French car makers have stripped their prices and now Renault is doing all kinds of fan dances to lure buyers.
It's all part of a bid to score a few more sales off the Japanese and Koreans.
Until recently, a French small car such as the Peugeot 308 was about $5000 pricier than the likes of a Toyota Corolla or Mazda3.
These days the gap is around $2000.
The same goes for other similar-size Gallic cars - the Citroen C4 (an auto), Renault Megane and Renault Fluence - each of which kicks off at $22,990 plus on-road costs.
In the mini-car arena, Peugeot's coming 208 line-up is tipped to be priced from $16,990.
Next year, Renault will deliver a new Clio compact car, which is likely to have a similar price tag.
Among swish and roomy sedans, Peugeot's 508 starts at $36,990 while Citroen's C5 is even lighter on the wallet, at $32,990. Five years ago, such cars would have been $10,000 more.
But the French model I'm focusing on here is one I tested recently, the Renault Koleos.
It's a smart mid-size SUV that has four strong sales boosters.
One, it has a reduced price tag on the entry variant, a 2.5-litre petrol manual 2WD.
The $29,990 drive-away figure is less than the sector's sales leader in WA, the Toyota Rav4, and $3000 under the Koleos' asking price when it arrived in 2009.
The second lure is Renault's across-the-range five-year warranty, which is unique for European-brand cars.
Thirdly, people who buy a Renault before the end of September receive capped-price servicing for up to three years.
And lastly, no-interest and no-deposit finance is available on the Renault range to approved buyers until September 30.
The service/finance offers could save buyers a combined $4200 over three years. Let's see how.
Koleos services are at intervals of one year or 10,000km.
They usually cost $360, $475 and $360 for the first three. But the special deal caps each at $199, an overall saving of about $600.
If a buyer financed $30,000 over 36 months at zero per cent with no residual, the monthly repayment would be about $835.
But had the buyer been charged 8 per cent, the monthly payment would have been about $100 more.
So the no-interest finance saves about $3600 over three years.
There is a rider to the $29,990 drive-away pricing.
It's a good deal if you're happy with an entry manual 2WD.
However, if you wanted an auto, a 4WD or a higher spec the price tags are competitive but unremarkable.
The entry model in auto is $34,599 drive away, a big jump.
A mid-spec Dynamique auto is $38,960 drive away.
There's also a range of auto petrol and diesel 4WDs, topping out at just over $50,000 drive away for one with all the fruit.
However, factor in the warranty, service and finance deals and things look somewhat sweeter.Model: Renault Koleos
Variant: 2.5-litre petrol Expresssion 2WD with six-speed manual
Type: Mid-size entry-level SUV
Price: $29,990 drive-away
Warranty: Five years
Service cap: $199 for up to 3 years
Finance: Zero per cent and no deposit to approved buyers*
- Available until September 30
VERDICT It's a smart mid-size SUV that is putting out four strong attractants to buyers.