Getting the right deal - new
Where to buy? How to get the best price? How to approach the test drive?
Where to buy
Using a franchised car dealership can save you a lot of time and trouble, especially if they are contracted to one manufacturer. Even if you purchase the vehicle from another source the chances are good that your car will be serviced and maintained by that particular dealership. That works well for you as the customer because the dealership will have a good relationship with the manufacturer and be able to use their influence to assist you.
Car supermarkets concentrate on getting as many new cars from as many brands as possible provided they can make a good profit on it. You’re likely to find a lot of Fords and not many BMW’s for that very reason. Do not expect the shiny showrooms and test drives of a franchised car dealership. These places are the exact opposite of dealerships and their motto is “Pile it high, sell it cheap”. Some of these cars may have been imported from Europe by the supermarkets themselves while the bulk of the cars are from UK manufacturers and importers who are offloading their surplus stock. Ask the dealer what type of car you’re getting as the origin of the car could influence not only the resale value but also carry a better warranty.
A couple of years back, with the Internet becoming indispensable to everyone, there was talk of “brick and mortar” dealerships being replaced by virtual dealerships. That has still to happen as the biggest portion of buyers use the internet mainly to do research on cars and only a very small percentage would consider using an internet-only car seller.
The big trade in “parallel” imports just a couple of years ago was stopped by the recent strength of the Euro which made the British prices appear as though they’re good value. These days only the really big operators remain in business.
If you are considering buying a parallel import vehicle look out for:
* Delivery times: You might have to wait a couple of months to receive that gorgeous car and when delivery finally takes place, chances are good that the price has shot up in the interim. Most importers these days only sell what they have available. It works to your advantage because you no longer have to wait for them to find your specific car.
* Specifications: You want to know your used Ford car imported from Italy will be the same as any other used Ford car from the UK – our specifications are generally higher than elsewhere. Get the dealer to put the specification in writing and also compare the car’s equipment to a list of equipment you can find in a UK brochure. Do this and you won’t suffer any nasty surprises such as receiving steel wheels but expecting alloys. It might not matter much to you either way, but it might matter to any future buyers. The standard warranty is Pan-European, however, that might only be valid for a period of 12 months in certain countries. If the vehicle is UK-sourced, on the other hand, it might come with a default extended 36 month warranty.
Be extra careful when trying to locate a car from outside the EU as it could mean it’s from Japan – a Japanese warranty dsn’t mean much to UK consumers. The car could even have an entirely different specification and with no rust-proofing underseal as the Japanese do not require it. When buying from outside the UK, you will be forced to rely on the honesty of the company you are buying the used car from. Also remember that the resale value might be much lower than that of a UK-sourced vehicle.
Pre-registered cars have become an option for many buyers. These are brand new cars that have been bought and registered by dealers who wish to qualify for trade discounts from the manufacturers and are then sold to the general public at much reduced prices. Cars depreciate the most after they have been registered so this would be a fantastic way to save money. You could save up to 30% off the price listed even though the car only sports 5 miles on the clock.
Getting the best price
Different car dealers may have varying desperation levels to sell their used cars. Very few of them are in the lucky position of being able to make customers wait for months to buy a top-end model. These dealers might not be willing to agree to a discount on the asking price, however, it is always a good idea to ask. If they still refuse to budge, feel free to shop around and see if other dealers can give you a better deal.
How much discount
A car dealership is unlikely to offer a substantial discount on cars that are in high demand. Cars such as the Mini Convertible have been in such high demand that there is a waiting list so car dealers might never reduce the price. Buyers who are keen on saving money are well advised to purchase a less trendy model. Car dealers may be willing to reduce the price of these vehicles by 15%, or more.
Cars that are on the verge of being replaced with newer versions are frequently sold at substantial discounts; however, its resale value will drop accordingly.
Potential buyers with a small budget might want to look around for special short-term promotional deals, such as 0% finance, guaranteed trade-in values, and free insurance. Most of these deals could be classed as a different form of discount on the list price.
Taking the test drive
This may seem silly to suggest, and a fairly obvious thing to do but some people do get carried away by all the excitement and buy a car without taking it for a test drive. Take the car for a proper test drive. Five minutes around the block ds not count. Test the car on as many roads as is realistic to test how its performance. You are spending a fair amount of money and deserve the best you can afford.