What driver doesn’t love bagging a used car bargain? Saving thousands of pounds can give a warmer glow than spending two weeks on a sun lounger in the Med. And there are few better times of the year than October to buy a great car at a knockdown price.
Every March and September, the registration prefix changes for new cars. It’s a way for drivers and the motor trade to differentiate between the age of cars, and in a nation obsessed about keeping up with the Joneses, the effect is to create dramatic seasonal spikes in new car sales.
This is great news for the canny car buyer. The market is flooded with second-hand cars that have been traded in as a part-exchange, and when there’s more supply than demand, car dealers have to pull together some seriously competitive deals to help sell all that second-hand stock.
The first six months of 2016 have seen a record number of drivers collect the keys to a shiny new car. Car finance has been driving this boom with more than 80 per cent of private buyers using credit to fund their purchase.
For buyers, using car finance is a simple way of enjoying a car they might not be able to own outright. For dealers and manufacturers, the explosion in the popularity of finance means increasing numbers of cars flowing out of showrooms.
However, many consumers don’t realise that it is possible to haggle over how much car finance costs. As we motor towards the September registration change, where around a fifth of the new cars sold this year are expected to leave dealerships, here are some simple steps car buyers can follow to get a better finance deal.
Do you want to end up owning the car?
Not so long ago, choosing optional extras to be fitted to a new car was a guessing game. Unless a dealer had a similar car with fitted with similar options for customers to view, you’d place ticks on an order form and hope for the best. Today, the online car configurator means drivers can easily judge whether larger wheels look better, or if a panoramic sunroof and tan leather upholstery is a better bet than a regular sunroof with black leather trim.
Online configurators are big business. Car companies invest huge sums of money in making them as realistic as possible, because they can make huge sums of money from selling customers optional extras. And the list of those extras is as long as your arm.
Sometimes those options are a good choice. They’ll make driving safer or more comfortable for the owner of the car. But just as often, they’re a waste of money, costing hundreds or even thousands when ordered but worth precious little when the time comes to sell the car.
That’s the view of Rupert Pontin, the Director of Valuations at Glass’s Guide, the organisation that has been monitoring the values of used cars since 1933 – long before there were such things as optional extras.
Glass’s cautions buyers to think before they upgrade. It says that typically, the original cost of any option falls in value faster than the original cost of the car. It’s also better to invest in a higher trim level than to pick a basic car and pile on the options.
So which options are worth adding to a new car? Here are five wise buys.
For drivers, 2016 promises to be a bumper year. It’s getting off to a good start with low fuel prices and will quickly rev up even more as exciting new models go on sale in Britain’s dealers.
There are likely to be incentives to buyers to maintain momentum in the market, and the rise of autonomous, self-driving technology will increasingly find its way into more models. But it’s still the new cars that are the stars in 2016. Here are 20 of the most exciting new models coming to a showroom near you.
It would be nice to imagine that when buying a used car, every vendor is as trustworthy as a girl guide and each handshake worth as much as a legally binding written contract. Sadly, there’s no shortage of unscrupulous, shady characters who make Tony Soprano seem positively saintly. And that’s why it’s important to check a used car’s V5C registration document and MOT.
The V5C is essentially the authorities’ record of who owns, or is responsible for a car. When someone selling a car produces it, a buyer can use the V5C to check that the vehicle is what it claims to be, and that the person selling it is the car’s owner and entitled to sell it.
(Picture © PistonHeads)
Buying a used car involves a degree of luck. But to adapt a quote from famous film producer Samuel Goldwyn: “The harder you work, the luckier you’ll get.” The mantra is one which used car buyers should follow, as the more background checks and research that are carried out, the less chance there is of buying a dodgy motor or being the victim of fraud. These eight checks will help steer drivers towards the used cars that are least likely to let them down. Continue reading