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Having just purchased a new car, and having worked in the motor trade for over 20 years I thought it maybe helpful to give some advice on buying a brand new car.
When you consider it is the highest capital outlay, except of course buying your own home, buying a car should not be entered into lightly. We all have our preconceptions about what make and model will do for us, be it social standing or just doing a job getting us from A to B. I think most people form an attachment to Brands as well; it can say something about you as a person, your wealth, your lifestyle, your aspirations.
That maybe all well and good but lets look at the motor trade and what they want from you. Obviously they want your money, they want repeat business, and they want to service your car.
Hopefully I can dispel a few myths and help you make an informed choice. So let's go step by step through the process.
Desires and Reality ===============
I think most of us have a make and model in mind when looking for a new car. Their friends might have one, parents might have always bought that brand, or even the TV advert has wowed you. I think normally you see a car on the road or drive passed a showroom and slowly you form an opinion about that car, and how it would suit your lifestyle, impress your friends and family, or just get you about for the least amount of money.
The reality is most people are not suited to their cars, and I think it is a crime that car salespeople do not do more to sell the right car to the right person.
I constantly see, let's say older people driving round in big saloons or coupes with high performance engines. Do they ever use the potential of that car, especially when you see them struggling into car parking spaces.
How often do I see a small family saloon overflowing with kids and all their paraphernalia, are all the kids seats properly in approved child seats. I could go on. But one thing I did see that made me smile was a Family that pulled up outside Mrs Scenic restaurant in a Mazda RX8 (A small 4 door coupe) Dad jumped out admiring his purchase, while Mum was shoehorning the two Teenage boys and younger girl out of the back. You see where I coming from.
Get Help =======
With so much information available these days, do your homework. The internet of course is our greatest tool in gathering information and making informed choice.
There are some excellent magazines on sale, which give impartial advice and group test 4 or 5 models that would fit your needs. What car I would recommend as this not only gives you very good road tests, but also gives great advice on all aspects of car purchase and running costs.
So you know what type of car you want, engine, and specification, now's the time to shortlist.
1. Your budget, don't forget all the other costs involved. Insurance, servicing. 2. Your cost to change. That is the price of the new car, less the value of your old car. (You can get a good idea of value on what cars website) 3. You will now have
a figure that you can compare between different brands 4. Draw up a list of at least 4 models that fit your budget and needs. Try also to list brands that you had discounted in your original thoughts
Dealer Visit and Test Drive =====================
Even if you are thinking of buying from a car Broker/ Importer or direct from the manufacturer go into a dealer and "touch the car". Walk around, look at the car, speak to a salesperson and get a test drive.
Try to visit on a week day; you'll be amazed by the dedication of the salesperson. If you go on a weekend that same salesperson, although interested will appraise is customers and spend time with the more likely sale, and leave the "still at the looking stage" to their own devices.
Take your driving licence with you, and if offered a test drive ask to have the car for a couple of hours. Now depending on where you live, the type of car you want to drive, and how definite you are about buying the car, may depend on what they will offer you. They should allow you to drive the car on your own if you have your licence with you, and fill up a insurance form (Make sure you find out the excess, as some dealers insurance policy's only cover from the first £1000 of damage, leaving you with a hefty bill if you prang their pride and joy)
If you like the car, ask to drive an older car. I.e. a year old or one that has done at least 12000 miles, this will give you an indication of how your car will feel after a years motoring, and believe me some cars can feel a lot different.
Once back at the dealership your salesperson will immediately engage you in a sales negotiation, so beware, this is where you need to think with head and not heart.
Your salesperson will in the next few sentences evaluate their possible sale. Now at this point I must stress that Car Salespeople are not the villains you may think they are. Manufacturers and Dealer groups spend huge amounts of money training them, and most are professional and know their product knowledge, but also know their customer.
They will however have read your body language and your answers to their questions, and they know where to take conversation and maximize their sales prospect.
Once they know you are interested in the car they will then hit you with a series of "drill down" questions, not to force you into anything, but to find out about your old car, your financial position, and time scale. Be honest about these questions as your Salesperson is doing this in your interest, from that information he/she will be formulating a deal which he/she will hope you will buy on.
What will come next is a price for your car. Before you go in even if you just run it through the car wash it will make a difference. I spent a good 4 hours on my Scenic inside and out and it did look good when I took it to the dealer. It will help the price.
