Car showrooms are welcoming customers back through their doors from this week as part of the latest phase of the eased lockdown for businesses.
With social distancing guidelines in place, it marks the first time motorists can walk into a dealership and poke around a car they might want to buy – even being allowed to take unaccompanied test drives of cleaned-down demo vehicles
And even from Monday there will be deals to be struck on popular new models, according to What Car?’s Target Price index. These are the discounts it says you can strike right now…
Open for business: Car showrooms have been allowed to serve customers from today as part of the latest phase of easing lockdown and kick-starting the economy
There have been growing concerns that pent-up demand for new cars caused by the coronavirus lockdown will see dealerships rapidly run out of stock once they’ve been given the green light to reopen.
However, with plenty of manufacturers in the UK and across Europe restarting production lines well in advance of showrooms opening – Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo resuming from as early as 20 April – dealers should be able to get their hands on just-built new cars and allow for factory orders to be placed, even with vehicle plants not operating at 100 per cent capacity due to social distancing rules.
With showrooms shut to the public from March 23 and only recently granted permission to provide ‘click & collect’-style sales of cars ordered online, dealers are going to be eager to push sales to recoup the massive losses caused by not being able to operate as usual for more than two months.
Customers should be ready for the nation’s 4,000 or so dealerships to look different, though, as they introduce measures needed in order to be Covid-19 compliant.
Marshalls Motors – one of the UK’s biggest car dealer networks with 119 branches in total representing Audi, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mini, Peugeot, Mercedes-Benz, Skoda, Ford, Vauxhall, Volkswagen and Volvo – gave This is Money an inside peek into some of its showrooms ahead of opening on Monday.
We had an early glimpse at how dealerships have transformed with measures in place to allow for two-metre social distancing and the introduction of safety screens, face masks, hand-sanitiser stations and no-touch policies.
Vehicles will also be subject to scrupulous cleaning of door handles, seats, steering wheel, gear lever and handbrakes as per guidelines set out by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and the National Franchised Dealers Association.
Dealerships will look very different fro, this month. Strict guidelines are in place to ensure social distancing is maintained
All dealers will be kitted out with hand sanitisers for customers who are poking around new models they might be interested to buy
Dealers have equipped their sales stations with screens to keep the workers and customers divided
Jaguar Land Rover has also confirmed that customers wanting to visit its showrooms from today will be given staggered appointment times to reduce the volume of people in the retailer at any one time.
But just because there are new measures in place, it doesn’t mean drivers can’t bargain with salesmen from a two-metre distance.
In fact, What Car? has, ahead of showrooms opening, released information on some of the best deal you can strike with dealers.
It uses a team of mystery shoppers to scour the market – even in lockdown – to find the latest discounts being given in the past few says, weeks and months,
This should be used by buyers as an indication of how much they should pay with a Target Price set by What Car? for each of the models – which some of its ‘network of trusted dealers’ have agreed to match.
Below are the 10 brands who’ve lowered their prices the most in recent weeks. We’ve selected our top choice for each. This isn’t necessarily the largest discount, but a good deal on a model we know Britons buy.
The XC40 is arguably the best compact SUV on the market right now. Dealers are offering a minimum of £2,500 off the price of high-spec models
Best deal on a popular model: £2,580 off the XC40
Spec with best discount: 2.0 B5P Inscription Pro 5dr AWD Auto (from £39,735 to £37,155)
The Swedish mark is currently offering a minimum discount of up to £2,580 off the XC40 compact SUV, which is arguably the best model in class right now.
Bigger savings can be had on pricier motors, such as the larger XC90. The Target Price index says you can expect a minimum of £5,410 knocked off the retail price of a high-spec example.
The Golf might be the most popular VW model, but discounts are thin given there’s a brand new version just out. Deals on the bigger Passat are relatively substantial
Best deal on a popular model: £6,294 off the Passat
Spec with best discount: 2.0 BiTDI SCR 240 R Line 4MOTION 4dr DSG (from £42,305 to £25.381)
The Golf is the most popular VW in the UK, but the latest eighth-generation version has only just been launched meaning high demand, which equals salesmen barely budging on price.
The bigger Passat however, has some pretty big discounts. Go for the Passat Estate for extra practicality and you’ll get even larger savings.
The B-Class is among the most practical Mercedes models, and dealers have plenty of wiggle room on these cars
Best deal on a popular model: £4,092 off the B-Class
Spec with best discount: B220d AMG Line Premium Plus 5dr Auto (from £37,850 to £33,758)
Like the situation with the VW Golf, Mercedes’ most-popular UK model is the A-Class, which is so new that discounts are relatively small. The B-Class MPV, however, can be had with a minimum of up to £4,000 off the near-£40,000 asking price.
Showing just how demand impacts discount, Mercedes will only offer £1,500 off a £150,000 AMG-GT Roadster, but a £125,000 convertible S-Class Cabriolet will be sold with at least £19,366 off the retail price.
The Karoq is one of three Skoda SUVs. It;s the one with the best discounts across the range too
Best deal on a popular model: £2,279 off the Karoq
Spec with best discount: 2.0 TDI  Edition 4×4 5dr DSG (from £37,005 to £34,726)
Up until recently, Skoda had never made a dedicated SUV. In 2020 the Czech brand has three. The mid-size model is the Karoq, sitting below the Kodiaq and above the Kamiq.
It’s a decent-size family motor, and discounts are relatively better than those Skoda dealers will offer on the Kodiaq, given the difference in price.
