2011 looks set to become the year of the “great deal”. With all the doom and gloom around – and most of us expected to get hit in the pocket one way or another – there might be some light at the end of the tunnel. Car retailers have still got budgets to achieve and staff to pay and in many cases shareholders to appease, so in an industry that perhaps above all others is used to ‘having a deal’ with customers this should put them in very good stead when navigating through the choppy economic waters looming up on the horizon.
Despite the latest round of bad news, the hikes in fuel prices which will cripple many divers, the recent VAT increase and the threat of interest rate rises – not to mention the continued reluctance by those damned banks to free up the credit market and rapidly rising inflation – the car business is in a great position to champion the cause of the consumer.
In car retailing there has always been flexibility in pricing and there are now many products which can generate income over and above the selling of the car.
I had a chat recently with a friend who was buying a used Jag, he asked whether the deal he had been offered was a good one, and whilst we always want more I thought that the discount from the car was fair but the package of add-ons such as GAP, tyre insurance and payment protection etc at £1,500 or thereabouts was excessive.
He eventually went back to the dealership and agreed on one or two products but at a much reduced price so all in all he was happy and protected with the add-ons he wanted and the dealer had “moved some more metal” and generated some profit on the products.
As well as the likelihood of manufacturer baked campaigns where buyers are likely to see large discounts at certain times of the year the feeling is that this year could be just one long sales event. As the manufacturers and car dealers are in disagreement about the overall predictions for new car registrations in 2011, there will surely be some special deals to be had for car buyers.
Of course, although many dealers continue to absorb the VAT hike on new cars, there has still been an uplift in prices over the last 18 months and therefore opting for a nearly new or used car to make further savings could very well be the choice of many buyers this year.
From the dealers point of view extra volumes in used cars will be welcomed if the new car numbers are down. Either way the car business will continue to demonstrate its resilience in a tough market and give buyers great value.
Keep a keen eye out for some special deals on many cars across all brands and ranges and with every penny being precious it should be a welcome situation for all.