Desperate car firms offer mega-discounts

Just out are the latest sales figures for new cars. And they prove that some manufacturers are struggling to survive, while others are doing quite nicely, ta very much.

Why should you care? Because a car firm whose sales are massively down is a car firm that should - and very often does - offer the largest discounts. Sometimes a company might tear up its official price lists, as Citroen does from time to time. Occasionally a manufacturer will do a Skoda and waive the VAT. And those corporations who don't want to be seen to be price-cutting will quietly give their dealers the freedom and financial flexibility to offer big discounts on the showroom floor.

So who's desperate to move the metal at the minute, so that stockpiles can be reduced and much-needed cash can start rolling in? Well, on the basis that Chrysler sales in the first 10 months of 2009 are 57 per cent down on the same period last year, its dealers are suffering more than most. Chrysler's sister firms Jeep (down 47 per cent) and Dodge
(-36 per cent) are doing almost as badly. So if you can find an official or unofficial dealer who's still trying to sell these American motors, feel free to make him an offer he can't refuse

Luxury and sports car makers such as Bentley (-53 per cent), Saab (-52), Daimler (-41), Cadillac (-36), Lotus (-30), Lexus (-29) and Aston Martin (-28) are having to play the mega price-cutting game game too. And nobody in their right mind should touch a thirsty 4X4 from Hummer (-72) unless it came with a colossal discount.

Of the mass-producers of modest motors, Daihatsu (-52 per cent), Renault (-40), Proton (-38), Mitsubishi (-36), Subaru (-31) and Vauxhall
(-22) are having a particularly hard time.

If you're interested in a new car from any of these makers, politely remind them and their dealers that you know their sales are massively down and therefore you expect big discounts and/or zero per cent finance plus free servicing. Alternatively, really push your luck and offer to pay full list price for that new car you fancy - but only on condition that you get another one thrown in. Believe me, in some new car showrooms in 2009, Buy One Get One Free (BOGOF) deals are not out of the question. And with Christmas coming up, that spare, shiny, freebie motor will could be the perfect present for your partner, adult son or daughter, or even your mistress or toy boy!