The best new car discounts as dealers slash 20% from some models

Research finds up to £5,600 off some models ahead of September plate change

Motorists looking for a new car can currently snap up brand-new models with as much as 20 per cent off as dealers try to make up for lost business.

September is usually a bumper month for the new car industry as the registration mark change brings a surge in orders. However, ahead of that many manufacturers are offering big discounts to encourage motorists to buy now, following a difficult 18 months.

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The Covid pandemic and lockdowns in 2020 hit vehicle production and forced dealers to close for months, leading to the lowest new registrations since the 1940s. Since then dealers have reopened only to be hit by supply issues due to global semiconductor shortages and staff shortages caused by the so-called “pingdemic”.

Now, ahead of the plate change, some brands are offering as much as £5,600 off new cars.

Buyers can save more than £5,000 on a VW Passat

Analysis by consumer group and buying platform What Car? found that buyers can secure a Volkswagen Passat 1.5 TSI SE Nav for £28,205 - 20 per cent less than the list price.

The second heaviest discount was found on the all-electric Renault Zoe Iconic R135, with an 18 per cent discount bringing the price down to £33,095 (before the plug-in grant). Discounts of at least 15 per cent were also found on the Nissan Micra, Citroen C1 and BMW 5 Series, with buyers saving nearly £8,500 on a 530d saloon.

The figures were obtained by What Car?’s Target Price mystery shoppers and revealed that while discounts across the market have fallen over the year, the average saving still stands at 6.4 per cent or £2,694.

The biggest average savings - 7.2 per cent - are to be found on diesels cars, ahead of petrol (6.6 per cent) and plug-in hybrids (6.3 per cent). Electric cars offered the smallest savings, at 3.1 per cent on average.

Graphic: Mark Hall/JPI Media

While Volkswagen is offering the biggest individual saving, it is Seat that offers the highest discount across its entire range, with a 12.1 per cent saving. Behind it are Suzuki (12.0%) and Renault (11.4%). Premium brands, including BMW and Volvo were also among the 10 manufacturers offering the highest discounts, with cuts of eight and seven per cent respectively.

Steve Huntingford, editor, What Car?, said: “The new car market has been impacted by microchip shortages, which has stretched lead times on some new cars. While average discounts have fallen from a high of 7.2% in the beginning of the year to 6.4%, there are still some fantastic new car offers to be found for buyers who are willing to shop around.

“The discounts on offer, combined with pent-up demand in the market is hopefully setting up the industry for a more positive end of year.”