Offers on wheels: now it's time to buy a new car, says RAY MASSEY

During a miserable week for the UK auto industry, there's at least a silver lining – if you're looking to buy a new car. Follow a canny strategy and you can save thousands of pounds.

Car sales in the United Kingdom plunged by 6.8% in 2018 and almost a third of diesel, according to this week's data.

Moreover, thousands of job cuts in Jaguar and Ford can mean misery for car manufacturers and dealers. But it marks huge opportunities for those looking to buy a new car.

Grab a deal: Big discounts are available on cars like the VW Golf. Car sales in the United Kingdom plunged by 6.8% in 2018 and almost a third of diesel, according to data from this week

This is because car companies are desperate to change inventory and give large incentives to dealers.

These are essentially cash incentives from manufacturers that allow dealers to offer big discounts so they can reach their sales targets. So it's up to you to negotiate hard.

And often you can get a better deal even towards the end of the month, since a dealer could be just a few cars less than reaching a target and will therefore be willing to cut the price further.

A perfect storm of factors is attributed to the decline in sales: the uncertainty surrounding the Brexit; the Volkswagen scandal "dieselgate"; the demonization of diesel when the engines are improving; and delays of new models caused by a new emission test system.

What a car? Editor Steve Huntingford said, "Dealers are encouraged to sell a certain number of cars each month, so there are offers to have."

The What Car? The target price provides an indication of how much discount buyers should expect from the list price of each model.

For example, if you're looking at a Volvo V60 2-liter D4 (190) five-door automatic with a list price of £ 34,960, expect a cut from £ 3,069 to £ 31,891, around 9% off.

If you are looking for a Ford Focus 1.5 Ecoboost 150 Titanium 5-door with a price of 22,400 pounds, expect a saving of 1,662 pounds to 20,738 pounds, a cut of around 7%. For a Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI EVO Match sedan that costs £ 22,400, expect to save £ 1,764.

Often you can get a better deal even towards the end of the month, since a dealer could be just a few cars not to hit a target and will therefore be willing to cut the price further.

A Skoda Superb 1.5 TSI Sportline DSG which costs £ 29,660 should be available for £ 27,065 – a saving of £ 2,595.

And for a BMW 118i (1.5) M Sport that costs £ 26.530, What Car? he says the target price should be £ 24,487, saving £ 2,043.

For a 3-door Kia Ceed 1.4T GDi iSG hatchback at £ 21,505 expect to pay £ 20,214, a savings of £ 1,291.

The top ten biggest sellers in 2018 were the Ford Fiesta, the Volkswagen Golf, the Vauxhall Corsa, the Nissan Qashqai, the Ford Focus, the Volkswagen Polo, the MINI, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, the Ford Kuga and the Kia Sportage.

James Hind, CEO of Carwow's car sales website (www.carwow.co.uk) said, "For consumers, the first quarter of 2019 will be a great time to buy a new car from Mint because of Brexit, manufacturers are aligning with new offers and financial packages, eager to make the most of the consumer's appetite with the approach of the Brexit deadline.

"Many, including SEAT, Skoda, Honda and Vauxhall only have offers in January to kick off the year and get behind the 2018".

This week's data from the Builders and Engine Dealers (SMMT) company showed that overall car sales were down from 2,540 to 2,367 million in 2018 – a decline of nearly 174,000 cars leaving the UK showrooms – during 12 months of turbulence, with a further decline expected for this year.

Even more significant, around 350,000 diesels were sold in 2018 less than the previous year, as numbers dropped from 1,066 million to just over 750,000, but were not offset by increases in gasoline and "green" electric cars. .

Sales of gasoline cars rose by 8.7% and represent 62.3% of sales, up compared to 53.4% ​​last year.

And although sales of electric cars rose by a fifth (21.9%) to 141,270, they still represent only 6% of all cars sold last year.

Diesels now accounts for less than a third of sales (31.7%) compared to 42% last year as current diesel owners take a "wait-and-see" approach and keep their older, more polluting diesels longer.

But SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said: "More than 80 exciting new-generation models – 31 of which electric wheelbarrows – will make their showroom debut in 2019 and with some exciting industry offers continue to invest to grow the market, despite the contrary winds ".

Little Suzuki has great residual value

The new Suzuki compact SUV will retain more than half its value after three years and 60,000 driving miles, rising to 61% if less than 36,000 miles are operating, according to the remaining value of the company.

Suzuki said his 4X4 is priced at £ 15,499: "This places the new Jimny in the supercar for the retained value".

Limits to autonomous driving technology

This week the self-driving industry has received a long-awaited reality check at the high-tech Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Autonomous cars will never be able to drive under the worst conditions, says the head of Google's self-driving vehicle, the Waymo arm.

John Krafcik says auto-guided cars are "really here", but they will be decades before they are widespread.

Google, which began working on autonomous technology in 2009, last year bought 20,000 I-Pace electric Jaguars in a £ 1.2 billion deal for self-traction testing in Phoenix, Arizona

"Autonomy will always have some constraints," he told the CNET technology news website.

"It's really, really hard, you do not know what you do not know until you're in there and you're trying to do something."

The company, which started working on autonomous technology in 2009, last year bought 20,000 I-Pace electric Jaguars in a £ 1.2 billion deal for self-piloted tests in Phoenix, in Arizona.

However, his mini-self-helpers were attacked and vandalized by some angry residents by the number of self-driving cars in their area.

Diesel is not dead yet

Do not fire the diesel. For high-mileage drivers, diesels are often the best option, with tests showing that the most efficient diesels are cleaner than some gasoline engines.

Perversely, the collapse in diesel sales means that CO2 emissions – the greenhouse gas – have increased in the last two years. This is because diesel engines produce between 15 and 20 percent less CO2.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Dealers (SMMT) noted: "The anti-diesel rhetoric and the negative fiscal measures have taken their toll."

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