Which car brands are most – and least – likely to knock money off a new motor?

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If you’re looking to purchase a new car in the near future, you might want to know which manufacturers are most likely to strike a deal.

Fortunately, new mystery shopping data conducted over a three month period this year have revealed which brands are most likely to slash the prices of their new vehicles and which are the stingiest when it comes to discounts.

The target price report from What Car? shows the average saving secured by buyers of 7,500 new cars between March and May was 8.3 per cent.

Savings game: The brand offering the biggest savings on average clipped 13% off list prices

Savings game: The brand offering the biggest savings on average clipped 13% off list prices

Below, we reveal the showrooms worth visiting to get a cash saving and the manufacturer salesmen you will need to haggle with the hardest.

The analysis showed that the average discount on the list price of vehicles secured by the mystery buyers was £2,581.

However, of the 7,500 purchases, 218 of the customers couldn’t get a single penny off the retail price of the model they bought. 

That might come as a surprise to many, especially considering the downturn in registration figures since diesel sales began to plummet last year.

What Car? claims the massive discounts being offered last year by dealers as a bid to rejuvenate showroom activity have now flat lined, even if sales are down by 6.8 per cent so far in 2018.

Still, the average saving on a diesel car is still more substantial than a petrol equivalent – 8.8 per cent compared to 7.9 per cent.

But which are the manufacturer showrooms you want to visit if you want the biggest volume of cash knocked off the retail price of the latest model? 

Car brands offering the biggest average discounts on new models

1. DS – 13.06% discount

2. Seat – 12.98% discount

3. Volkswagen – 11.54% discount

4. Renault – 11.42% discount

5. Peugeot – 11.04% discount 

6. Ford – 10.39% discount

7. Volvo – 9.83% discount

8. Skoda – 9.50% discount

9. Citroën – 9.47% discount

10. Smart – 9.36% discount

Source: What Car? Target Price based on 7,500 vehicle purchases by mystery shoppers between March and May 2018

DS dealers were found to be most willing to budge on the price of a new car, including models like the DS 3 (left and centre) and DS 4 (right)

DS dealers were found to be most willing to budge on the price of a new car, including models like the DS 3 (left and centre) and DS 4 (right)

DS dealers were found to be most willing to budge on the price of a new car, including models like the DS 3 (left and centre) and DS 4 (right)

DS is a fairly new brand to the market now that it's independent from owners Citroen. Offering discounts is one way of attracting new customers into dealerships

DS is a fairly new brand to the market now that it's independent from owners Citroen. Offering discounts is one way of attracting new customers into dealerships

DS is a fairly new brand to the market now that it’s independent from owners Citroen. Offering discounts is one way of attracting new customers into dealerships

French prestige brand DS was found to have the most wiggle room on prices.

During the three-month period, its dealers offered an average discount of 13.06 per cent on models such as the DS3.

That’s no huge surprise, with the relatively new brand still trying to establish itself in the market and producing some questionable cars, such as the DS5. 

More of turn up is the fact that Seat is striking the second best deals.

The Spanish brand – which is part of the VW Group – provided discounts of 12.98 per cent of average when people purchased models like the popular Ibiza, Arona and Ateca. 

Volume-selling car makers like Ford and Volkswagen also appeared in the most lucrative offers list – they provided average discounts of 10.39 per cent and 11.54 per cent respectively.

Car brands offering the lowest – or no – average discounts on new models

1. Porsche – 0% discount 

2. Dacia – 0.96% discount

3. Ssangyong – 2.08% discount 

4. MG – 2.79% discount 

5. Land Rover – 3.91% discount

6. Subaru – 4.26% discount

7. Infiniti – 4.35% discount 

8. Jeep – 4.76% discount 

9. Lexus – 5.05% discount 

10. Mazda – 5.22% discount

Source: What Car? Target Price based on 7,500 vehicle purchases by mystery shoppers between March and May 2018 

Want a new Porsche? Don't expect the salesman to budge on price. What Car? said the average discount offered by dealers was 0%

Want a new Porsche? Don't expect the salesman to budge on price. What Car? said the average discount offered by dealers was 0%

Want a new Porsche? Don’t expect the salesman to budge on price. What Car? said the average discount offered by dealers was 0%

Dacia dealers were also unwilling to move on the price of their new cars, though for different reasons to Porsche. Any discount the Romanian brand offers will immediately eat into margins

Dacia dealers were also unwilling to move on the price of their new cars, though for different reasons to Porsche. Any discount the Romanian brand offers will immediately eat into margins

Dacia dealers were also unwilling to move on the price of their new cars, though for different reasons to Porsche. Any discount the Romanian brand offers will immediately eat into margins

At the opposite end of the scale, it was two very different brands that were unwilling to budge on their prices.

Luxury brand Porsche offered an average discount of zero per cent, while budget-friendly car maker Dacia was only willing to budge by 0.96 per cent on its affordable model range, mainly because margins are much tighter for the Renault-owned manufacturer.

In fact, the top 10 list of brands least likely to haggle on price is a mix of prestige makers – like Land Rover and Lexus – and budget manufacturers – like Ssangyong and MG. 

The single biggest average discount offered to a buyer was 25.44 per cent off a Seat Toledo family saloon, which is a relatively unpopular model in the UK.

It works out as an equivalent of paying £12,434 for a new car with a list price of £16,675.

The top 10 model discounts includes a range of models, from the Seat Mii city car to the super-executive BMW 7 Series. 

The car models with the biggest discounts offered between March and May 2018
Model Spec OTR Price Target Price Discount
1 Seat Toledo 1.0 TSI 110 SE £16,675 £12,434 25.44%
2 Fiat Punto 1.2 Pop+ 5dr £11,900 £8,900 25.21%
3 Volvo S60 T4 [190] SE Nav [Leather] £28,500 £22,085 22.51%
4 BMW 7 Series 750i £79,175 £61,358 22.50%
5 Volkswagen Passat 1.4 TSI S 4dr £22,030 £17,129 22.25%
6 Mercedes-Benz SL 400 AMG Line 9G-Tronic £76,985 £59,904 22.19%
7 Seat Mii 1.0 Design Mii 5dr £10,560 £8,408 20.38%
8 Volvo V60 D3 [150] SE Nav [Leather] £31,210 £24,870 20.31%
9 Ford Focus 1.0 Ecoboost Titanium Navigation 5dr £21,540 £17,305 19.66%
10 Volkswagen Golf SV 1.5 TSI 150 GT EVO DSG £27,575 £22,425 18.68%
Source: What Car? Target Price based on 7,500 vehicle purchases by mystery shoppers between March and May 2018 
The Seat Toledo is the car you'll get the best discount on. Dealers were willing to knock a quarter off the price of one on average, probably because it's not a hugely popular model

The Seat Toledo is the car you'll get the best discount on. Dealers were willing to knock a quarter off the price of one on average, probably because it's not a hugely popular model

The Seat Toledo is the car you’ll get the best discount on. Dealers were willing to knock a quarter off the price of one on average, probably because it’s not a hugely popular model

Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?, said: ‘As demand for diesels continues to wane, deals on electric cars have actually started to shrink since March. 

‘However, even though overall discounts have flat-lined, our Target Price data shows some manufacturers are still fighting hard for your money with big discounts.

‘The discount slowdown could be a sign that dealers are holding off on offering their best deals until new models are introduced later this year to meet tough new emissions standards. 

‘Buyers should continue to check our regularly updated Target Price guide to see when is best to sign on the dotted line.’ 

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