Fabulous deals on wheels don’t just depend on what you buy: when you buy is just as important. Keep close tabs on the calendar in order to make the most of all seasonal factors that have an impact on the car trade business.
When to buy a new car?
There is no doubt that choosing the right time to buy a car could help you save thousands of pounds.
At the end of a quarter, dealers may be very particular about meeting their targets. After all, clued up dealers understand that wedged-up buyers are quite small in number, and most are willing to bide their time to find the right deal. That’s why, in a bid to reduce their stock levels and claim the manufacturers’ registration bonuses, they tend to sell cars at virtually no profit at the end of a quarter. You could drive home a real bargain particularly during the end of Q1 and Q3.
Suss out when new models or face-lifted versions of current cars are due out, and then buy the previous model a few weeks before it is pulled from the market. You are more likely to get a good deal from dealers looking to sell off old stock. However, bear in mind that older versions tend to depreciate quickly than the newer models, although they are more or less the same age.
Buying a four wheel drive auto during summer season is just like buying an AC in winter – there may be serious bargains to be had off-season. Similarly, convertibles are in demand during the summer, so you may get a huge discount if you wait until winter.
Do not buy a new model within few weeks of its launch. Wait for a few months until all the buzz has settled down, and you may clinch a better deal for your patience.
Look into prices and models, get your finances sorted out, haggle for a great deal and you could be looking at a solid 20% discount on your new car.
New Year, used car
Experts say January is probably the best time to find a great deal on a used car with both private sellers and car dealerships feeling the heat.
January is by far the cruelest of all months, and many of us will be waging a battle against post-Christmas bills and blues. Keep an eye open for keenly-priced used cars, which tend to be put on the market by stretched sellers at the start of the year.
There are even New Year deals to be had from car dealerships needing to get their cashflow back up and running after the Christmas break. Plus, there are usually several part-ex offers left over from all that buying and selling back in the autumn.
Buying second hand the smart way
Of late, used cars are better built and more reliable than ever before. Who could resist the urge of buying a 2000W BMW 330 Convertible in sparkling gold that has done 65,000 miles for a ridiculous £2,500? Or a 1991J Mercedes SL500 with around 70,000 miles and full service history for a laughable three grand? Or perhaps a sporty machine such as a 99T Porsche Boxster 2.5 that has averaged 40,000 miles for about £5,000?
There shouldn’t be any horror stories about slipping gearboxes, misfiring engines, or galloping rust either. As long as an older car has been maintained properly, the main mechanicals should last another 70,000 or 80,000 miles.
If you’re worried about buying a car that could break down the second you drive it away, take a mechanic with you or hire one (for a couple of hours) to give the car a once-over before you commit to buying it.
Find yourself a good garage nearby, understand that second hand accessories and original manufacturer equipment can be shopped online for a cheaper rate, and you will surely slash your service and maintenance bills by more than 50%.
Want to save even more money?
If the price tags for one or two year old used cars are too high for your liking, look instead at older cars from diligent sellers with full service logs.
A lot of people have a natural fear of going to a showroom and talking face-to-face with a salesperson. They worry that a shrewd salesperson will reduce them to a quivering wreck, demolishing any ideas of playing tough and pushing the price down.
Remember that no-one can make you feel ripped off without your consent.
Like exams, when it boils down to negotiating a good deal, failure to prepare is preparing to fail. As a matter of fact, getting a good deal on a new car is 80% preparation, 20% negotiation. You need to become an expert in the type car you plan to purchase and what you are happy to pay.
Of course, knowing your stuff is key. It makes you more confident as you realise that the asking price is just the starting point and you can work your way through negotiating a good deal. When you think about it, if two hours’ preparation saves you £4,000, that’s the equivalent of being paid £2,000 an hour!
Now, how about that?