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Save up to $15,000 on a ‘new’ car

Shopping for a new car? Try looking for demo on near-new models – you could save up to $15,000. Up to 16,000 vehicles are being counted as new car sales, despite being later sold as used or demo models with more than a third having travelled less than 50kms.

According to the Australian Financial Review (AFR), the majority of the cars are being sold as near-new or demonstrator models, with discounts of up to $15,000 on new car prices, but are being included in new car sales figures. Manufacturers and importers pre-register cars to meet their production forecasts and collect on bonuses, while dealers pre-register, so it looks like they are selling stock, but instead are cashing in on volume bonuses from the manufacturers, while selling the cars as demo models.

A search of online classified site Carsales.com (ASX: CRZ) by the AFR, has shown that 16,691 cars are listed in the near-new or demo category, with 6,200 of them having travelled less than 50km. The newspaper also stated that there were 2010 and 2011 models that have travelled less than 5kms, selling as used cars. The implication being that these cars had been sitting in dealers yards for some time, despite being recorded as new car sales.

Related: Car prices set to fall

The report suggests that the car market in Australia needs more transparency in its operations and could be heading for a shake-up. The very skinny profit margins for listed car dealerships like Automotive Holdings Group  (ASX: AHE) and AP Eagers (ASX: APE) suggest that in a tough sector, participants are struggling to make a profit. For used car dealers, business appears even tougher, with new cars released straight into the used car market at discounted prices, if the report is correct. And its not just the dealers, but car part manufacturers that are struggling. Last week Autodom Limited (ASX: AIE) shut down its plants in Melbourne and Adelaide, and collapsed into administration.

Foolish takeaway

The proliferation of car makes in Australia, with 64 brands competing here currently, and the expected arrival of more from China suggests things aren’t going to get better any time soon. The car industry certainly doesn’t appear too healthy at the moment – despite the record numbers of new car sales being recorded, or as some believe – jacked up.

If you only invest in one company this year, make it our “Top Stock for 2012-13”. Operating in two hot markets — one set to double by 2012, the other predicted to grow 5x over the next five years — this stock is a solid growth play that also boasts strong recurring revenue, zero debt, and lots of cash. Get its name and full research case in this brand-new FREE report.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.  The Motley Fool ’s purpose is to help the world invest, better.  Take Stock  is The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead.  Click here now  to request your free subscription, whilst it’s still available. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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