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Why Now's the Time to Buy

Why Now's the Time to Buy


Motoring journalist, John Swift, explains why he believes there's never been a better time to buy a car.

Mortoring journalist, John Swift has been looking at the current new car market:

"At the end of every quarter, those in the know, pontificate ‘there’s never been a better time to change your car’ believing that dealers, with their quarterly manufacturer targets in sight, may offer a  deal to secure your order.

But, the end of this quarter really is exceptional, because on top of the usual pressure to hit target, dealers are having to deal with that looming event which we all know and love as - Brexit'.

At the time of writing it’s not clear what the final outcome will be, but if the UK leaves without a deal that would almost certainly be followed by the cost of imported cars rising by at least 10% and even those built in the UK would almost certainly rise in price because so many of the parts they use come from Europe.

Unfortunately, this is not scare-mongering, it’s being as accurate as I can be, to say that if we do crash out of the EU, buyers who put off their decision in March may come to regret that decision by April.

Happily, there are some excellent deals on either brand-new cars or those which the bargain hunters love, the nearly-new. Generous scrappage schemes - Renault will give you up to £3,000 towards selected models when you hand in your old (pre-2012) car! – hefty deposit contributions, not-to-be-missed PCP packages and many more incentives make car showrooms a happy hunting ground this March.

This time the latest cars will have the ‘19’ year identifier on their registration plate and it’s worthwhile showing you how affordable they can be.

Get That New Car Feeling 19 plate

Just looking at our own Swansway deals alone, a nicely specced Peugeot 208 supermini with plenty of features costs less than £190 a month over four years. The Peugeot 208 1.2 litre Active has a reversing camera with a colour screen, automatic emergency brakes (insurers love these and offer cheaper premiums for cars with them), a system that helps you parallel park, connected sat nav and much more; and although it’s only recently been launched, even the facelifted Range Rover Evoque can be outside your home for less than £450 pcm.

Orange Peugeot 208 driving towards youThose two are not quite the two extremes of the price spectrum, but they give a good idea of how surprisingly affordable a 19-plate car can be.

There are many benefits to having one of the latest cars. It’s hardly a secret that the government has declared war on transport pollution and the latest, clean and more eco-friendly cars will shield you from the worst of any tax rises in the pipeline. Not only they’re safer, more connected, more fuel efficient and easier to live with.

Pale grey Range Rover Evoque driving off-road through a leafy forest

At this time of year, the bargain hunters are out in force too looking for nearly-new cars. As is by now fairly common knowledge, dealers sometimes register cars to reach their target, that car has a number plate, but in every other respect it’s new and on the forecourt with a handful of miles and a substantial saving on new. Why? Well, it’s another car counting towards the quarterly target. It’s a practice as old as the motor trade and at least a quarter of all cars are sold in this way. It means if you buy one you’ll be listed as the second owner…but look at the savings.

To give you just one example from dozens, we have a Honda Civic I-DTEC SE at a special price of £15,495. This particular car has covered just 10 miles – 10! - and Honda’s official list price is £20,450. As they say, you do the maths…

We have cars from Abarths and Audis to Volkswagens, hatchbacks, saloons, superminis, SUVs, coupes and even camper vans, all with less than 50 miles under their wheels and all offering similar savings and great value to the Honda.

The car industry does have a very strong message to tell about their products and prices at the moment and buyers are responding. After five months of slowing down, February saw a slight upwards swing in business and it was the private buyer, not the fleets or businesses, leading the way back to the showrooms.

This month dealers hope to see that upward swing gather momentum, if only because buyers want to protect themselves from the possibility of post-Brexit price increases, let alone those just recognising, plain old, good value when they see it.