Backlog on the back lots
THE next time you head into a new-car show room there is a keyword you can use to get the bargaining started. The word for the day is “pre-registered”.
It’s a tag applied to cars that are already plated and paid-up members of the new-car fleet, but have yet to find an owner.
There have always been preregistered cars, mostly for use as new-car demonstrators and for company executives. But the numbers have blown out as many makes artificially inflate their success in the official show room tally compiled each month by VFacts through the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.
Some will recall the take-noprisoners sales battles between Ford and Holden through to the 1970s, when the two brands routinely paid to register everything in dealerships to boost their December numbers to win the annual sales race.
Nowit’s a month-by-month battle as more than 60 brands force-feed customers with impressive new cars and equally-impressive value. New cars have never been more affordable and it’s a buyer’s market— especially if you’re prepared to go pre-registered.
That might mean a compromise on colour or equipment, but a pre-registered car is certain to be a bargain, fromthe sub-$15,000 cheapies through to prestige brands including Audi and BMW. Previously a demo fleet of 10-15 per cent of monthly sales was considered normal, but some companies are now pumping the numbers up to more than half of their VFacts total.
Dealers need tomove them on and out because their next month’s stock is on theway, or has arrived. Not all brands are playing the pre-registered game, but it’s more common than not.
“So far as I know, the only people not doing it are Mercedes-Benz and Toyota, because they don’t have to,” one car company says. “The demo fleet should be about 10-15 per cent of monthly sales. But our numbers have blown out to more like 60 per cent.”
So as 2013 winds down there’s even more pressure to clear backlogs of “aged stock” before the 2014-plated newbies arrive. Alot of them will be preregistered to get them off the books, making them prime targets for bargain buyers.