Buying cars in an economic downturn

Recession, double-dip recession, depression, global depression, fiscal deficit, higher taxes, spending cuts, job losses, fuel rises. That’s a rather unpleasant list of words which make most people feel uncomfortable. But Britain has experienced the worst recession since the 1930s and is facing the toughest squeeze in generations so there is no point burying our heads in the sand and pretending there is nothing wrong. So what can we do, in practical terms, to make buying a car more financially efficient?

We’ve put together a few tips about car buying during a downturn which might be useful.

Set a budget and stick to it; it is very easy to be seduced by shiny cars and slick salespeople but we see far too many cases of customers buying a car they can’t afford and regretting it just a few months down the line, when they have to sell it and often end up thousands out of pocket.

Always research special offers and make like for like comparisons, a little bit of research effort could very well equal some great savings

Check fuel figures and running costs; you may be able to afford the car but can your budget stand the maintenance costs? On some cars a set of tyres can cost well over £1000! Some eco friendly diesel and electric cars can now do recession busting miles per gallon, enabling you to keep more money in your pocket and filling up for a lot less. They are also often very cheap to tax and on some cars absolutely free!

When deciding what car to buy don’t be a brand snob; if a car does what you want it to do buy the best in class and save by being realistic whilst not compromising on spec.

Look at warranties; many car makers now offer 5 year warranties as standard including Toyota and more are sure to follow, that’s a whole lot of peace of mind.

Look at alternative funding solutions; dealer finance is often much cheaper than high street lenders but check you’re getting the best deal for you, it might mean you can get a better car as a result.

Look at budgeting for service and maintenance by including it in your monthly car payment. Many car dealers are desperate to service and maintain your car and will offer competitive deals to entice you. You can then take comfort in the fact that ALL your car costs are covered in a single monthly payment,

Be prepared to travel to get the right car; many car dealers sell similar cars and by looking on the net and comparing there can be huge savings made by playing one off against another.

Maximise the value in your existing car by presenting it in its best possible condition, by spending a little on a full professional valet for example could result in you getting much more in part-exchange (For more information on this important subject check out Motor Trade Insider Sell Your Car Like A Pro!).

If your car is doing a job and not letting you down don’t sell it, keep it and gain maximum use from it yourself. Finally never ever spend big money on servicing your car just before you sell it, a car dealer will never give you the money you spent on servicing on top of the price they offer, let the next owner or dealer do the service work and you get a better car for your money.

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One Response to Buying cars in an economic downturn

  1. edward symes July 9, 2010 at 6:57 pm #

    in my experience dealers are queing up to give you their best in a recession,today i rang and asked how much for an annulal servivce on my 3 yr old qashqai and the service chap had discounted it before i even opened my mouth,so from now on iam going to ask how much anything costs and then just say nothing until the price comes down should be fun and i saved myself £125 today by doing just that!!

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