New Car Prices Are Frozen At Summer 2003 Levels

There has rarely been a better time to buy a new car as we edge into 2005 - prices today are frozen at the same level as in June 2003. The surprise findings are published in today’s What Car? Car Price Index, the influential and independent tracker of new and used car values.

According to the Index, the cost of new cars has fallen during four of the past five months. The average new car now costs 0.5% less than a month ago and What Car? predicts further falls ahead.

Sales to private customers are down 4% in 2004 compared with 2003, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. That means that buyers are now in the driving seat. In a market where prices are already falling, car dealers should be very keen to secure your business and offer further discounts. It’s a good combination.

Over the past month alone, city car prices have dropped by 2.4% and family cars have become 2.3% cheaper. In four other classes, prices have dipped more modestly, with MPV people carriers 0.5% cheaper month on month, 4x4 and executive car prices each down 0.4%, and small cars 0.3% cheaper.

Three classes have risen slightly in price over the past month: luxury cars (up 0.5%), superminis (up 0.3%) and compact execs (up a nominal 0.1%).

David Motton, What Car?’s editor, said: ‘Whenever sales start to slow down, salesmen will be keener to offer a big discount. Now is a good time to snap up a new-car bargain. You should never pay the full asking price for a new car. Our research proves you can save on average £1518 - that’s 8.5% off the list price.’

The What Car? Target Price is designed to show readers a realistic discount on every new car sold in the UK. By checking the Target Price before heading for the showroom, buyers know exactly what they should be paying and can then aim to meet, or beat, that price.

To ensure you pay the lowest price for your next new car follow What Car?’s guide to haggling:

  • Check out the What Car? Target Price for the car you want – you should aim to match or beat it
  • Do your homework - spend some time researching the best prices on the internet and shopping around at other dealers
  • Check out the value of your part-exchange in the What Car? Price Guide so you know how much your old car is worth - there’s no point in haggling a great deal on your next car if you’re given a poor part-ex value
  • Be determined, but realistic. If you’re shopping for a prestige car that’s in high demand and low supply, discounts will be more difficult to find
31 December 2004 Staff

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