9 BMW 1 Series hatchback -1%
Dealers are trying to peg back dealer discounts on 1 Series hatchback versions,
and focus buyers’ attention on to BMW’s finance-based incentives instead.
10 Citroen C3 Picasso -1%
Good target price savings are still available, but our research has picked up an
increased dealer resistance to discounting.