Dealers were expecting September new car registrations to be down and the majority of manufacturers have adjusted targets, according to ASE.
This paints a very different picture than that presented by the SMMT, which said September’s 8.8% drop in private registrations and overall drop of 9.3% was “cause for considerable concern”.
If that’s the case, it appears manufacturers have already turned their attention to Q1’s targets rather than adjusting retail campaigns for the next quarter.
Jeep and Fiat saw the biggest loss in registrations in September, at 57.5% and 42.22%, respectively, so reduced Q4 targets may help dealers batten down the hatches.
There’s a 0% deal on the Cherokee at £299 a month and while Fiat doesn’t have any particularly low-rate finance offers for Q4, almost all cars will cost customers under £200 a month.
If dealers are looking to grasp at some positivity before Christmas, Andrew Bailey, the head of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has said car finance offers are in his opinion not “per se bad”.
Mike Jones, ASE chairman, told AM: “The numbers for September were broadly expected. A downturn had been forecast.
“Dealers knew the market would be softening and have adjusted their business plans accordingly.” This means a much greater focus on used cars and aftersales in the winter months.
Jones said manufacturers are not looking to push volume through the UK and have gone through target reductions with networks. This should mean that lower new car sales won’t necessarily mean lower profits, if the dealers can hit the reduced targets in Q4.
He said: “There’s not a huge flood of money coming in to support Q4 campaigns either. There are scrappage deals, but that is largely using existing funds, maybe with a little bit more.
“There may be more money on the table for Q1 and we’re currently waiting to see what the targets are going to be for that period.”
AM’s finance offer data for Q4 does show some potential confusion for dealers and consumers in Q4, with some manufacturers offering deals that do not even run until the end of October on some models, while others run until the end of December.
Dealers will be used to campaigns changing mid-quarter, but it adds further complexity to what is an already complex web of marketing campaigns and offers. Ford stands out in particular, with deals on high-volume models such as the Fiesta and Focus only running until the end of October before switching over to the next quarter’s campaign. However, there are still some strong 0% deals available to tempt customers.
Some manufacturers are yet to even update offers online. While dealers may have details of what’s on offer for Q4, at the time of going to press, consumers researching online wouldn’t be able to find up-to-date deals from Citroën, DS, Peugeot, Kia or Seat. Another manufacturer did upload offers, but accidently dated them to start in January and end in March 2018.
Is this a sign of manufacturers writing off Q4 as a lost cause and fixating on the next feast of the March plate-change in Q1?
BMW certainly isn’t letting up in its pursuit of market share. BMW was leading the fight in the German premium sector in September with 6.94%, but Mercedes-Benz is close behind at 6.81% and Audi at 6.62%. BMW’s offers online show considerable money being thrown at popular models.
In most cases, BMW will almost match a customer’s deposit contribution with £3,629 for the 1 Series, £5,648 for the 3 Series and £6,642 for the 5 Series. The core model range is largely affordable with deals under £300 across 48 months.
