The slowdown has been triggered by weakening demand in the market, which has seen only a below-inflation 0.6% increase in average prices during the past year, averaging just £79 per vehicle.
Alan Cole, editorial consultant for Glass’s Market Intelligence Service, said: ‘The March registration plate change inevitably brought some added impetus to the UK’s new car market, but sales activity so far in 2005 still remains down on last year. This makes the continued easing back in list price inflation look likely for several months to come. However, we should not rule out the distinct possibility that one of the major manufacturers could increase prices, which would encourage others to follow suit.’
The Audi Allroad 2.7T quattro limited edition estate recorded the largest price increase over the past year of 2.9%. The Volkswagen Phaeton 3.0 TDI V6 4Motion slipped 11%. The upper-medium sector increased 2.2% year-on-year with most models gaining £300-£500.
The compact MPV sector, including the Focus C-Max and Renault Scenic, also gained 2.2%, which Glass’s believes was influenced by several models at the upper end of the pricing range, such as the Toyota Corolla and Honda FRV. Superminis fell by 1.7%, caused by a greater availability of smaller, more affordable diesel engines according to Glass’s.The compact executive sector saw modest increases of 0.1% but the large executive sector fell 1.1%.