Discounts expected to be hard to find and special offers will be dropped due to production shortages
25 March 2011

New car prices will rise in the coming weeks due to the lack of supply caused by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, industry analysts have warned.

As dealer stock begins to run out, discounts will be harder to come across and manufacturers are expected to drop special offers that currently see customers save up to £3000.

Ian Fletcher, senior analyst at IHS Global Insight, said: “Although there are currently limited details about the extent to which supply levels will be affected, dealerships will stop offering discounts on the list price for models in high-demand.”

Nearly-new cars could also hold their value as a result of the lack of availability of brand-new models, he added.

John Wormald, managing partner at industry analysts Autopolis told Autocar he expected “special offers inevitably being withdrawn once supply dries up”, which he anticipates will happen within six weeks.

Toyota currently has special offers giving customers discounts of between £750 and £3,000, but has already lost production of around 140,000 cars during downtime.

Honda and Toyota have suspended production until the 27th March at the earliest, affecting Honda’s Accord, CR-Z and Jazz Hybrid models (which account for around 20 per cent of its UK sales), as well as Toyota’s Prius.

Honda is currently assessing a component shortage that could lead its Swindon plant to decrease production in the next month or two, affecting its CR-V, Civic and Jazz models of which it produces around 600 per day.

While both manufacturers maintain they have enough cars until at least the end of April, they concede that there may be problems with stock levels in the following months.

Nissan has similar inventory levels but admit that it is likely to encounter problems when current stock has been sold, affecting the GT-R and new Leaf electric car in particular.

Joe Breeze

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