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I chose to buy a new shape Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 5 door because :
- low insurance (Group 2); - 1.2 is a chain-driven engine so don't need to worry about cambelt changes; - Fuel economy good (petrol 1.2 can get 50 mpg on long runs); - Size (New shape Vauxhall Corsa is one of largest superminis on the market); - cheap running costs (service intervals 20,000 miles or once a year whichever comes earlier) - my first service cost £120; - Image (Corsa has 'trendy'image); - Depreciation (Corsas depreciate heavily in their first year, but this should work to the advantage of a buyer looking for a nearly new car up to a year old - the Corsa should be the cheapest on the market in this respect).
I searched around various dealers, and Motorpoint of Derby came up with the best deal (£5,600 for a 6 month old June 2002 Corsa 1.2 at 13,000 miles). You tend to get the impression that Motorpoint 'sell'em cheap & pack'em high' when you visit their site at Derby. Some of the Corsas I inspected on site were certainly not in 'showroom condition', and I think the cars would have been delivered straight from the auction, with cigarette burns on seats, passenger cabins dirty etc.
When you buy the car, you can pay for a valet (£50 - but I think this was necessary given the condition of the car interior), together with European number plates (extra £20).
I bought the car towards the end of the month (January 2003), but tried to negotiate with the salesman to pick it up the first day of February. You need to purchase a tax disk for the car, and to do this I needed a Motor Insurance certificate as my current Insurance expired at the end of January. Here is where Motorpoint proved to be inflexible, with the salesman insisting that I collect the car at the end of the month obviously so he could meet his monthly targets. I explained to him my predicament saying I was worried that the Insurance documents would not come through in time. His response was that I would have to drive the car 15 miles to Nottingham with a cover note saying the tax disk would be purchased soon if I was stopped by the police. He added that if I couldn't meet their deadlines for collecting the car, then the sale wouldn't go through. When you sign the documents and the purchase receipt form from Motorpoint for the car, you really have to read the small print carefully, as there is a clause which says that if you can't meet Motorpoint's delivery deadlines then the deal would not go through.
In the end,the Insurance Certificate came in on time, I got the tax disk, and I was able to collect the car on time. My case was probably unusual, but in the end Motorpoint met my 'bottom line', and that was important in the end.