No diesel ‘firesale’ in sight as dealers remain confident over fuel’s future

Monday, April 8, 2019 - 10:18
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Rachael Prasher, managing director of What Car?

Diesel car prices are holding firm despite the dramatic drop in demand for new cars powered by the fuel, according to research by Britain’s leading consumer champion and new car buying platform What Car?.

Analysis of the UK car market by What Car?’s Target Price mystery shoppers found the average discount on a new diesel car in the beginning of March was 7.82% off the list price, or £2731. Discounts on diesel were only marginally higher than for petrol models, which stood at 7.11% or £2101. Alternative fuel vehicles were discounted on average by 4.42% and £1725.

Rachael Prasher, managing director of What Car?, said: “Despite the negative press in recent times, diesel remains an optimal choice for many drivers and our research suggests the industry has adjusted its supply to meet the lower demand, and that many buyers know buying diesel can still make sense.

“Our mystery shoppers analyse data from across the country, and we back our research by having all new cars available to buy from retailers with at least the Target Price discount saving applied through What Car?’s website,”

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), March saw a 21.4% drop in new diesel registrations, while petrol was up by 5.1%. Diesel’s overall market stood at 27.4%.

Across all makes, models and fuel types from January to March, Citroen offered the biggest percentage discounts – with buyers saving on average 11.41% off the list price. Volkswagen vehicles came with the second largest percentage discounts, while Vauxhall and Seat offered the third and fourth largest savings to new car buyers.

Average discounts across all brands dropped from 7.14% in January to 6.95% in March, with new car buyers receiving on average £2652 off the list price at the beginning of March.

Top 10 average manufacturer discounts between January and March 2019

Manufacturer Discount
Citroen 11.41%
Volkswagen 11.26%
Vauxhall 10.97%
SEAT 9.81%
Smart 9.56%
Mercedes-Benz 8.63%
Ford 8.57%
 Volvo 8.11%
Suzuki 7.96%
Mitsubishi 7.63%

Average discounts across all makes and models by fuel type

January February March
Fuel type Target Price cash saving % Cash saving Target Price cash saving % Cash saving Target Price cash saving % Cash saving
Diesel £2374 7.89% £2712 7.77% £2731 7.83%
Petrol £2122 7.35% £2082 7.05% £2101 7.11%
Alternative fuel £2098 5.29% £1816 4.69% £1725 4.42%
Electric £1002 3.93% £747 2.96% £746 2.96%

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