Prices pruned as Japanese financial year ends
THIS may come as a surprise. March is the second biggest month of the year for new-car sales, as a number of factors create ideal buying conditions.
Dealers are eager to clear the last of the previous year’s stock (2015-built vehicles are only just beginning to arrive) and March 31 marks the end of the Japanese financial year.
This means a big push by six of the top 10 brands to close off their books on a high (their success is measured on sales results in the 12 months to the end of March, rather than the calendar year), and their aggressive discounting forces the rest of the market to respond, or risk losing out.
As always, it pays to know where to look.
“Not all drive-away deals are created equally,” says a multifranchise dealer with 20 years’ experience. “Some deals are so sharp we can’t afford to throw in floor mats, while others, say in the $40,000-plus range, might have another $1000 or $2000 left in them but we usually use this margin to help someone out of a trade-in.”
Some brands (such as Subaru and Honda) are offering a five-year warranty and the promise of “huge factory bonuses” (the name given to hidden dealer incentives which customarily range from $1000 to $4000).
Other deals have low finance, such as Nissan’s 1 per cent rate, but these often have short repayment terms (in this case three years) and oblige customers to pay full price for the car. That can make the individual repayments as high as a normal finance rate on a heavily discounted car.
But the final discounted prices for most cars on the Nissan, Honda and Subaru websites are not clearly defined, which means the deal comes down to your negotiating skills. Inevitably some buyers will pay Six of the top 10 brands want to close the Japanese financial year
on a high more than others. We prefer transparent drive-away pricing in bold type and with no hidden extras, so you know exactly what you’re getting.
Some “special offer” driveaway deals don’t amount to much of a discount but the prices on the following cars really caught our eye.
SMALL CARS The Suzuki Celerio is still Australia’s cheapest car from a big name brand and it’s a brandnew model: $13,990 drive-away with auto (metallic paint adds $475).
One of the few drive-away deals we could find on the
Nissan website is for the Micra hatchback. It’s in run-out (a facelifted model is due within months) for $12,990 drive-away for manual. Auto adds $1500, metallic paint $495.
The price for a Toyota Yaris manual is unchanged from last month ($15,990 drive-away) but the company has finally put the price of the automatic up in lights: $17,990 drive-away (previously the automatic was open to dealer negotiation, although Toyota Australia told us at the time it could be had for $17,590 drive-away, so be sure to haggle). Metallic paint adds $450.
The Hyundai i20 may be nearing the end of its model life but it’s one of the sharpest deals available: $12,990 drive-away for a manual three-door (add $2000 for auto and $495 for
metallic paint). The Hyundai i20 five-door auto is also a bargain, $15,990 drive-away (plus $495 for metallic paint).
Need a small car that’s a little bigger? The deal of the decade is the Kia Cerato auto sedan or hatch from $19,990 drive-away including front and rear parking sensors, parking steering mode and Australia’s longest new-car warranty (seven years/unlimited km). The catch: metallic paint is a little dearer than others ($520).
With a facelifted model around the corner the Toyota Camry auto has limboed to $26,490 drive-away ($500 less than it was last month, and about $8000 off the RRP) including rear-view camera and metallic paint. The Camry is also Australia’s cheapest new car to service ($560 over three years: $140 every nine months or 15,000km, whichever comes first). In response, the Nissan
Altima comes under the discount knife: $27,990 driveaway with automatic transmission (metallic paint adds $495). It comes with alloy wheels (as does the Camry) but the Nissan lacks a rear-view camera. Want more oomph? The
Toyota Aurion V6 auto is sharp buying at $29,990 drive-away including metallic paint and costs the same to service as a Camry.
Contemplate a deal: Hyundai i20, above; Kia Cerato, right; Mazda CX-9, below; and Ford Kuga, bottom Main picture, cover: Thomas Wielecki