OPINION: Offer open season

Time 13 years ago

35234isu.jpgSEPTEMBER is a crunch month for car makers. And thus, is turning into the month of the special offer.

Many manufacturers seem to be running headline-grabbing September-only incentive campaigns, all with the intent of shifting metal. Some of the deals really are eye-watering.

Chevrolet is a value brand. Yet it’s also able to offer £2,375 off a 1.4 Kalos 5dr, reducing it to just £6,995. £1000 off the Matiz 1.0 SE plunges it to £5,995, too.

But significantly, the offer only runs from 11-30 September. Buyers ordering after that date will lose out.

Renault has been running ‘Le Cheque’, which has actually already ended. This was a cashback deal, giving £1000 to Clio buyers, £2000 to Megane buyers and £3000 to those choosing a Scenic.

Citroen has a raft of September 0 per cent finance offers, up to four years in length. There is also the usual blister of cashback offers – £2400 on a C4 1.4 LX 5dr takes it down to £9995, for example, but there’s also £2700 on C3s and a dramatic £5500 on Xsara Picassos.

(Could this, incidentally, make the ageing MPV an oddly attractive buy for credit-crunched buyers?)

Honda’s on the offer run, too. The company’s ‘first ever sales event’ has been widely advertised on TV, but you have to go to dealers to find out specifics. There is lots to attract: £3044 off a Civic Type R GT, taking it to £15,996, was the boast of one Bristol dealer.

Fellow Japanese maker Suzuki is, from 10-30 Sept, doing 0 per cent finance on the new SX2, priced from £9995. The SX4 and Grand Vitara are promotioned, too – and three years’ road tax is also thrown in, too. Just the thing to ally fears of SUV VED meltdown…

Even Volkswagen is at it. The maker’s offers are well hidden on its website, but realise that ‘orange’ prices are special deals, and you’ll see incentives on most models from Fox to Phaeton. The idea of a brand-new £11,995 Golf has some appeal, even if it is being imminently replaced. And so it continues.

So why are makers doing it? To get stock shifting, and to manage incentive schemes. Everything is geared for September – so, by introducing dramatic money-saving schemes for car buyers, manufacturers can ensure all the cars their factories have earmarked for them start to shift.

It’s even more crucial this year, given how bad August was. Cars have to keep flowing, and with grim summer months stemming that flow, the market has to be woken up. A big splash for September is many makers’ way of doing this.

It, hopefully, should help clear the decks for the final quarter of the year. Help make things a bit more stable. Only 10 days into October, when the monthly trading results are out, will we know for sure.

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