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Deals on wheels: Misery in the motor industry means you can save thousands buying a new car, says RAY MASSEY

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 11/01/2019 Ray Massey for the Daily Mail
© Getty

During a miserable week for the UK motor industry, there is at least one silver lining — if you're looking to buy a new car. Follow a canny strategy and you can save thousands of pounds.

UK car sales slumped by 6.8 per cent overall in 2018 and by nearly a third for diesels, according to this week's figures. 

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What's more, thousands of job cuts at Jaguar and Ford may mean misery for car-makers and dealers. But it spells huge opportunities for those looking to bag a new car.

a blue car parked in the grass: Grab a bargain: Big discounts are available on cars such as the VW Golf. UK car sales slumped by 6.8 per cent overall in 2018 and by nearly a third for diesels, according to this week's figures © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Grab a bargain: Big discounts are available on cars such as the VW Golf. UK car sales slumped by 6.8 per cent overall in 2018 and by nearly a third for diesels, according to this week's figures

That's because car firms are desperate to shift stock and are giving dealerships big incentives. 

These are essentially cash inducements from manufacturers that allow dealers to offer big discounts so they can meet their sales targets. So it's up to you to haggle hard.

And you can often get a better deal towards the end of the month, too — as a dealer may be just a few cars short of hitting a target — and will therefore be willing to cut the price further.

A perfect storm of factors is blamed for the sales drop: uncertainty surrounding Brexit; the Volkswagen 'dieselgate' scandal; the demonisation of diesel when engines are improving; and delays of new models caused by a new emissions testing system.

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What Car? editor Steve Huntingford said: 'Dealers are incentivised to sell a certain number of cars every month. So there are offers to be had.'

The What Car? Target Price gives an indication of how much discount buyers should expect off the list-price of each model.

For example, if you are looking at a Volvo V60 2-litre D4 (190) Momentum five-door automatic with a list price of £34,960, expect a cut of £3,069 to £31,891, about 9 per cent discount. 

If you're seeking a Ford Focus 1.5 Ecoboost 150 Titanium 5-door hatchback priced £22,400, expect a saving of £1,662 down to £20,738, a cut of about 7 per cent. For a Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI EVO Match hatchback costing £22,400, expect to save £1,764.

a person in a red car: You can often get a better deal towards the end of the month, too — as a dealer may be just a few cars short of hitting a target — and will therefore be willing to cut the price further © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited You can often get a better deal towards the end of the month, too — as a dealer may be just a few cars short of hitting a target — and will therefore be willing to cut the price further

A Skoda Superb 1.5 TSI Sportline DSG costing £29,660 should be available for £27,065 — a saving of £2,595.

And for a BMW 118i (1.5)M Sport costing £26,530, What Car? says the target price should be £24,487, giving a saving of £2,043.

For a Kia Ceed 1.4T GDi iSG 3-door hatch at £21,505 expect to pay £20,214, a saving of £1,291.

Top ten biggest sellers in 2018 were the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Golf, Vauxhall Corsa, Nissan Qashqai, Ford Focus, Volkswagen Polo, MINI, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Ford Kuga and Kia Sportage.

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James Hind, chief executive of car sales website of carwow ( www.carwow.co.uk ) said: 'For consumers, the first quarter of 2019 is going to be a great time to buy a brand new car because of Brexit. Manufacturers are lining up with new offers and finance packages, keen to make the most of consumer appetite as the Brexit deadline approaches.

'Many, including SEAT, Skoda, Honda and Vauxhall have January-only offers in order to kick start the year and put 2018 behind them.'

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) this week showed that in 2018 overall car sales fell from 2.540m to 2.367m – a drop of nearly 174,000 cars leaving UK showrooms – during '12 months of turbulence', with a further decline expected this year.

How much money could you save on your car?   
ModelTarget PriceSaving
Volvo V60 2.0 D4 [190] Momentum 5dr Auto£31,891£3,069
Skoda Superb 1.5 TSI Sport Line 5dr DSG£27,065£2,595
BMW 118i [1.5] M Sport 5dr [Nav/Servotronic]£24,487£2,043
Lexus CT 200h 1.8 F-Sport 5dr CVT [Prem Nav]£26,454£1,921
Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI EVO Match 5dr Hatch£20,476£1,764
Ford Focus 1.5 EcoBoost 150 Titanium 5dr Hatch£20,738£1,662
Toyota Auris 1.2T Icon TSS 5dr Hatch£19,003£1,517
Kia Ceed 1.4T GDi ISG 3 5dr Hatch£20,214£1,291
Source: What Car

Even more significantly, around 350,000 fewer diesels were sold in 2018 compared to the previous year as numbers dropped from 1.066million to just over 750,000 but failed to be off-set by rises in petrol and 'green' electric cars.

Petrol car sales increased by 8.7 per cent and account for 62.3 per cent of sales, up from 53.4% last year.

And although electric car sales increased by a fifth (21.9%) to 141,270, they still account for only 6% of all cars sold last year. 

Diesels now account for under a third of sales (31.7%) compared to 42% last year as current diesel owners adopt a 'wait and see' approach and keep hold of their older and more polluting diesels for longer.

But SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: 'More than 80 exciting new generation models – 31 of them pug-in electric cars – are set to make their showroom debuts in 2019, and with some compelling deals on offer the industry is continuing to invest to grow the market, despite the headwinds.'

Little Suzuki is big on residual value

a blue truck parked in front of a car © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

Suzuki's new Jimny compact SUV will retain more than half its value after three years and 60,000 miles of driving, rising to 61 per cent if fewer than 36,000 miles are on the clock, according to residual value firm CAP Automotive.

Suzuki said of its 4X4 priced from £15,499: 'This places the new Jimny up in the supercar league for retained value.'

Limits to self-driving technology

The self-driving car industry received a long-overdue reality check at the high-tech Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

Autonomous cars will never be able to drive in the worst conditions, says head of Google's self-driving vehicle arm Waymo. 

John Krafcik says self-driving cars are 'truly here', but it will be decades before they are widespread. 

a car parked in front of a building: Google, which began work on autonomous technology in 2009, last year bought 20,000 electric I-Pace Jaguars in a deal worth £1.2 billion for its self-drive trials in Phoenix, Arizona © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Google, which began work on autonomous technology in 2009, last year bought 20,000 electric I-Pace Jaguars in a deal worth £1.2 billion for its self-drive trials in Phoenix, Arizona

'Autonomy will always have some constraints,' he told technology news website CNET. 

'It's really, really hard. You don't know what you don't know until you're in there and trying to do things.'

The firm, which began work on autonomous technology in 2009, last year bought 20,000 electric I-Pace Jaguars in a deal worth £1.2 billion for its self-drive trials in Phoenix, Arizona.

However, its self-drive mini-vans have been attacked and vandalised by some residents angry at the number of self-drive cars in their area.

Diesel not dead yet

© Getty

Don't dismiss diesel. For motorists doing high mileage, diesels are often the best option, with tests showing that the most efficient diesels are cleaner than some petrol engines.

Perversely, the slump in diesel sales means that emissions of CO2 — the greenhouse gas — have risen for the past two years. That's because diesel engines produce between 15 and 20 per cent less CO2.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) noted: 'Anti-diesel rhetoric and negative fiscal measures took their toll.'

Related: Greatest cars of the 1960's [AutoClassics]

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