LONDON (Reuters Life!) - If you are looking to buy a new car in Britain, get ready to make your move.
Monday March 23 has been named as the best car-buying day of 2009. Price cuts, high stock availability and bonus-chasing dealers make it the optimum time to find a new set of wheels before prices on new and used vehicles start to go up again in the summer, according to car-buying website Parker's.
Anyone looking for a new car now stands to make a substantial saving on what they would have paid 12 months ago, the website said.
It is at the end of the month that dealers start offering the most attractive discounts to help them meet monthly sales targets. The widest range will likely be available on Monday before bargains are snapped up.
There is also the widest available selection of used cars part-exchanged for new '09 registration plate models and March is likely to be the last month that there will be such a range of new cars available at discount prices.
Parker's said that the biggest discounts will start to disappear as existing stocks of new cars are run down, while production cuts will bring supply into line with demand by the end of the year.
Two other factors may also tend to increase prices: manufacturers are facing increased import costs as the pound remains weak and an increase in value added tax (VAT) of at least 2.5 percent comes into effect later this year.
Anyone with an older car may want to wait, however, as the British government is expected to announce a "cash-for-scrap" scheme in the budget on April 22 that would see a sum paid to owners of older cars to contribute toward a new model.
Kieren Puffett, editor of Parker's, said: "The car market is unlikely to see another March like this -- there are thousands of bargains out there.
"But there are signs this won't last forever. The used market is picking up, stocks of cars will soon be run down and some car manufacturers will raise their prices by the end of the year."
Reporting by Ross Chainey; Editing by Steve Addison