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Retailers slash new car prices by up to 16%

VW Arteon

Discounts of up to 16% are being offered on new cars at UK retailers, ahead of the March plate-change.

Research from What Car? shows dealers are discounting certain models amid the cost-of-living crisis.

The largest saving found by a team of mystery shoppers was £6,332 off a new Volkswagen Arteon. Savings were also available in Nissan Qashqai models, the UK’s best-selling car in 2022.

The average cash discount across all makes and models ahead of the plate-change is 4%, or £1875 per car. 

Certain models purchased via Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) finance can end up costing buyers less compared with if they bought it outright with cash, thanks to generous deposit contributions from manufacturers.

For example, buyers opting for a Fiat 500 1.0 Mild Hybrid can save 7.3% on the list price when buying via PCP finance, thanks to a £2,900 deposit contribution from dealers. And the Ford Ecosport 1.0 Ecoboost 125 Titanium is available with a 4.8% saving over the list price, thanks to a £1,250 deposit contribution.

What Car? editor Steve Huntingford said: “The March plate-change is typically the busiest time for the industry, and even with high energy costs for manufacturers, it’s clear there are some great offers to be had on popular new models.

“After months of limited discounts in the face of short supply, it's great to see a buyer's market returning. What Car?'s Target Price team constantly mystery shops the market to keep track of the latest discounts and highlight them to Britain's car buyers.” 

New car registrations got off to a good start in 2023, with 131,994 new cars sold in January. It marks an uplift of 14.7%, although the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) warns that the market remains "fragile".

The latest SMMT forecasts predict an 11.1% market uplift in 2023 to 1.79 million registrations 

Cox Automotive predicts that new car registrations will increase by 6% in 2023 to 1.71 million.

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