Almost brand-new 70-plate cars are being sold with huge discounts by car dealers struggling to meet targets, with some offering tens of thousands of pounds off the price of pre-registered cars.
September is usually a strong month for the new car market as buyers look to grab a new car at plate-change time but this year was a disaster for car dealers, with new registrations slumping to a 10-year low. Registrations were down 4.4 per cent in September, following a 5.8 per cent drop in August. Just 328,000 new cars were registered in the UK - nearly 16 per cent lower than the average for September over the last 10 years.
As dealers struggled to meet registration targets set by manufacturers, many pre-registered cars, which they are now having to sell as second-hand despite some having barely turned a wheel.
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Figures from online car supermarket BuyaCar show that some dealers are already offering up to £30,000 off the list price of 70-plate cars, with savings of between 28 and 41 per cent.
Buyers in the market for an Audi or Volvo are particularly well served, with savings of between 35 and 41 per cent on the Audi A5 coupe and Audi A8 luxury saloon. The A8 represents the biggest cash saving, with as much as £29,910 off a £72,310 list price. Customers can also save 30 per cent - or £13,000 - on a 70-plate Volvo V90, with similar savings on the rival Jaguar XF Sportbrake.
Lesser but still significant savings of between £6,000 and £8,250 can be found on pre-registered Skoda Octavias and Peugeot 308 SWs.
“Dealers always offer discounts on new cars that have been registered to meet targets and run by staff or used as demonstrators, but this year discounts are appearing in substantial numbers especially early,” said Christofer Lloyd, editor of BuyaCar.
“Some of these cars have as little as five or 10 miles on the clock with savings of almost a third but it isn’t just the big savings that will appeal to drivers. These cars are available to buy immediately, when in most cases a new car has to be ordered before it is built. That can sometimes mean waiting several months to get behind the wheel, even if you have been able to negotiate a discount at all.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the UK car market. With dealerships forced to close for three months, new registrations fell by as much as 97 per cent and the SMMT estimates that the market will have declined by 30 per cent by the end of 2020, equivalent to £21 billion in lost sales.