Don’t be undersold on part-exchange value

With the scrappage scheme having the potential to confuse valuations of certain cars, customers face having their trade-ins undervalued if they’re not on their toes when negotiating a deal in a franchised dealers showroom. Because no one is really sure of the impact this scheme may have they are unclear on the possible effect on the valuations of cars which may fall outside the scheme’s criteria. If for instance a 10 year old small hatch back is worth £500 but carries the minimum £2,000 allowable on the scheme where will that leave the 9 yr old small equivalent which is currently worth £800?

There will still be people who are not able, or do not wish to take part in the scheme and therefore will presumably be in the market for an older car, so there should still be a sensible value attached. Our fear is that unscrupulous dealers will convince buyers that their 9yr old car is now worth less due to the scheme and attempt to offer a great deal by giving them £1,000 in part-exchange when in reality the car is liable to still make somewhere near that at auction, thus meaning the customer has not really had a good deal at all.

Our advice, when buying a new or used car at a showroom, is to ask how the dealer has arrived at the valuation of the trade-in and what guides he uses to arrive at that valuation. Remember the Cap guide is what most auctions use to gauge the values of the cars that go through, but if a car is under 3 years old and is considered ”main dealer” stock it could be valued by Glasses guide. Also customers need to understand the process of how a sales person arrives at the value and how he will ”under-allow” on a car and then attempt to negotiate with a customer to offer them more for their car when in reality all they are doing is offering you what the car is really worth but creating the perception that the extra money given is coming from the profit of the new car. There are many little tricks a salesperson can use when negotiating a cost to change figure, but buyers need to be more alert than ever at present with cars having increased in value since the turn of the year, and those who do not prepare properly must prepare to ultimately pay more money.

Research the value of your car by looking at similar models being advertised, this can be done by going onto a site like Autotrader and simply seeing what similar cars are being marketed at. Obviously you won’t be offered the same price that the car could be retailed at but it certainly is a good indicator of how the trade sees your particular car.

Don’t be afraid to ask how the dealership will arrive at the valuation and what guides they will use to achieve it.

If a dealer severely undervalues your trade-in walk away, he will only try and give you the spin and you will probably not get a fair deal.

Beware of the dealer who is laser focussed on a monthly payment, this is usually an attempt to make you forget about the price of the car your buying and the value of your part-exchange. Always ask for the breakdown of the prices before talking monthly payments.

If a salesperson starts talking about a “changeover figure” ask them to commit before you do, and never give your own cost to change as it may be too high.

Dealers when selling new cars should all be hungry (make that ravenous) for your business, the market is down 24% so get a good deal and don’t undersell your current car. Dealers are making record profits on their auction cars; make sure that you get all the money that your car is worth.

If you fancy a day out it may even be worth taking a trip to your local auction hall, you could get a real feel for what similar cars are achieving in the ‘real world’.

Motor Trade Insider’s Auction guides:

  • Inside the car auction – let the bidding commence
  • Inside the auction – beware of the dark side
  • Inside the car auction – dealer part-exchanges
  • Ex-company cars can be pre-loved…
  • Should I buy my next car from a public auction?
  • Inside the car auction

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    One Response to Don’t be undersold on part-exchange value

    1. Mark Robbins May 13, 2009 at 11:25 am #

      All of the above is fine if their cars are “Cap clean” or “Glasses Guide” A1 condition with book mileage and correct colour etc: but how many customers cars in the real world are really the trade ins we want AND more importantly up to book condition, We as dealers will give the right money for the right car, (note that word “Right”) lets be honest though, very few are!!

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