Deals on new cars flat-line – but savvy shoppers can still save an average of £2,500

  • Big price cuts available even though average savings have remained static over the last quarter
  • Deals on electric cars worsen over the last three months while diesel savings grow
  • DS (13.06%) and Seat (12.98%) offer biggest average savings to consumers by brand
  • Porsche and Dacia are bottom of the list when it comes to discounts off list prices

 Consumers have been able to secure an average saving of 8.3% off a new car over the last three months (March-May), according to a What Car? Target Price report.

Analysis by mystery shoppers across 7,500 new cars on sale today, found an average achievable discount of £2,581 on the manufacturer list price, with just 218 models recording no savings whatsoever.

What Car? Target Price calculates the fair price consumers should pay when choosing their next car. The data is now a central part of the What Car? New Car Buying tool linking consumers to trusted dealers nationwide.

The report – which runs from the new 18-plate in March to May – reveals that, although UK buyers can still net a saving, discounts have actually flat-lined across the market despite new car sales falling by 6.8% in 2018, with 1,079,049 sold so far[1].

As you would expect, dealers who are struggling with a 30.6% fall in diesel sales in 2018[1], are offering the equivalent of an extra £888 (8.8% compared with 7.9%) off the list price compared with their petrol equivalents.

At the same time, deals offered on plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles were down by an average of 2.1% over the quarter – as sales of alternatively-fuelled vehicles have increased year-on-year by 36.1%[1].

French prestige brand DS tops the chart for money off by car brand with an average discount of 13.06% on models such as the DS 3 and DS 5, followed by Seat with 12.98% savings on its popular Ibiza, Arona and Ateca models.

Volume sellers Ford and Volkswagen also appear in the most lucrative offers list with 10.39% and 11.54% What Car? Target Price discounts, respectively, on popular models such as the Fiesta, Focus and Golf.

The single biggest discount on offer is 25.44% off a Seat Toledo. That’s the equivalent of paying £12,434 against a list price of £16,675. The top 10 discounts also include everything from the Seat Mii city car to the BMW 7 Series luxury saloon.

At the opposite end of the table, Porsche (0%) and Dacia (0.96%) offer little manoeuvre when it comes to getting money off the list price.

Steve Huntingford, Editor of What Car?, said: “It’s an interesting marketplace for anyone looking to buy a new car at the moment. As demand for diesels continues to wane, deals on electric cars have actually started to shrink since March. However, even though overall discounts have flat-lined, our Target Price data shows some manufacturers are still fighting hard for your money with big discounts.

“The discount slowdown could be a sign that dealers are holding off on offering their best deals until new models are introduced later this year to meet tough new emissions standards. Buyers should continue to check our regularly updated Target Price guide to see when is best to sign on the dotted line.”

Buyers can secure these discounts using What Car? New Car Buying service, which features the best deals based on the car they want and their geographical location, saving them time, money and the hassle of haggling.

Q1 (March to May): Top 10/Bottom 10 manufacturer discounts

 OEMAv cash discount
 OEMAv cash discount
4MG 2.79%
5Land Rover3.91%

Top 10 model discounts (May 2018)

 ModelSpecOTR PriceTarget PriceDiscount
1Seat Toledo1.0 TSI 110 SE£16,675£12,43425.44%
2Fiat Punto1.2 Pop+ 5dr£11,900£8,90025.21%
3Volvo S60T4 [190] SE Nav [Leather]£28,500£22,08522.51%
4BMW 7 Series750i£79,175£61,35822.50%
5Volkswagen Passat1.4 TSI S 4dr£22,030£17,12922.25%
6Mercedes-Benz SL400 AMG Line 9G-Tronic£76,985£59,90422.19%
7Seat Mii1.0 Design Mii 5dr£10,560£8,40820.38%
8Volvo V60D3 [150] SE Nav [Leather]£31,210£24,87020.31%
9Ford Focus1.0 Ecoboost Titanium Navigation 5dr£21,540£17,30519.66%
10Volkswagen Golf SV1.5 TSI 150 GT EVO DSG£27,575£22,42518.68%


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