Fleet News

Monitor group claims European imports are at record levels

AN independent monitor group claims a record number of cut-price cars are being imported into the UK from Europe.

CarPriceCheck says its investigation has unearthed a growing number of buyers wanting 'cheaper cars today, not tomorrow'. It claims that an imported new Land Rover can cost £5,000 less when importing one from abroad.

The company claims that on an average day, dealer forecourts and virtual showrooms house up to 6,000 imported models. And it has calculated that the combined cost of this parc of 6,000 imports represents savings worth £15 million on UK list prices.

CarPriceCheck believes the number could swell to 9,000 during the last weekend in August as the market prepares for a registration plate change on September 1.

'People want the best of both worlds – cheaper cars that they can drive away today not tomorrow. An increasing number want the deals on offer from Europe but without the sometimes lengthy wait,' said CarPriceCheck chief executive Steve Evans.

'As a result of car supermarkets, internet retailing and traditional dealers have been bulk ordering more and more popular models from the continent before actually finding UK buyers for them. Retailers are simply taking the initiative in bigger numbers now.'

Explaining the downside to buying such an imported car, Evans said: 'The consumer can't be too picky about the colour, trim and options as you would if you bought a build-to-order import or through the franchised dealer network.

'Colour does, however, become superfluous when you're saving £5,000 off a new Land Rover.'

The company also claims that franchised dealers are cashing in on the trend.

'Dealers have been quick to realise that import sales need to form part of their business even before the EU officially changes the way cars are sold across the continent.

'The forward-thinkers realise they can attract buyers by trading on the traditional customer back-up and service support they are able to offer as franchised dealerships,' Evans added.

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