Still plenty of good deals despite higher demand
Published 20/08/2014 | 00:00
I've always told people thinking of buying a car, new or used, to bargain hard.
It was always an obvious bit of advice but you would be surprised at how some people baulk at the prospect of confronting a salesperson with an offer lower than the price quoted.
I think the advice has borne fruit for a good few people judging by their feedback over the years.
I'm not so sure they will find the ground quite as easy to travel for a while now though, judging by the forecasts of a new report.
Over the past few years I've had the odd salesman say to me that some people were unduly harsh in what they thought they could offer.
No doubt for every bashful buyer there was another one attempting to pull off the sale of the century.
I distinctly remember one salesman saying to me (as if I were to blame): "You can't get blood out of a stone."
Certainly over the bad years there were some serious deals done.
A buyer was a rarity in a showroom during some months.
I know of new cars being sold without a cent profit just to retain customers and to get the servicing of the car down the line.
That made it difficult to stay in business.Abandoned Supercar gathers dust in a carpark
Now this study by Motorcheck.ie says that in a more buoyant market, dealers and importers are, understandably, "more reluctant to offer the sort of 'fire sale' deals that were common during the harsh years of 2008-2012".
As well as that, manufacturers have cut costs and pricing to keep what they call the 'headline' price as low as possible.
So there isn't the same sort of discretionary margin that there was in the bad years.
The thing most buyers don't know - but it is referred to time and again by dealers - is how tight the margin can be on a new sale.
Motorcheck.ie calls them "staggeringly tight margins" of 6pc to 8pc for a mainstream brand. That is slim pickings to sustain a business.
But now that there is a higher level of demand and a shortage of good used cars, in particular, the report suggests the 'fire-sales' are coming to an end. That is as it should be. Too many good dealers have gone to the wall. We need them to stay in business - for jobs and to maintain competition for our custom.
But I still believe if you do your homework and focus on what is out there, you will still find a decent deal.