Half-price new cars as crunch bites

Half-price new cars are becoming a reality as the credit crunch bites down on production lines, according to What Car? magazine.

It says that the best deals for eight years mean average discounts of nearly £2,000 - £244 more than at the beginning of the year.

And as the economic downturn really begins to hurt dealers and manufacturers, some cars are being offered at 45% less than the list price.

Editor Steve Fowler said: "Even if you're not comfortable haggling, it should be simple to get a brilliant bargain. With so few buyers, sales staff will be almost begging you to make an offer."

The magazine says Ford Fiestas are on sale at 15% off, while buyers can get 10% off a Volkswagen Golf.

Even top-of-the-range marques such as Jaguar are not immune, with someone ready to shop around getting as much as £11,500 off the price a Jaguar XJ.

New car sales in the UK have plunged over the past three months, and are set to fall further over the winter, which is notoriously slow even when the economy is doing well.

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