How to save thousands on a new car
COVID-19 has become the Grinch who stole Christmas for bargain-hunting car buyers.
Traditionally the festive season means sharp discounts in the new-car market, as dealers are keen to offload old stock so they can meet sales targets and qualify for lucrative bonuses.
But factory shutdowns overseas and local dealership closures due to COVID mean many manufacturers are short of stock, while demand for new cars has skyrocketed as Australia reopens and people look to holiday at home.
Private sales of SUVs were up 50 per cent in November compared with the same month last year.
One senior executive at a leading multi-franchise dealer says the industry would be crazy to have a discount war in December, given the lack of supply and strong demand.
"I don't think it's going to be like normal because stock is very tight in some of the franchises. There's still a lot of pent-up demand and I can't see people discounting cars to the level that they have done in prior years," he says.
At this time of year, some carmakers have been known to push large volumes of cars on dealers to meet aggressive sales targets, leading to a glut of "near-new" demonstration models in January.
But COVID has forced a rethink. Sales targets have continually shifted and eventually settled at more realistic levels.
There are still some deals out there, but the best ones are on run-out stock of models that are about to be replaced.
A new Volkswagen Golf is due in the first half of next year, and there are attractive run-out deals on current stock. There's a $2000 model year 2020 run-out bonus on the Volkswagen Golf 110TSI Trendline, bringing the price for the auto to $29,538 drive-away, a saving of about $2000.
Kia's Cerato hatch isn't as cheap as it has been in previous years, but the Sport manual is good value at $24,490 drive-away until the end of the year, roughly $3000 less than the full price.
Mazda's baby CX-3 SUV has been swamped by new competitors in recent months and the brand is doing 2020 run-out deals, including a sharp $24,990 drive-away for the Neo Sport, roughly $2000 off. As the rest of the entrants in this segment are relatively new, there are very few other deals around. One exception is the Citroen C3 Aircross, which has been slashed from $38,893 drive-away to just $29,990 drive-away. The deal includes five years of free scheduled service and roadside assistance.
Deals are thin on the ground in this popular category, but the Mitsubishi ASX ES is good value at $24,990 drive-away for the manual, roughly $3000 off the full price. If you want an auto, the better equipped MR is sharply priced at $28,990 drive-away. If you're on a limited budget, the MG ZS is just $21,990 drive-away and comes with a seven-year warranty. At $28,290 drive-away, Nissan's manual 2WD ST Qashqai is roughly $4000 off.
Hyundai's Tucson is in run-out and the maker is doing sharp deals to move old stock. The Tucson Active is $31,990 with a $750 bonus, which equates to a saving of close to $5000. Kia's rival Sportage has the slightly better equipped SX model available for $33,290 drive-away as a manual, while Nissan's X-Trail ST is good value at $30,990 drive-away for the FWD auto model. Renault's Koleos Life is $32,990 drive-away with extended seven-year warranty - roughly $4000 off.
Ford's Endura has failed to hit the mark and the brand has the diesel-powered Trend FWD model for $43,990, a saving of more than $5000. An updated version of the Hyundai Santa Fe is just around the corner and the V6-powered Active is good value at $44,990. Also worth a look is the Mazda CX-9 Sport at $45,990, about $4000 off the regular ask. For those who want to venture off the beaten track, Mitsubishi's AWD Pajero GLX diesel is excellent value at $51,490, a discount of more than $7000.
Utes are a good buy at the moment thanks to the Government's extended instant asset write-off scheme. Mazda's new BT50, which shares its underpinnings with the Isuzu D-Max, is advertised on the brand's website at $62,424, but ABN holders and primary producers can pick one up for just $56,990 drive-away. Twist your dealer's arm to match the deal or plump for the top-of-the range D-Max for $58,990 drive-away. At $46,740 Mitsubishi is covering your on-road costs for the well-equipped GLS 4WD dual-cab auto diesel, while Nissan's ST dual-cab 4WD auto is good value at $45,690 for ABN holders. Eager to peg back the popular Ford Ranger in the 4WD segment of the ute market, Toyota is picking up the tab for on-road costs on its top-selling HiLux 4WD SR auto.
Originally published as How to save thousands on a new car