Every penny counts but what about when it’s time to sell?

As things have consistently become tougher for all of us this year, cutting costs is on everybody’s agenda and none more so than the car buyer.

Car dealers are warning sales execs to be extra vigilant when appraising customer trade-ins because buyers are trying to save money by doing only the absolute minimum necessary to maintain their current cars and this is definitely having an effect on prices.

One way of looking at it of course is that we in the trade always like to pay top market prices for the cream of the crop. That low mileage, high spec beautiful ‘Alan’ (Motor Trade language is dying out) which has been cared for and immaculately maintained throughout its life. In a tough market, where demand is low and stock is in more plentiful supply, the cars that don’t come up to scratch don’t make good money and in many cases won’t be bought by the trade buyers.

So although you can somewhat understand a customer skipping a service or leaving tyres until they are nearly slick and not attending to the bumper scuff or car park dent, is this really a false economy?

The trade buyers we spoke to across the spectrum of the business confirm that this is absolutely the case. One told us that with many trade buyers all chasing the same kind of stock, the value of an exceptional example of any model will be pushed upwards as a result of having many interested bidders and in some cases by thousands of pounds.

With the likes of Kwik Fit and Halfords making inroads into the franchised aftersales market, buyers are at last having a true choice about who they want to maintain their vehicle but as we have said before (Can non-main dealer servicing be a false economy?) this can also be a false economy when looking at a car re-sale value of a main dealer serviced against an independent. Again in some cases the difference a trade or indeed retail buyer is prepared to pay for a car with the right service stamps can be startling, however that is really mostly applicable on higher end cars and not so much at the volume end. However buyers still need to consider that, before deciding to put off repairs and maintenance, when trading the car in the perception and first impressions of a car seen through the eyes of a car sales professional may be the lasting one.

Maintaining the vehicle to a standard commensurate with a vehicles age and value may just prove to be the best move in the long run for everyone.

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5 Responses to Every penny counts but what about when it’s time to sell?

  1. Ling Valentine November 16, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    Instead of messing about with this argument, buy 2 new Ford Focus (or whatever), do 30,000 in both, one with Halfords and one with dealer servicing, bring them both back to identical condition and then block them both.

    Compare the servicing savings with the difference in worth.



  2. Mark R November 20, 2011 at 12:47 am #

    Ling, sorry, but No Lease or New Car ever saved a customer money ! no matter how you dress it up………….

  3. Ling Valentine November 21, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    …saved money over what? A 10-year old banger? The bus? A new car bought for cash?

    Of course lease cars can save lots of money. Otherwise, I must have moved thousands and thousands for many reasons APART from value, which would really confer some superstar status on my sales skills.

    Cost of ownership is always an important factor, but I admit many people are happy to pay a small premium for my superior service (over and above car dealers). But then, a monkey with learning difficulties could probably manage to beat the average franchised car dealer’s service level 🙂


  4. Mark R November 22, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    Lease is just “Renting” you never actually “own” anything, so after costs, monthly payments, and that final balloon payment if you want to actually own it, where is the saving Ling? Buy a three or four year ex company or fleet car with F.S.H. for say £5,000, run it for a couple of years with one service a year and then sell for £3,000+ much better saving than New or Lease i’m afraid and you actually own the car ! but then a monkey with learning difficulties could tell you that……….. 35 years in the business and VERY profitable thank you.

  5. ste h November 28, 2011 at 12:19 am #

    speaking as a punter,i would pay around £400-£500 more on a £6k to £7k car if it was dealer serviced. OK,they do make mistakes but Halfords and the like cannot be informed/knowledgeable on every make of car they work on,not to mention any manufacturers updates that won’t be done at service.i must be right as its usually the first thing mentioned on adverts should it have dealer history. i concede that as the car ages,the clawback at resale diminishes,but any other service stamps in the book means 2nd rate attention and i adjust my value acordingley.

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