Independent UK importers countered franchised dealer discounts in June with one of the biggest rounds of price cuts ever recorded, according to new car transaction price analyst, CarPriceCheck.

The aggressive strategy came despite a fall in the value of the pound during the month, which usually causes prices to rise.

However, price rises at UK dealerships outweighed improvements in available discounts for the first time in four months. Franchised dealers delivered an average fall of 2.59 percent for 389 models during June, but the month also recorded a 2 percent average rise for a further 516 derivatives.

Importers delivered some of the widest-ranging price cuts monitored since August 2000, with many of the leading suppliers increasing discounts by an average of 2.6 percent on upwards of 80 percent of their entire stock.

"Only time will tell whether June was an anomaly or motivated by a reduction in vehicle availability caused by the pending manufacturer holiday breaks," said CarPriceCheck CEO Steve Evans

"However, [independent] importers certainly moved heaven and earth to try and reassert their position in the market at a time when there are signs that some [official] UK suppliers are beginning to relax their own aggressive discounting as private buyers start to return to the showrooms."

Renault and Peugeot dominated the price movements during June with nearly a third of all recorded changes across all channels.

In a perfect demonstration of how changeable new car prices are between the main channels to market, one internet retailer (Tins) delivered average savings of 3.2 percent on 100 Renaults, while JamJar slashed an average 11 percent off its discounts on 31 models from the French carmaker. On average, Renault UK forecourt prices fell 0.75 percent.

Peugeot continues to be one of the most volatile manufacturers in the UK new car price landscape. Across all channels, discounts actually plummeted by 2.4 percent in all. However, on closer inspection the downward trend was actually driven by UK suppliers (dealer and internet) who accounted for an average fall in discounts of 4.28 percent.

Conversely importers improved their discounts on a range of Peugeot models by 2.2 percent.

While May saw official UK Mercedes-Benz dealers fight back against internet and importer prices, June recorded a fall in discounts for 93 models - some 32 per cent of the available range.

As UK dealers were forced to offer marginally increased prices, importers began to reduce prices by 1.35 to 1.66 percent on average - a complete reversal of the 1.51 percent average increase in price registered during May.

"There are certainly some great deals available from all the channels, but there are some clear differences between them," Evans said.

"In general, importer prices are the most changeable, one month up the next down. UK dealers are gradually pushing prices down - albeit in fits and starts - but the Internet retailers are playing a wholly different ball game.

"One month, they will be trying to capture ‘Mr & Mrs Aspirational’ with aggressive pricing on Audis, the next they will be selling to the Renault family man.

"In other words, there will be a good deal to suit every car buyer but he or she will have to shop around that little bit harder, and more importantly, that little bit longer to find it."

To view related research reports, please follow the links below:-

The world's car manufacturers: A financial and operating review

A Profile Of The UK Motor Industry