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One careful owner means discounts and deals galore

Huge savings are to be had as dealers rush to sell their demos and '12 models. Geraldine Herbert finds the best offers

THE end of the year is almost upon us and car dealers are eager to be rid of 2012-registered models and hit end-of-year sales targets. As January sees the introduction of the New Year registration plates, there are hidden gems in local dealerships and showrooms in the form of pre-registered cars.

These are cars with 2012 registration plates that have been used for customer test drives and already have one registered owner.

We've scoured the country for some of the best deals around and here is our pick of the bunch.

Those in the market for a new Ford Focus could avail of a saving of €3,000 from Colton Motors, Mullingar and Tullamore. A 2012 Ford Focus 1.6 diesel including alloy wheels, privacy glass and fog lamps could be yours for €24,235: the original list price is €27,235. Also, if you mention this column they will give you a further €250 discount.

A brand-new Hyundai ix20 1.4CRDi normally retails at €20,645, but at Cavanaghs in Charleville you can get one, a mere four months old, with only 12,000km on the clock, for only €17,450: and it comes with a five-year warranty.

If you are looking for a stylish coupe without the premium price tag, Michael Lyng Motors, Carlow have a 2012 Hyundai Veloster demo. The list price at the beginning of the year was €26,995 so the current price tag of €20,950 represents a saving of over €6,000. It also benefits from an unlimited mileage warranty and AA membership until 2017.

For the executive car buyer a Mercedes-Benz E220 CDI Avantgarde Sports Coupe Automatic in obsidian black metallic with quartz/terra nappa leather and an AMG styling sports pack is on offer for €5,500 less than at the beginning of the year. The current price, at Gilmores Kingscourt, Cavan, is €59,995.

Nissan's Qashqai may be second place in the new car sales charts, but there are still bargains around. Hutton and Meade, Dublin, have two 2012 Qashqai models, a 1.5 Diesel XE model for €21,495, original price €25,975; and for €22,995 a Qashqai plus 2 1.5 Diesel XE seven-seater, with an original price of €27,595.

A cappuccino beige Skoda Yeti 1.6TDi is available at Burn Car Sales, Sligo, for €21,800, which is €5,000 less than it was priced in January 2012.

For those in the market for a seven-seater MPV, Barlo Motors, Clonmel, have a 2012 Ford Galaxy Style 1.6TDCi with 21,000km available for €29,595. The January 2012 price was €40,745, so there is over €10,000 to be saved.

Last but by no means least is a 2012 640d M Sport Coupe with 6,000km on the clock, available at Morrison BMW, Tipperary, with a hefty price tag of €84,995. However, the original list price was €105,067 -- so there is a whopping €20,000 to be saved.

The downside, however, of buying a car that has been pre-registered is that it is technically a used car. While depreciation will therefore be affected, it is unlikely that this will outweigh the discount.

Apart from demo models, there are also savings to be made when manufacturers are replacing an old model.

Honda has just launched a brand new CR-V, Hyundai the new Santa Fe; while Volkswagen's new Golf will be in showrooms very soon and Mazda's new 6 is due early next year. Anyone in the market for these models should have even more room for manoeuvre.

Des D'Arcy Motors, Dublin, are offering a 2012 Honda CR-V with a list price of €51,560 for €41,950: that represents a saving of nearly €10,000.

A 2012 Mazda 6 2.2D Sport SE Hatch, with leather interior, could be yours at Brian Reynolds Car Sales, Drogheda, for €26,950. The original list price was €31,400, so there is a saving of just under €4,500.

For some, though, the lure of a new car that looks and smells factory fresh is too much to resist. With this in mind, car manufacturers are also offering huge discounts to attract buyers into their showrooms. From fuel vouchers to free servicing, it's enough to make the end of the year a truly festive season for new car buyers.

Nissan are offering a deal where customers who order a 2013 car now can choose to get a new car in 2014 or select one of the following: three years' free servicing, a €500 fuel voucher, a €500 shopping voucher, or a free iPad. Three years' free servicing, on all passenger cars, is available at any authorised Toyota dealership until January 31, 2013.

Peugeot are offering a five-year warranty as standard across its passenger car model range for 2013. Also for customers who order their 2013 model before Christmas, there is one year's free road tax and a VRT price freeze across all passenger car models.

A free €500 fuel voucher and an extended five-year warranty is available from Citroen, for customers who order a new model this weekend. Finally, Mazda is now offering up to €3,500 trade-in allowance on a new Mazda registered in January 2013. The trade-in bonus allowance starts from up to €1,500 for a new Mazda2, up to €2,000 for the Mazda3 and Mazda5 models, with up to €3,500 allowance available on the current Mazda6 model.

Whether you opt for new or nearly new, understand what you need from a car and consider how you would use it: for long commutes, journeys around town or city centre driving. Draw up a shortlist of likely cars and above all drive as many cars as possible, don't simply sit in them. Remember, be objective; there are plenty of cars to choose from, so this is not the time to get emotionally attached.

Indo Motoring