New car buyers can save more than 20% on new cars ahead of the March number plate change, according to What Car? research.
Analysis of the consumer magazine's Target Price mystery shopper data found the average cash discount on a new car is 6.78% or £2,773 in February – the highest since last November.
What Car? said offers on some popular models exceed 20% as retailers look to boost sales ahead of the March plate change month.
The research found BMW is offering the biggest savings on its 5 Series, with a 21.42% cash offer, while the Volkswagen Passat can be had with a 20.51% discount.
The Renault Kadjar and Nissan’s Qashqai are both available with savings of more than 19%. All discounts are guaranteed for buyers who use What Car?’s online New Car Buying platform.
According to the research, buyers opting for a new diesel model stand to save more than 7%, while new petrol models are offered with 6.78% savings. Electric vehicles (EVs) attract on average 4.27% discounts from retailers, up significantly from February last year where they stood at 2.92%.
Seat was the only manufacturer found to offer savings exceeding 10%, with an average cash discount of 13.78% across the model line-up, followed by Renault (9.94%) and Volkswagen (9.66%). Premium manufacturers, including Volvo (7.77%) and Audi (7.38%) were also among the top 10 brands for new car discounts.
Consumer confidence among in-market buyers is three times higher than during the UK's first COVID-19 lockdown during H1 2020, a What Car? survey found.
What Car?’s findings follow the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) announcement in January that new car registrations had fallen by 39.5% in comparison to last year, with the industry hampered by showroom closures due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Steve Huntingford, editor at What Car?, said: “With showrooms closed, online retail is helping drive sales at the moment.
“Our latest analysis shows 45% of new car buyers say they would be comfortable buying their next car entirely online, and retailers are clearly looking to attract buyers through generous discounts.
"There are great deals to be had on new cars, even if buyers can’t head to the showrooms just yet.”