The economic downturn means many more car buyers will look to the second-hand market this year, says Which? Car – but it’s a great time to buy a new car too.
Eight per cent of drivers we surveyed said they will be buying used cars this year, while just 3% plan to buy new cars. Another 4% plan to change their car but don’t know whether to buy new or used – unsurprising in such a volatile market.
New car Target Discounts
There are some incredible deals right now on new cars and the new issue of Which? Car shows a ‘Target Discount’ for new cars which customers should try to match or beat, whether buying a car online or from a dealer. Here are some of the biggest discounts:
- If you’re buying a Fiat Grande Punto, aim to get a discount of 27% off the supermini (which could mean up to £3,800 off).
- You should target 28% off a Ford Focus (up to a £6,000 discount).
- A Ford Mondeo should be discounted by around 26% (a saving of up to £7,000).
- The luxurious Audi A8 should be available with a discount of 19% (saving up to £15,100).
- If you’re after a Citroen Xsara Picasso MPV, aim for a 29% discount (save up to £4,900).
- A Mazda RX-8 which should be discounted by around 21% (saving up to £5,100 on the sports car).
Beating car depreciation
However, the big issue with buying brand-new cars is depreciation – most cars lose thousands of pounds the moment they leave the showroom. A 2008 Vauxhall Vectra, for example, lost 53% of its initial value last year alone. Conventional thinking suggests that nearly-new cars (those up to 12 months old), or older used cars, offer the greatest value.
But Which? Car found that this isn’t always the case. Apply a 28% Target Discount to a brand-new Fiat Panda 1.3 Multijet, and it will cost just £6,488 – making nearly-new and three-year-old Pandas look poor value. The ownership costs over a three-year period vary by just £340, so in this case, buying new makes most sense.
Great time to buy
Richard Headland, Editor, Which? Car, said: ‘You could say there’s never been a better time to buy a car. The downturn has thrown the car industry into turmoil and that means there are some amazing car deals available – whether you’re looking to buy new or used.
‘Most buyers will be going for second-hand cars this year to save money and there’ll be bargains galore in this market as supply outstrips demand. But bear in mind that if you can match our Target Discount, some new cars won’t cost much more to run than used cars.’
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