#buy a car online
Buy a new car – for the price of a year-old model
If you can’t put off buying a new car any longer – or you simply hanker after a new model – don’t set foot in your local dealer’s showroom until you have checked the online car brokers, which can often save you almost a third off the list price.
While sales of new cars across Europe plummeted after the credit crisis hit, forecourts in the UK have remained busy, thanks in part to manufacturers targeting UK buyers with highly competitive deals.
This week What Car? magazine published its list of target prices (what it thinks is the maximum buyers should pay for popular models) and in most cases it reckons buyers should aim to save at least 2,000 on a 16,000 car. However, Guardian Money has unearthed some even better deals, which is some cases can knock almost 5,000 off a similarly priced model – it’s just a case of knowing where to look.
The secret is to use one of the long-established car brokers that put buyers in touch with dealers who have cars they want to shift in significant volumes in a bid to grab sales bonuses. Drivethedeal.com. which has been in business for 18 years, is one of the biggest names in this area. Carfile.co.uk is another long-established broker, and there are many others also vying to offer the best deals.
Drivethedeal’s sales manager, Andy Blackmoor, says the savings can be so good that he can often supply a brand new model for less than local dealers will charge for a one-year model with 5,000 miles on the clock.
Buyers using the site input the car they want, and stipulate any extras such as metallic paint, and the firm then matches the buyer to a dealer looking to do a deal. The supplying dealer could be at the other end of the country – but you get the exact same, brand new car you would have got from your local dealer. You pay a 500 deposit direct to the selling agent, and the balance on the day of collection or delivery.
Blackmoor says: Some buyers like to pick up their car – to be the first one to drive it – others will let the car be delivered to their door. Buyers are the first named owner, and they enjoy the full warranty they would have had if they’d bought it from a local agent, which will also do all the servicing and the like.
Current best deals
There are currently good deals on BMWs and VW Golfs, says Blackmoor, as well as more mainstream fare. For example, his firm currently will supply a popular Hyundai i30 Active hatchback for 11,616, compared to the list price of 16,310.
There are 3,000 savings to be had on the Ford Fiesta three-door Zetec – down from a list price of almost 14,000 – depending on options. A BMW 335 diesel estate can be yours for 34,305 compared to the list price of almost 45,000. A VW Golf hatchback 1.4 TSi SE five-door can be had for 16,870 rather than 20,870 – a saving of almost 20%.
Rival Carfile, which is another long-standing broker that buyers can trust, is offering the 99g Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost Edge five-door hatch for 13,740, compared to the list price of a little under 17,000. Nissan Notes can be had with 1,200 – or 10% – off the official price, to mention but two.
The broker deals are not available on every marque – they depend on which dealers or manufacturers are wanting to shift units. Models that are about to be replaced can offer exceptional bargains, as remaining stock is cleared to make way for a replacement model. And don’t automatically assume that your local dealer won’t match it – some will come close and may offer a free service package or similar to sweeten the deal.
Avoid the pitfalls
There are a few caveats to using these brokers. Once you’ve have decided on the make and model you want, try the firms above – and also Honestjohn.co.uk as its lists the brokers/dealers doing the best deals.
For example, this week it was listing ArnoldClark.com as a good place to buy a Fiat Panda 1.2 Pop for 7,645, a 1,450 saving on the list price.
If you’re buying from a broker listed above then you should not encounter a problem. However, be wary of names that you have not heard of. Search for previous customer reviews before you hand over any money, and never use a car broker who wants all the money up front – stick to those that just put you in touch with the main dealer that takes a deposit. Always pay that with a credit, not debit, card.
Once your car arrives, or you go to pick it up, carefully check it is exactly what you ordered – does it have the air conditioning you paid for and so on, and is it free from delivery damage?
Once you are happy, pay the rest of the money by debit card. You may want to warn your card provider beforehand about your large purchase. Dealers mostly refuse to take cheques, for obvious reasons. Note that any dealer will undertake any required warranty work – you don’t need to go back to the one who supplied the car.