Most Britons go for the VW Golf, Ford Focus or Mercedes A-Class if they want a family hatchback. But deals on the Mazda3 should throw it into the mix for some drivers
Best deal on a popular model: £1,986 off the 3
Spec with best discount: 2.0 Skyactiv-X MHEV GT Sport Tech 5dr Auto AWD (from £32,355 to £30,369)
The most popular medium-size hatchbacks in the UK are the VW Golf, Ford Focus and Mercedes-Benz A-Class, in that order. But if you want something a little different – though equally as stylish – the Mazda3 is a good option.
Currently Mazda dealers will wipe almost £2,000 off the price of a mid-hybrid GT Sport petrol as a minimum discount, says What Car?.
In-demand cars you won’t get a deal on
While there are offers on new cars at all dealers across the country from 1 June, there are some models that won’t be discounted at all.
For instance, the latest electric vehicles are in such high demand that getting any money off one can be difficult. Volvo’s recently-revealed XC40 Recharge is one example of this.
Order books for the Volvo XC40 Recharge EV only opened last week. Discounts are unlikely right now
Other models that won’t have savings are small production outputs with healthy customer bases.
This includes the Mercedes-Benz G-Class – or G-Wagen – and the VW California camper. You’re likely to have to pay full price for this, says What Car?’s Target Price index.
Models in high demand but low production – like the Mercedes G-Wagen (left) and VW California (right) won’t be discounted
The XF is Jaguar’s alternative to the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class. What Car? says the minimum discount to expect on a range-topping diesel is almost £5,000
Best deal on a popular model: £4,774 off the XF
Spec with best discount: 3.0d V6 S 4dr Auto (from £53,035 to £48,261)
Jaguar Land Rover is one of the UK car maker’s that has already opened some of its manufacturing plants to start churning out new models.
The best discount on a popular car is almost £5,000 off the XF saloon. However, What Car? also claims you can get a discount of up to £3,500 off the price of a new electric I-Pace – a surprising offer given the demand for EVs.
Electric cars are in such high demand – and low production outputs – that discounts are rare. However, you can get more off a Renault Zoe than a conventional Clio right now
Best deal on a popular model: £2,650 off the Zoe
Spec with best discount: 100KW i GT Line R135 50KWh Rapid Charge 5dr Auto (from £33,695 £ to £31,045)
As we mentioned in the Jaguar piece above, getting a discount on a new electric car right now is pretty unlikely. However, Renault is stripping more off the price of a new Zoe than a conventional Clio.
Bigger deals can be had on larger models, such as the Kadjar SUV.
The Astra is still a big seller in the UK, mainly because discounts are pretty healthy. That will be the case for post-lockdown deals
Best deal on a popular model: £4,391 off the Astra
Spec with best discount: 1.5 Turbo D Ultimate Nav 5dr Auto (from £29,510 to £25,119)
Vauxhall is one of the brands known to offer the biggest discounts on new cars, and after lockdown this will continue to be the case.
The Astra, which has fallen down the pecking order for popular family hatchbacks, is available with £4,391 off.
A range-topping mild-hybrid Tucson can be bought with a minimum of £5,000 are more off the retail price, says the What Car? Target Price index
Best deal on a popular model: £5,248 off the Tucson
Spec with best discount: 2.0 CRDi 48V MHD Premium SE 5dr 4WD DCT (from £36,420 to £31,172)
The Tucson is Hyundai’s second-biggest SUV, and right now you can get up to £5,000 off a high-spec version of the super-size model.
According to What Car?, the discounts on the Tucson are better than deals offered on the larger Santa Fe model.
Some £2,500 off the price of Peugeot’s smallest – and most affordable – model shouldn’t be sniffed at
Best deal on a popular model: £2,599 off the 108
Spec with best discount: 1.0 72 Collection 5dr (from £15,581 to £12,982)
The 108 is the smallest model in Peugeot’s line-up and is mechanically identical to the Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo.
A saving of £2,600 off the cheapest car in Peugeot’s range is pretty impressive, and is a bigger monetary discount than you can get on the bigger 208 model.
Motorpoint delivers its 1,000th used car in lockdown
Motorpoint has confirmed that it has completed its 1,000th home delivery of a second-hand car since the country went into lockdown.
The UK’s largest independent car retailer, which has a network of branches across England, Scotland and Wales, rolled out the complimentary service during the restrictions in response to demand from customers.
Gillian Fisher (pictured) became the 1,000th person to have her car brought to her doorstep by Motorpoint over the past few weeks.
Gillian Fisher receiving her Mini Cooper S – the 1,000th car delivered by Motorpoint during lockdown
Used car dealers, like Motorpoint, are allowed to re-open today, as long as they have Covid-measures in place
Gillian, who previously bought a Fiat 500 from Motorpoint, decided to upsize to a Mini Cooper S and, at the same time, take advantage of the free Home Delivery Service together with the 14 day Money Back Guarantee.
‘I’ve bought other cars from Motorpoint and found the experience really quick and easy,’ explained Gillian, who works as a Go to Market Manager for a mobile telecoms provider.
‘I’ve been thinking about upsizing to a bigger car for a while so went onto the Motorpoint website a few days ago and when I found out they were able to deliver to my home rather than me make the 100-mile plus round trip to my nearest branch in Chingford in London I decided to buy it online.’
Like new-car showrooms, Motorpoint’s dealer network has reopened to customers as of June 1.
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