|Model||Finance type||Deposit||Term||Monthly payment||Final payment||APR||Offer ends|
|116d Sport 5-Door||PCP||£4,465||48||£199||£8,307.43||4.9%||31/12/2017|
|216d Sport Gran Tourer||PCP||£4,741.40||48||£259.24||£9,611.68||2.9%||31/12/2017|
|216d Sport Active Tourer||PCP||£4,710.13||48||£269.24||£9,017.83||2.90%||31/12/2017|
|218d M Sport Coupé||PCP||£4,759.09||48||£279||£10,971.43||3.90%||31/12/2017|
|320d M Sport Saloon||PCP||£6,239||48||£279||£10,619.93||1.90%||31/12/2017|
|320d M Sport Touring||PCP||£6,356.99||48||£289||£10,916.85||1.9%||31/12/2017|
|420d M Sport Gran Coupé||PCP||£7,177.73||48||£309.31||£12,663.25||2.9%||31/12/2017|
|520d M Sport Saloon||PCP||£6,689||48||£289.34||£15,327.25||2.9%||31/12/2017|
|520d M Sport Touring||PCP||£7,695.57||48||£359||£16,100.55||2.9%||31/12/2017|
|640d M Sport Coupé||PCP||£11,902.32||48||£419||£16,937.69||0.0%||31/12/2017|
|730d M Sport Saloon||PCP||£9,999||48||£499||£21,920.65||0.0%||31/12/2017|
|X1 xDrive18d M Sport||PCP||£5,900||48||£368.37||£13,365.33||5.9%||31/12/2017|
|X3 xDrive 20d M Sport||PCP||£7,153.24||48||£398.20||£18,918.10||5.9%||31/12/2017|
|X6 xDrive30d M Sport||PCP||£9,839||48||£587.94||£23,561.60||5.9%||31/12/2017|
|X5 xDrive30d M Sport||PCP||£9,439||48||£637.91||£23,481.13||5.9%||31/12/2017|
|i3 with Range Extender||PCP||£6,497.30||48||£328.69||£11,735.94||1.3%||31/12/2017|
|Fiesta Titanium 1.0 EcoBoost 100PS 5 Door||PCP||£4,558.33||35||£175||£6,769||1.2%||31/10/2017|
|B-Max Titanium Navigator 1.0 EcoBoost 100PS||PCP||£5,733||36||£169||£5,423||0.0%||31/12/2017|
|EcoSport Titanium S 1.0 EcoBoost 125PS petrol||PCP||£5,928||48||£149||£5,360||0.00%||31/12/2017|
|Focus Titanium 1.0 EcoBoost 100PS||PCP||£5,124||36||£199||£6,672||0.00%||31/10/2017|
|Focus ST-3 2.0 EcoBoost 250PS||PCP||£6,749||36||£229||£11,997||0.00%||31/10/2017|
|C-Max Zetec 1.5 TDCi 120PS||PCP||£6,976||36||£199||£6,729||0.0%||31/12/2017|
|Grand C-Max Zetec 1.0 EcoBoost 125PS||PCP||£7,175||36||£209||£6,920||0.0%||31/12/2017|
|Kuga Titanium 1.5 TDCi 120PS FWD||PCP||£7,452||36||£219||£9,528||0.0%||31/10/2017|
|S-Max Titanium 2.0 TDCi 150PS||PCP||£8,284||36||£249||£10,442||0.0%||31/12/2017|
|Galaxy Titanium X 2.0 TDCi 150PS||PCP||£11,325||36||£265||£11,975||0.0%||31/12/2017|
|Edge Titanium 2.0 Duratorq TDCi 180PS||PCP||£9,797||36||£249||£14,629||0.0%||31/12/2017|
|Ranger Wildtrak 3.2 TDCi 200PS||PCP||£9,696.63||36||£299||£11,854||0.0%||31/12/2017|
|Renegade longitude 1.6 Multijet ii 120hp 4x2 manual||PCP||£2,359||48||£289||£6,340||4.2%||31/12/2017|
|Cherokee limited 2.2 Multijet ii 200hp 4x4 9 speed automatic (active drive i)||PCP||£5,449||48||£299||£10,583||0.0%||31/12/2017|
|Grand Cherokee srt 6.4 V8 automatic||PCP||£6,274||37||£799||£23,817||0.00%||31/12/2017|
|500 Lounge 1.2 69hp||PCP||£1,035||48||£179||£4,214||4.2%||31/12/2017|
|500X Pop 1.6 E-Torq 110hp||PCP||£3,067||48||£179||£3,729||5.4%||31/12/2017|
|500L 1.4 Pop Star 2018||PCP||£2,189||48||£199||£3,962||5.90%||31/12/2017|
|Tipo Wagon Easy 1.4 95hp||PCP||£248||48||£248||£4,210||5.90%||31/12/2017|
|Panda Easy 1.2 69hp||PCP||£1,219||48||£139||£2,241||6.70%||31/12/2017|