Discounts on six marques make Hong Kong a car buyer’s market

Scale of discounts highlight the margins dealers tried to make at the expense of consumers

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 September, 2016, 5:01pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 September, 2016, 10:24pm

Inchcape slashes dealers’ prices

Hong Kong’s car world is showing signs of becoming a buyer’s market. Two weeks ago, six Inchcape group car dealerships offered significant discounts on 25 vehicles in a group promotion. The write-downs covered six marques – Toyota, Lexus, Jaguar, Land Rover, Ford and Maxus – and ranged from HK$13,600 off a tiny 1.5-litre Toyota Spade, to HK$221,000 off a Jaguar XF 25T R Sport, and a HK$405,383 discount off a Range Rover Sport 3.0 HSE. The group’s Ford prices look attractive, with HK$30,000 off a Transit, from HK$239,900; HK$50,000 off the excellent Kuga, at HK$299,900; and our buy of the week, with HK$30,000 off the fabulous Fiesta 1.0 compact, from HK$149,900. Inchcape’s generosity suggests a seasonal clear-out, but the scale of the discounts also highlight the margins many dealers tried to achieve at consumers’ expense this year.

McLaren 570GT reveals seductive power

Lan Kwai Fong was the ideal place for the September 8 local launch of the McLaren 570GT. The sleek, HK$3.4-million two-seater is one of those flashy supercars that are often seen outside the area’s hot spots. So, the marque therefore switched on the superlatives for the Playboy-mobile’s “elegance, performance and comfort”.

This “fine, exquisite and seductive 570GT, will bring you the most irresistible experience you have ever had” in the “sweeping roads and challenging landscape” of Hong Kong, said Peter Sell, regional sales manager of McLaren Automotive Asia-Pacific.

Launched in Geneva in March, the 562-horsepower McLaren 570GT has an aluminium body, a carbon fibre chassis and a twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V8 that produces 600Nm of torque and does the 100km/h dash in just 3.4 seconds.

Built for touring, with a top speed of 328km/h, the 1,350kg 570GT has a quieter exhaust than the 570S Coupe and the 533hp 540 Coupe. The tourer also has more luggage space, with a standard 150 litres of stowage in the front, but with an extra 220 litres for a beauty box, a couple of wash bags and a case in the back.

The luggage area’s undulating floor might ease the lug of baggage, but the nearside-opening glass roof could tempt thieves in less-well-policed areas over the border. Even so, the marque says it has improved the model’s cabin access with low sills and more upward-opening dihedral doors, just in case anyone missed its arrival.

The cabin’s red leather seats add a gaudy, pimpish quality to a car that seems built for high-octane, cross-border revs.

Tesla 1, BMW 3

Tesla has opened its main Hong Kong service centre – the world’s largest – on Castle Peak Road, Tsuen Wan, but BMW stole the city’s plug-in limelight when it announced that it would provide three auxillary cars for the Hong Kong Formula E event on the Central Waterfront on October 8 and 9. The BMW i8 (HK$2.75 million) will be the event’s safety car; the BMW X5 xDrive 40e (HK$(HK$899,900) will be the rescue car; and the new range-extended all-electric BMW i3 will be the medical car.

Beetle chutes Bonneville record

Finally, a Volkswagen Beetle set a new mile record, at 328.195km/h, at the World of Speed event in Lake Bonneville, Utah on September 19. The 500ps Beetle LSR (Land Speed Record) managed 571Nm of torque from a turbocharged 2.0-litre direct-injection engine. It also had special wheels and tyres for driving on salt; a lowered body to reduce drag; and limited-slip differential to improve traction. Its safety gear included a rollover protection cage; racing seat and harness; a fire-extinguishing system - and two brake parachutes to slow down the Beetle. Herbie would be proud.