New car buyers need to move fast to grab discounts, says consumer expert

New car buyers are being advised to move quickly if they still want a discount on their next vehicle as the backlog of demand is expected to outstrip supply following the Covid-19 crisis.

According to data analysis by WhatCar?, manufacturers are expected to react to a fresh wave of vehicle demand by reducing the number of offers and discounts available on new cars.

It follows on from government news that dealers are now allowed to sell and deliver vehicles remotely in the UK, prompting an increase in online leads for dealers.

And though manufacturers are now gradually beginning to resume production, much of the supply of new vehicles will rely on existing stocks.

Pat Hoy, who heads What Car?’s team of mystery shoppers that establish and analyse the Target Price it recommends buyers to aim for, said: “While the market is frozen, dealers that remained open have been nurturing leads, making it harder to get a clear indication of what their plans are for when business opens up again. But the clear expectation is that, as soon as demand outstrips supply, they will look to reduce incentives and discounts and focus on profitability.

“Of course, there will be variables within that. Some manufacturers will sacrifice profit for market share but the likelihood is that most buyers will face the double whammy of discounts narrowing and waiting lists extending as soon as the market opens up.”

WhatCar? analysis of discounts found that in the first three months of 2020 up to the start of lockdown Citroen was offering the best deals with an average of 16 per cent available off the price of a new car. This was followed by Nissan, Skoda and Mercedes with discounts of 14, 12 and 11 per cent respectively.