Rivalry and new tariffs have jolted the market, writes Neil Dowling The time is ripe for buying that dream machine . . . at a reduced price
CRUNCH a new car deal today as major companies start chopping prices to move metal. Imported models head the list, but even Toyota is rolling out limitededition models with price cuts up to $2000. Citroen has slashed $6000 off one model.
The bargains are enticing, even though the cars may not be at the top of your shopping list.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries says it’s all about a fiercely competitive market and seasonal sales.
‘‘The start of the new financial year is usually a relatively quiet time for the market, so brands are taking advantage of that and running very competitive campaigns,’’ FCAI spokesman James Goodwin says.
‘‘It’s certainly a competitive market at the moment with many brands reviewing pricing and specifications, as well as preparing for the introduction of new models to their line-up.’’
Goodwin says new-car buyers are benefiting from the halving of the tariff on most imported vehicles. Brands are either reducing prices or increasing the standard specification levels, he says.
‘‘Buyers are certainly spoilt for choice at the moment, with most vehicles offering the best level of safety and luxury features we’ve ever seen and are doing that while improving fuel efficiency.
‘‘The advice for new-car buyers is to shop around — the market is extremely competitive and interest rates remain relatively low.’’
Though the Australian car market is thriving, the discounts come as the full weight of tariff cuts on imported cars spreads across the range.
Goodwin says the recent discounting could arise from the showroom debut of 2010-built models, which are taxed at 5 per cent less than 2009-built cars.
The time between manufacture and sale of Australian-built cars is generally very short. However, Goodwin says some imported cars in the showroom today could be 2009-built vehicles that still incur the higher 10 per cent, tariff rate. The tariff from January 1, 2010 is 5 per cent.
Price ‘‘repositioning’’ — a spin on the word ‘‘discounting’’ — can also be traced to the volatility of the Australian dollar.
Citroen’s $ 6000 chop to its C4 Picasso people-mover model includes bundling on-road costs within its $39,990 price.
Australian distributor Ateco Automotive says the competitive market forced it to bring the Picasso price down.
Ateco spokesman Edward Rowe says: ‘‘People movers are an intensely price-sensitive sector of the market.
‘‘Buyers need to move more people and that indicates they have a lot of financial demands on their life, so the Picasso was made more competitive.’’
On the reduction in the C5 price by $3000, Rowe says Ateco believes the car has the drivetrain, specifications and features to win sales, but price has been an issue.
Alfa Romeo’s discount of its MiTo small car now puts it under $30,000 for the first time.
Ateco, which distributes Alfa Romeo, says the MiTo’s price cut creates a base point for the manual transmission model before the more expensive dual-clutch model arrives later this year.
Honda Australia says the discounting reflects the intense competition of the new-car market and aims to add value to buyers on its way to boosting market share.
Honda Australia’s general manager of sales and marketing Stephen Collins says: ‘‘Our desire is to improve our performance on the market.
Work of art: the Citroen C4 Picasso is $39,990 drive away, which the company says is a saving of more than $6000.
Cut rate: the Honda Civic (above) costs from $22,490. The Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport (below) is $22,250 plus on-road costs.