Luxury brands come up swinging with deals
Motorists looking for a new prestige car can expect to save at least $10,000 on their next vehicle.
Luxury brands smashed by the coronavirus crisis are slashing prices or adding free extras to convince people to buy a new car. Industry insiders say luxury brands have more wiggle room than mainstream brands, making them an attractive proposition for people who want to drive a bargain.
Car dealers have remained open throughout the shutdown and most have implemented contactless sales and servicing arrangements for customers.
The best deals are on existing stock, so buyers shouldn't expect significant discounts when ordering a machine tailor-made to their own specifications.
But those who can settle for floor models should be able to strike a deal.
While one dealership sold a supercar demonstrator at a $180,000 discount to a savvy customer who wasn't fussy about options, the average luxury customer should be able to pick up new wheels for about $10,000 less than usual.
Mercedes is touting "unprecedented savings" for customers.
A fresh E-Class is on the way, so the brand has slashed about $20,000 from the cost of existing E200 Sport Edition models on sale from $91,700 drive-away.
Customers with less to spend can get hold of a GLA 180 Urban Edition with a host of added extras for $47,300 drive-away, while the mid-sized GLC crossover is available at a $10,000 discount.
Audi is matching Mercedes' segment-first five-year warranty until June 30, adding five years of free servicing, plus free registration, stamp duty and compulsory third party insurance worth up to $10,000.
Some Audi dealers are chipping in $5000 to $10,000 toward the cost of a new car, though the cash deal isn't available in conjunction with the five-year warranty.
Lexus' popular RX300 Luxury crossover is on sale for $69,888, a discount of about $12,000. The compact IS300 sedan costs $58,888 drive-away, which represents about $10,000 less than its retail price.
BMW's 118i hatch is on sale for about $49,900 drive-away (a discount of at least $5000), while the latest 3 Series sedan is available in 320i M Sport form for $69,900 drive-away.
The German brand's approach has ruffled feathers within the automotive industry.
BMW recorded its first top-10 sales performance in April, recording a sales decline of just 5.7 per cent while rivals such as Audi and Mercedes dropped by 63.6 and 54.4 per cent.
An industry insider said BMW's 1700 "sales" last month included approximately 400 demonstrators and 300 company cars.
Dealers already have more than 100 examples of the 320i listed online with low kilometres.
BMW said just 79 additional demonstrators were registered in April 2020 compared to April 2019, and that the number of company cars added to its fleet was lower this year.
Vikram Pawah, BMW Group Australia chief executive, said the demo vehicles will result in bargains for customers.
"BMW demonstrator and company vehicles play an important role in our business," he said.
"They provide evaluation and mobility for customers and staff but they are also available for sale after the preliminary period, which provides a highly specified and appealing option to those not in a position to purchase a brand new vehicle."
BMW customers should be able to get a sharp price in end-of-financial year sales, though its true mid-year performance may not be reflected on industry sales charts.
The car industry has fought to improve the accuracy of its VFacts sales figures in recent years.
Dealers have long-accused importers of sending truckloads of cars to showrooms, listing them as "sold" within industry tables well before customers considered the cars.
Originally published as Luxury brands come up swinging with deals