6 January 2004

Falling new car sales could spell a bumper 2004 for anyone looking for a discount.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is already predicting that after a record 2003, new car sales will take a tumble this year and in early 2005. With manufacturers having to work harder to secure sales, it can only mean better consumer offers, juicier deals and more attractive trade-in prices, in an attempt to get more buyers into the showrooms and signing on the dotted line.

A shrinking used market will not make things quite so favourable for second-hand buyers, however. Autocar used car expert John Coates is one pundit foreseeing a less rosy picture for private buyers.

'Prices will rise slightly all the way through to the summer,' he predicts. 'Oversupply is being sorted out and buyers will have less choice and be paying more as a result. Especially if they want clean, low-mileage models.'

But our man does see some of the rises being tempered by main dealers coming under more pressure and lowering prices in 2004.

'More buyers are starting to view franchised dealers as overpriced,' he says, 'especially next to the growing attraction of used-car supersites and auctions. They may have to start competing on price.'

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    23 March 2018
    Fully-loaded, big-hitting diesel CLS shows the potential perils of ticking too many options boxes on your order form. A good car with a bad suspension combination.
  • BMW M5
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    Super saloon deploys four-wheel drive to improve every facet of its driving experience. Faster and more capable than any, and more exciting than most, of its celebrated predecessors
  • Range Rover Sport SVR
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    More power and an intoxicating soundtrack have breathed new life into our love affair with the biggest, baddest Range Rover Sport variant
  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim
  • Nissan Leaf Tekna
    The is the new Nissan Leaf
    First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new version of the world's best-selling electric car gains a bigger battery and more power. How does it compare to rivals such as the Volkswagen e-Golf?