THE slump in new car sales has triggered a buyer's market with car dealers offering huge discounts on many models.
Savings of up to 42.3 per cent off list price have been discovered in analysis of industry data by What Car?
According to What Car?'s Target Price tool, which calculates the most that consumers should pay for any model, the average discount achievable across all car sectors stands at a 12-month high of 8.4 per cent or Â£2,560 per car.
Nearly a quarter of car manufacturers are offering double-digit discounts across their model ranges, with French brands Citroen and DS leading the way with 14 per cent and 13.2 per cent average discounts respectively.
The largest saving found was 42.3 per cent off a Seat Toledo 1.6 TDI 115 SE - a saving of Â£7,790 off the list price of Â£18,435.
In cash terms, the biggest discount found by What Car? was on a Mercedes-Benz SL 400 which was being offered for Â£59,904 - a whopping Â£17,081 off the list price.
Other models being discounted heavily included a Fiat Punto at 25.3 per cent off, a Citroen Berlingo Multispace with a 22.7 per cent discount, a Ford Focus with a reduction of 21.1 per cent and a Volkswagen Passat 2.0-litre diesel at £5,003 off its list price of Â£25,130 - a 20 per cent saving.
"We are truly in a buyer's market right now," said What Car? editor, Steve Huntingford. "Even sectors where big discounts are normally harder to come by, like city cars and small SUVs, are now generating great deals."
The surge in offers follows the latest car sales figures which show that the new car market in Britain was down 15.7 per cent in March - although it was still the fourth busiest March on record.
Diesel car sales continued to fall - down 37.2 per cent - and now account for just 32 per cent of the new car market, with sales of petrol models up 1,423 units to 296,349 (62.5 per cent of the market).
Sales of so-called alternatively fuelled vehicles such as hybrid and electric cars continued to rise, up 5.7 per cent to 24,126 units.
In total, 474,069 new cars were registered in March as the new 18-plate was introduced and ahead of vehicle tax rises which come into force in April.
The monthly figure is down on the all-time record of 562,337 set last year but still ahead of sales posted prior to 2015.
The top selling new car in March was the Ford Fiesta which recorded 19,272 sales, ahead of the Volkswagen Golf on 13,966 and the British-built Nissan Qashqai at 12,018.