New car sales in the United Kingdom show little sign of slowing and record deliveries of cheaper European imports are expected when ’02’ registered cars start to hit the roads from March 1, according to data from independent price monitor, CarPriceCheck.

With importers and online retailers indicating strong demand during the build up to the March six-monthly registration plate year identifier number switch, CarPriceCheck has registered a 27 percent increase in the number of ‘in-stock’ imports from UK based suppliers since the beginning of the year.

“More and more online retailers and UK dealer Groups are biting the bullet and shipping in popular models from the Continent with 12-20 percent off UK list prices,” said CarPriceCheck chief executive Steve Evans.

“Added to this, you’ll find some importers are cutting the delivery
times dramatically making the whole process more appealing,” says Evans. “People are no longer as cautious about buying an import (a UK-specification car sourced from a mainland Europe dealer) as they were 12 months ago. Suppliers know this and have prepared accordingly to meet the demand.”

Evans said the new car market is very buoyant and aggressive pricing on key volume models has helped drive sales and sustain the kind of growth experienced towards the end of last year. This coupled with low interest rates, means “buyers are not holding back.”

On a basket of the top 10 models from 2001, CarPriceCheck was able to source an average £2,050 saving off the UK manufacturer’s on the road list price through a selection of franchised dealers, internet retailers and importers – all with immediate delivery or a maximum wait of four weeks. Only 40 percent of the sample were classified as ‘in stock’ imports.