Are new car discounts out for the count?

A boom in new car sales is making it harder for motorists to negotiate discounts on their vehicles, according to new research from WhatCar? While it was easy enough to get more than 10% off the price 12 months ago, the typical markdown now is just 8.9%. That means the average new car buyer is paying more than £200 more for the same make and model than they would have done this time last year. And the bad news is that discounts look likely to carry on shrinking as long as sales figures remain strong. Jim Holder, What Car? editor, said: “Dealers need to turn a profit and, while demand remains high due to strong consumer confidence, they feel able to stand firm. “A reduction in average discounts from £2,564 to £2,360 might not sound a lot, but it’s been a steady trend for a number of months now and consumers will have to get used to it.”

How to get the best deal

The fact that discounts are falling does not mean you will not get a good deal on a new car.It just means that you might have to work a bit harder to get the price down. Here are some top tips for getting the best deal in the current market:

  • Shop around – if one dealership is proving difficult to negotiate with, try one in the next town. Travelling a few extra miles will be more than worth it if you manage to get another few hundred quid off
  • Go big – the biggest discounts around at the moment are available on estate, executive and luxury models, on all of which you should still be able to get at least 10% off
  • Haggle for extras – discounts are not all about cold, hard cash. You might find it easier to negotiate an interior upgrade or some extra options, or maybe just a full tank of fuel, rather than more money off
  • Wait a couple of months – even with discounts falling, prices should drop towards the end of August if you are happy to miss out on the September plate change (and help a dealer clear space for new plate cars on the forecourt)

Holder added: “Our advice, as always, is to shop around and negotiate the best discount possible, not only in cash but in terms of options too.”

What about finance?

Not got £20,000 in the bank to buy a new car outright? You are not alone. Finance agreements of some kind were used to fund the purchase of three quarters of new cars bought last year. You’ll need a shipshape credit report to be accepted for credit, though. Lisa Hardstaff at credit reference agency Equifax said: “When someone applies for a car loan the lender will consider the individual’s credit history before making a decision. “So it’s worth checking your credit information well in advance of heading to the car showroom.” The three main agencies in the UK are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can find details about your credit file via their respective websites.

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