Fleet News

Tax windfall for Vauxhall buyers

A BENEFIT-in-kind tax cut is definite for company car drivers taking on some Vauxhall cars after the firm cut screen prices by up to 12%, but transaction prices will remain unaffected for fleets, or could rise in some cases.

The decision to cut prices follows Ford's decision to slash its own prices by up to 13.1%, which immediately raised expectations of price cuts by key rivals, including Vauxhall. As with Ford's price cuts, while screen prices are coming down, the price fleet customers pay for cars is unlikely to be affected.

Bill Parfitt, fleet operations director, said: 'Our intention is for transaction prices to stay the same, but some may go down, some may go up, but we will remain competitive. Drivers will benefit with lower benefit-in-kind tax.'

Vauxhall is in talks with leasing companies and residual value experts to ensure residual values are unaffected by the move. It is funding the cuts through an unspecified cut in dealer margins and retail buyers could see an end to many offers such as 0% finance and free insurance. Not all Vauxhall models are included, most importantly Vectra and Omega, and the Agila is also unchanged. The moves also see all models now carrying a free three- year/60,000-mile warranty. A new mobility pledge guarantees AA breakdown assistance for all three years, plus a free loan car if the vehicle is off the road for more than 24 hours.

The extended warranty does not require the vehicle to be serviced by Vauxhall dealerships, but the mobility pledge does. Price cuts, which were launched on Monday, will see the price of the Astra fall by 9% on average, with the 1.6 16-valve SXi falling by £1,500.

The list price of the Zafira is cut by 4% on average and the Tigra by 11%, with the 1.4i 16-valve falling from £13,400 to £11,900. The Frontera Sport falls in price from £18,170 to £16,495, a difference of £1,675. Astra Coupe prices fall 5.7% on average, with the Coupe Turbo offered with an on-the-road price of £18,995.

Nick Reilly, Vauxhall chairman and managing director, said: 'We have decided to make permanent and even more transparent the value of our offers by including them in our list prices. We have raised the benchmark for a volume car brand by offering an industry-leading package of customer care, convenience and price.'

Vauxhall will also become the first manufacturer to offer its entire range for sale over the internet from November 9. Currently, just a small range of special edition vehicles have been offered, with 1,200 sold since launch, but the firm expects several thousand sales once the number of vehicles available is enhanced.

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