Car prices set to zoom
4:00AM Sunday Feb 15, 2009
Andrea Milner

New and used car prices are about to increase sharply, so prospective buyers should act now, motoring industry leaders say.

Motor Industry Association chief executive Perry Kerr says the industry is looking at a potential 40 per cent price increase driven by the falling dollar.

Another price-driver is the introduction of emissions standards, which limit imports to later-model, more-expensive vehicles.

If you can buy a car that's been in stock in New Zealand bought at a better exchange rate, then you may never buy that car cheaper, the Automobile Association's Jack Biddle says.

Figures for new and used car sales have fallen and Kerr says it is a good time to bargain with dealers, most of whose margins are about 10 per cent.

A dealer pays the finance cost of a car while it is on the floor, so will be keen to move stock. Biddle says salespeople will "do their utmost" to sell a car - and that may mean a discount or other incentive, such as fitting a tow bar or giving the best possible price on a trade-in. "You can never offend a salesman," says Biddle. "Ask them if this is the best deal they can do for you."

More here.