They will then ask about finance for your new car. Dealers and salespeople make commission on selling finance so they will offer a package to you. Be it straight hire purchaser or PCP (PCP is Personal Contract Purchase, where for a lower monthly fee and agreed mileage limit you in effect hire the car for an agreed period at the end of which a minimum value for the car is worked out, so at the end of say three years you have £5000 left to pay on the car, you can give the car back and walk away, give the car back and take a new agreement out on a new car or pay the £5000 and the car is yours)
They will ask when you are looking to buy. Dealers have allocations of cars; again they get a certain amount of rebate from the Manufacturer if they sell their allocation.
So your next set of questions will be.
How much can you give me for my car, let them make and offer, and comeback with the amount you think its worth.
Make sure you can see details of finance offered in full, some dealers have a business manager who is FSA regulated to give this advice.
Ask the lead time of the car, do be afraid to ask if the Manufacturer is doing any special deals in the near future, and see what cars maybe in stock. You maybe be able to get more discount for a stock car if you can live with the colour or spec it has.
So by now you should have a "price to change figure" on the table. A Finance deal to consider. And a lead time or delivery date.
DO NOTHING NOW.
If you go silent the Salesperson will have to do some work now. They might say "This offer is open till the end of the month, day. Ignore that, dealers know that high pressure sales methods don't work these days.
You now need to walk away, thank them for their time, and go on to the next dealer or go home have a cup of tea, get the figures out and then think hard about what you have been offered and then compare it with the other cars you have seen.
Second Visit ==========
On your second visit the Salesperson now knows you are 80-90% there on your decision. They may offer you that longer test drive, but they know they have tipped the balance in favour of a sale. You have in the meantime, phoned other dealers to get a price on the same car, checked out the online brokers, checked the Manufacturers website for more information, got an insurance quote and finally checked out an alternative source of finance. But did you look at what this car might be worth in three years time? How much it cost to service over those three years?
You will now have an idea of specification, colour, and done the options list. You're like a kid in the sweet shop. "Shall I get the L or LX, I could get the L with the LX wheels as an option, but what about air con, must have air con. Go on then I'll have the LX"
Don't whatever you do, do the above in front of the Salesperson; you will find a red laser dot on your forehead and a grinning salesperson pulling the trigger.
Make your decision about options at home, you may have to have a first, second and third choice on colour.
The other thing to remember about options is when you come to sell the
Pictures of Buying A New Car
Say goodbye to the Scenic
car. If you put £1500 of optional equipment on a car you will never get it back reflected in the part exchange value of your car, indeed some options will lower the value of the car as they can make it difficult to sell as a used car. I should also mention car colours here as well, choose your colours wisely as that can mean anything up to £500 on the part exchange value, your salesperson should advise on safer colours as regards trade in value.This way you go to the Salesperson with a clear head about what you want, and they know that they are dealing with a serious buyer who knows what they want and have a clear price on what they will pay.
So your salesperson will input all that data. Be direct and ask for the "Price to change" and not get involved in the single amounts for your old car, the price for the new car. This figure must then fall in your budget, if it does not, then you need to tell them it does not and then begin the negotiation process. This will involve them going to a Manager to ok the deal that he is offering.
Now I can't speak for all manufactures or dealer groups, but most will offer about 3-5% straight off, you can however get anything up to 20-25% again this would be a model that is being replaced or has been in stock for a while. Again we come back to research and how flexible you are about what you drive, but the deals are out there.
Now you may have had a better deal offered, either by way of better part exchange deal, more discount off the new car. If the price fits your budget don't sign then, try for some more, maybe through what I call "add on" mats, mud flaps, full tank of fuel etc.
If then you're happy, and I mean happy with the spec, the finance (If you took it) the delivery date. Sign up and away you go.
I did mention other ways of buying a car. ===============================
Broker ===== Brokers have driven better deals from dealers. You are basically buying from a dealer, but the broker has done the deal for you. Look for hidden extras
Importing ======== Not as popular as a few years back, but you can still grab a bargain.
The downside of the above is; you may not be able to part exchange your old car or the price is the lowest book price as the car is unseen. Check warranties, and delivery times as brokers have to reach a target before they get the deal, they will take your order and leave the delivery date to be confirmed and that could take months.
My Advice ========
I would advise buying from a dealer. You have more leverage should something go wrong, they would like to service your car, and warranty claims are pursued harder if you buy the car from them. After all they want you to come back and buy another car from them, don't they?
Finance ====== Personally speaking I think the best way to go is by personal loan if you need to raise money for a car, there a dozens of loan companies that are offering competitive rates to car Manufacturers interest rates, but having said that a lot of Manufacturers are offering 0% deals, but don't expect a big discount off the price of the car with that.
I hope this has been of help and interest to you. Like all things the more work you put in the more you should get out of it. Happy Dealing.
And don't forget the look out for what Getscenic bought next!