FT reviews UK car sales

Time 13 years ago

FT reviews UK car salesDISCOUNTS of nearly a half on volume brand new cars made page 3 of the Financial Times this weekend.

The paper carried an in-depth analysis of the situation faced by UK car dealers – using a saving of £6898 on a Citroen Xsara Picasso as its headline

That equates to a discount of 46 per cent.


The paper says these prices represent real-term levels ‘unseen in many years’.

It explained that premium makers in particular are resorting to discount tactics. Brands such as Porsche, Bentley and Rolls-Royce are clearing their inventories.

This is due to the ‘newly jobless or financially strapped bankers and company directors cancelling their orders’.

The page 3 story reported that, as new car sales fell to their lowest monthly level since 1980, specialist dealer Tom Hartley Snr said ‘the first thing that goes when people get in trouble is the toys’.

‘It’s almost giveaway time,’ added What Car? Editor, Steve Fowler.

It’s not something RV-conscious car makers are keen to do. They ‘are reluctant to advertise steep up-front discounts for cars sold through their franchised dealers’.

‘However, car buyers intent on cutting deals are finding dealers very wiling to bargain.’

The consensus is, the larger the car, the bigger the discount. Cars priced below £8000 still sell well, said the FT.

Used car prices are falling too, reports Glass’s. And while financing is readily available for ‘squeaky clean’ applicants, managing editor Adrian Rushmore said this could change in 2009.

Dealers have told the FT that car companies’ financing arms face a worsening drought of credit, and may begin to pull back on loans.

The only upside, summarised the FT, was for those with the cash in the bank to spend. Such ‘canny’ people should go against seemingly ‘irrational’ behaviours – and splash out on that Porsche.

By Richard Aucock

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