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Car manufacturers seek jump start with 2018 finance offers

Following disappointing performances in 2017, the first quarter of this year is a chance for dealers to dust themselves off and push forward for what is likely to be another challenging 12 months.

AM’s finance offer data shows that of the 36 brands whose representative examples were collated, 10 are changing their offers at the end of January in the run up to the March plate-change.

Manufacturers are still trying to alleviate the current swing away from diesel with the continuation of scrappage schemes until the end of Q1.

Volume brands’ registrations took the brunt of 2017 losses, with Vauxhall swallowing a drop of 22.2%. AM will look at Vauxhall’s incentives in the next issue as they are due to be updated in February in the run-up to plate-change.

Fiat’s 2017 fall was even more dramatic, with registrations down by 26.6% in 2017. While it doesn’t have 0% deals for Q1, deposit levels across the model range have been kept low and every example shown is below £300 a month.

It’s always interesting to keep track of Ford’s plan, as it’s the largest player by volume in the UK.

Ford has 0% deals across its entire model range  in Q1 and customers can drive any model for under £270 a month. That’s a pretty clear proposition for any customer considering a new car on PCP.

Seat was the success story of last year, with 18.3% growth, but again, its deals are not due to be updated until January 22.

Mercedes-Benz also had a strong year in 2017, with growth of 6.6%. While the German premium brand has only slightly adjusted the APR rate from 5.1% down to 5% year-on-year for its Q1 offers, the monthly payments have been reduced on core models to make them more affordable, such as the A-Class (£299 down to £199 this year), B-Class (£309 down slightly to £299) and C-Class (£355 down to £299).

Looking across the board, Volkswagen is offering an extra £500 deposit contribution until the end of January, Seat is discounting by £1,000, Kia is offering free servicing on SUVs and Renault and Vauxhall are both offering reductions to kick sales off to a good start.

Alex Rose, Carwow’s head of trading, said some manufacturers were doing some fast-start stock clearing in January and the business had noted greater finance incentives on diesel products and SUVs in particular.

This may be to help convince customers with concerns about the state of diesel in the future.

The incentives on offer from BMW in particular differ by as much as £3,000 between petrol and diesel equivalent products on certain models and trims.

Manufacturers doing the same on selected models include Jaguar, Mercedes, Vauxhall, Mitsubishi and Ford. The difference, diesel vs petrol, can be as low as £500 or it can be more than £3,000.

Manufacturers are also increasing deposit contributions on SUVs and crossovers.

This has been the case on: Mazda CX-5, Mercedes GLC, Volvo XC60, Kia Niro, Audi Q2, Kia Stonic, Mercedes GLA, Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLE. Two new models, the Vauxhall Grandland X and VW Tiguan Allspace, have four-figure finance incentives more or less from launch.

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