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Carmakers cut equipment to justify price reductions


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Vauxhall is offering spring reductions on a range of vehicles. Club, Expression and SXi models benefit from the cuts, with the greatest savings to be made on the 1.6-litre Club Vectra – down £1,240 – and Zafira – down £1,000. Corsa customers can save £965 on the 1.2-litre SXi, now £8,995, while the 1-litre Expression model is reduced by £500 to £6,995. The offers run until June.

Peugeot has revealed prices and trim levels for the 307. Four engines will be available from launch this month, three petrol units – 1.4, 1.6 and 2-litre capacities – and a 90bhp 2-litre HDi turbo-diesel. Five different trim levels will be offered on the range that costs between £10,890 for a 3dr 1.4 Style to £15,560 for the 5dr XSi. Two further diesels, a 1.4 HDi and 110bhp 2-litre, will be available from June.

Audi has cut the price of the diesel A2 by £500, bringing the base model down to £13,605 and the SE to £15,555. The premium over the petrol model – both produce 75bhp – was originally £1,000, which was proving a sales deterrent.

Volvo has launched a well-specified Torslanda version of the V70 aimed at the retail customer. At £20,500, £1,760 less than the 2.4S, it loses the more expensive model's alloy wheels and CD player.

MG Rover's fastest ever MGF, the Trophy 160, is on sale now priced £20,995. The £1,500 premium over the VVC model gives buyers an additional 15bhp, lower, harder sports suspension, a sports exhaust, AP Racing brakes and front/rear spoilers. ABS brakes are not part of the package, but will be offered soon. A 1.6-litre entry model joins the range priced £15,500, £1,500 less than the 1.8. It means MG Rover will, for the first time, offer a direct competitor to Mazda's entry-level MX-5.

Skoda has launched its most powerful production model to date. The Octavia RS uses the VW group's 1.8-litre turbo-charged engine producing 180bhp. It will be available from May 12 priced £15,100. In addition to the extra power, buyers get sports suspension, RS body styling, ABS, traction control, electronic brake distribution and sports seats.

Potential customers have the opportunity to put down a £25,000 deposit on the forthcoming Mercedes-Benz Maybach and SLR. Standard and long-wheel base versions of the Maybach luxury saloon are to be offered in the UK from 2003 with entry prices in excess of £200,000. The SLR, which will be built in the UK by McLaren, will be powered by an AMG-tuned 5.5-litre supercharged V8 and priced between £240,000 and £260,000. Mercedes plans to build 500 cars a year, all left-hand drive. Mercedes has also launched three special editions of the 12-year-old SL. The first two are based around the 2.8 and 3.2-litre engines, and get special paint, leather and wood, plus 18-inch alloys. Prices range from £51,190 to £54,340, premiums of £1,500 to £2,000. The third special edition, the £68,940 Silver Arrow, is derived from the £5,000 cheaper SL500, and adds silver paintwork, and lots of silver and chrome-sheen trim inside and out.

The Bristol Fighter sports car will be priced £175,000, when it goes on sale at the end of the year. Bristol will produce 20 of the 525bhp V10 engined cars a year, with the first year of production already pre-sold.

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