New car buyers can look forward to a return of dollar deals over the next six months.

    As customer demand starts to slow, partly as a result of interest rates and also the rising cost of living, a number of price-focussed brands are predicting a return to normal business in showrooms.

    That means drive-away pricing without excessive dealer delivery costs, as well as runout clearances and the ability for buyers to negotiate instead of having to take a number on a full-priced waiting list. Discounting is also likely to return.

    Two of the leading Chinese brands, GWM and LDV, are among the price leaders as things begin to return to normal.

    “It’s been business as normal for us for the past few months,” the general manager of LDV Australia, Dinesh Chinnappa, told CarExpert.

    “We’ve been [advertising] in market for about the last four months. Since our supply issues returned to normal.”

    Mr Chinnappa said buyers should not expect any fire sales or huge discounts, just a return to the normal sales process before the COVID-19 pandemic and more than a year of shipping disruptions.

    GWM is currently advertising special pricing on vehicles with 2023 build plates, even with more than two months until the end of the year.

    The savings run from $500 to $2000 on the drive-away pricing, dependent on model.

    “We’ve not desperate. Our retail campaign is only one of four brand-new marketing campaigns we’ve launched this year,” the head of marketing and communications at Haval and Great Wall Motor Australia, Steve Maciver, told CarExpert.

    “We’re pushing ahead on the brand front but it’s important to have retail support as well. We’ve had relatively good supply for the past 12 months.”

    Although the current sales program offers a saving of up to $2000 on some models, Mr Maciver said it is not unusual for the company.

    “It’s part of an ongoing retail strategy. We run retail campaigns most quarters,” he said.

    “It’s not out of the ordinary for us. We also did a plate clearance last year.

    “We’ve got some good supply at the moment. We’ve also got plenty of new product arriving in 2024 and we’d like to clear the decks.”

    GWM is aiming for a new Australian sales record in 2023, with deliveries up by 58.1 per cent through the first nine months of the year to 25,887.

    Mr Maciver is not prepared to reveal a sales target, but it’s likely to be around 35,000 – potentially enough to put it into the top 10 brands.

    “I don’t have a crystal ball. [But] other OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) aren’t going to sit back and let us take volume from them,” he said.

    “We think we’ll be firmly into the top 10 in the not-too-distant future. There is a lot of ambition here. Plenty of quality new product coming through.”

    He said GWM has seen rapid growth in the past four years, partly through expanding the Australian dealer network.

    “Product is the key thing. Everyone would agree that the quality, safety and build quality is helping. Customers are coming to the brand,” he said.

    “Tank 300 is the big opportunity. After receiving cars in earnest, with back orders being delivered, it would be worth up to 400 or 500 [sales] a month for us.

    “It’s sitting in white space. It’s a vehicle with off-road capability and five-star ANCAP. I cannot think of many others that sit in the (sub-$50,000) price bracket.”

    According to Mr Maciver, the Tank 500 seven-seater is being seriously considered for Australia after previously confirming the Shanhai Cannon, a larger version of the GWM Ute.

    “The pace of investment in R&D is incredible. The rate of change and product renewal is happening a lot more quickly,” he said.

    MORE: When larger, more luxurious GWM ute and SUV are expected in Australia

    Paul Gover

    Paul Gover is one of the most experienced and respected motoring journalists in Australia. After more than 40 years on the automotive beat there is nothing he has not done, yet he still brings the enthusiasm of a rookie. He has worked in print, digital, radio, television and for every major publisher in the country. He is also a national motor racing champion and once co-drove with Peter Brock at Bathurst.

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