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Auto Service

How to buy a car

You have picked the car that looks perfect for you, but what should you do next?

If you are buying new, you can choose to buy in a multitude of different ways. As well as traditional outlets like franchised dealers and brokers you can also buy online, and direct from the manufacturer.

While franchised dealers tend to operate from showrooms, brokers avoid glitzy sales facilities, and focus on reducing their overheads to keep prices low. Buying online can see cars delivered direct to your door – keeping the process as simple as possible.
Buying from dealers

Dealers are often a preferred choice because of their knowledgeable staff and in-house aftersales support systems. Many are linked to manufacturers, and include workshops which employ mechanics who specially  in a specific brand.

New car dealers offer the opportunity to touch and feel the new car you are interested in buying – and also offer test drives. Dealers may also offer to top up official manufacturer supplied warranties with their own, offering extra peace of mind.

Dealers are supplying direct from the manufacturer, which means you can choose every last detail of your new car’s specification. You will also be listed on the V5 registration document that comes with the car as the first owner – something that will add value to the car when you resell it.

BEST FOR:
Peace of mind
Full choice
Ease of purchase
Servicing and aftersales support
Deals on latest models
Will take trade-in vehicles
Finance packages to help you buy

BAD POINTS:
Higher prices
Sales staff often have an agenda
Prices are not transparent
May not be in a convenient location
Buying from brokers

Brokers manage the purchase process – which means you are paying them to buy a car for you. They are a good choice for people who don’t have a car to part-exchange, or are focused on getting the very best price… and are not too worried about choosing every last detail of the model they intend to buy.

Because they buy lots of cars, brokers get cheap prices by buying unsold stock. Cars are sometimes imported from overseas, where currency fluctuations, or inferior specification can make them cheaper. CarBuyer recommends you only buy UK supplied cars from a broker.

Cars from a broker are sometimes pre-registered, which means you will be listed on the vehicle’s V5 registration document as the second owner. This could have an effect on the length of the warranty offered by the car. Compared to franchised dealers, brokers choice can be limited by the stock they have access to, and you may have to compromise on specification.

BEST FOR:
Low prices
Transparent deals
Pressure free sales

BAD POINTS:
Long waiting times
Lack of dealer back up and knowledge
Lack of choice
Harder to check vehicle’s particulars
Buying online

You can already buy from brokers online, but manufacturers and dealers are also beginning to sell new cars online.

Manufacturer supported online sales offer transparent deals, without you needing to engage in negotiations with showroom staff. The system also offers agreed values for trade in cars, as well as finance options. As the service is still new, not all manufacturers are involved and choice is limited.

BEST FOR:
Ease of purchase
Servicing and aftersales support
Can offer deals on latest models
Will take trade in vehicles
Finance packages to help you buy

BAD POINTS:
Limited choice
Not all manufacturers signed up
Finally, read the small print

Wherever you end up buying, make sure you’re presented with a clear and final price for the car before you agree a sale.

It’s also worth making sure that the car you are buying is the very latest model.

When a new range is released there is sometimes an overlap where both the new and the old models are still able to be purchased. All sorts of extras can be added to the price, including VAT, number plates and delivery costs, so make sure these are included in the price you are quoted. Check the delivery date, it can take a number of months for a broker to supply the car you have chosen.