New car discounts bigger on diesels than petrols… but only just

What Car? Target Price research reveals latest findings

New car buyers can get the biggest savings off list prices on diesel cars according to the latest research by Britain’s leading consumer champion and new car buying platform, What Car?

Analysis of the UK car market by What Car?’s Target Price mystery shoppers found the average discount on a new diesel car at the beginning of March was 7.82 per cent off the list price, or £2731. Discounts on diesel were only marginally higher than for petrol models, which stood at 7.11 per cent or £2101.

The smallest discount was available on fully electric cars, which were discounted on average by 2.96 per cent and £746, reflecting their desirability, smaller profit margins and – in some cases – a shortage of supply.

Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?, said: “Although the slump in diesel sales has hit hard in the past 18 months, the latest figures suggest that manufacturers have now got a handle on supply and matched it to consumer demand, meaning they don’t have to discount as aggressively in order to sell stock.

“However, our mystery shoppers have discovered that there are still great savings to be made. And with the latest diesels having to hit tougher-than-ever environmental standards, they can still be a great choice for car buyers. Diesels still achieve 20 per cent better fuel economy than their petrol counterparts*, making them ideal for long distance drivers, or those who use their vehicle for towing heavy loads.”

All new cars are available to buy with at least the Target Price discount saving through What Car?’s website,

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), March saw a 21.4 per cent drop in new diesel registrations, while petrol was up by 5.1 per cent. Diesel’s overall market stood at 27.4 per cent.

Across all makes, models and fuel types from January to March, Citroen offered the biggest percentage discounts – with buyers saving on average 11.41 per cent off the list price. Volkswagen vehicles came with the second largest percentage discounts, while Vauxhall and Seat offered the third and fourth largest savings to new car buyers.

Average discounts across all brands dropped from 7.14 per cent in January to 6.95 per cent in March, with new car buyers receiving on average £2652 off the list price at the beginning of March.

Huntingford added: “As well as researching the savings available on new cars, we can link buyers to new car dealers willing to sell the cars at those prices via As our latest Target Price report shows, the average discount across all makes and models stood at £2652 – meaning there are big savings to be made.”

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