Mar 222016
 

New research reveals that almost twice as many motorists are confident about buying a car unseen today, compared with three years ago.

There has also been a rise of almost one third in those who describe themselves as comfortable to buy a car online.

But franchise dealers need not fear being sidelined by online motor retail specialists because the research also highlights a 50% rise in customers travelling outside their local area to buy from a national main dealer.

However, the research also appears to sound the death knell for private car sale classified advertisements, with survey respondents reporting a dramatic fall in purchases from that source

The research, conducted in February 2016 for Buyacar.co.uk, reveals changes in consumer attitudes and behaviour following a major survey of motorists in August 2013.

Since August 2013, when almost 5,000 motorists were first polled on their car buying habits and attitudes, the proportion of those who say they would be happy to buy a new car online, without seeing it first, has risen from 17.5% to 31.3% – an increase of 78.8% in positive responses.

At the same time, the number of people describing themselves as ‘wary’ of buying a car unseen from a reputable online source has fallen from 27.7% to 25.5%.

But the most positive change in attitudes to online car buying was found among those who had previously ruled out buying cars online at all.

In August 2013 more than half of all respondents said they wouldn’t buy cars online but that figure has now reduced to 43% – a 21.1% drop in anti-online purchase sentiment.

Growing consumer comfort is not limited to online new car sales. Motorists are now demonstrating a strong preference to buying used cars online.

The 2016 survey included questions which were not previously asked, inviting motorists to evaluate their own changes in attitude over time. This revealed that 39.2% agree with the statement ‘I’m MORE likely to buy a new car online now than I used to be’ and 21.3% agree with the statement ‘I’m MORE likely to buy a used car online now than I used to be’.

The latest survey reveals the strength of the UK motor retail market in general, with good news also for traditional dealers – and franchise groups in particular –throughout the results.

For example, in August 2013, respondents reported where they had bought their current car and the latest survey indicates that consumers have been looking further afield and increasingly buying from national main dealers since then.

The figure for those who had bought from a main dealer more than 50 miles from their home saw almost half as many again travelling further afield to buy their current car, compared with the car they owned at the point of the 2013 survey.

The biggest change in where people had purchased their current car this time was a 50% slump in those who had bought from private sellers – from 11.6% to 5.8%.

Austin Collins, Managing Director of Buyacar.co.uk, said: “This was not a survey of Buyacar.co.uk customers, so the results are not skewed in favour of our own business or even the online car retail model in general. It’s genuine evidence that consumers are increasingly comfortable with the concept of buying cars online and unseen until they take delivery.”

Mar 282013
 

Car mileageMotorists in Northern Ireland cover more miles per year than any other in the UK, according to research by Warranty Direct.

Drivers in County Londonderry clock up the most – a car-breaking average of 11,133 miles per year. In fact, counties in rural Northern Ireland occupy three of the top five slots in the automotive warranty specialist’s UK mileage chart.

Scottish counties feature four times in the top 10, with East Lothian-based drivers travelling an average of 10,678 miles while, in England, Suffolk and North Yorkshire are the counties in which drivers spend longest behind the wheel.

At the other end of the scale, the Isle of Wight and London are the best places to find low-mileage cars, with the average motorists there notching up just 6,928 and 8,556 miles a year respectively.

The UK’s top 10 counties for average annual mileage

County

Average annual mileage

County Londonderry

11,133

East Lothian

10,678

County Antrim

10,657

County Down

10,526

Renfrewshire

10,345

Ross-Shire

10,258

Gwent

10,139

Kincardineshire

10,055

Suffolk

10,053

North Yorkshire

10,049

Higher mileage vehicles are more at risk from breakdowns caused by parts simply wearing out. Warranty Direct’s database of 50,000 live policies shows by the time they reach 35,000 miles, 25% of cars will have developed a fault that costs more than £500 to repair.

The parts most likely to fail because of simple ‘wear and tear’ include suspension arms and steering racks, as well as much more expensive components, such as turbos and automatic gearboxes, which can cost up to £1,400 to repair.

Warranty Direct managing director, Duncan McClure Fisher, said: “Drivers based in remote, rural areas with limited public transport networks are, understandably, more dependent on a car for day-to-day travel and are often forced to travel further for the daily commute.

“But, as a car’s mileage increases, so does the likelihood of components wearing out. The majority of car warranties exclude faults that happen because of ‘wear and tear’ so the longer you push your car, the more you could be risking unwanted repair bills.”

The UK’s bottom 10 counties for average annual mileage

County

Average annual mileage

Isle of Wight

6,928

London

8,556

Inverness-shire

8,563

West Sussex

8,787

Midlothian

8,807

Dorset

8,847

East Sussex

8,847

Surrey

8,871

Kent

8,967

Cornwall

8,980

Warranty Direct policies protect the motorist against failures caused by ‘wear and tear’, as well as faults that come to light during routine service and MOT procedures and breakages of insured parts caused by the failure of an uninsured part.

Warranty Direct cover starts from as little as £15 a month. For more information or for a quote, go to www.warrantydirect.co.uk.

May 192011
 

Free MOT TestIndustry leading direct to consumer car warranty provider, Warranty Direct, has teamed up with Kwik Fit to offer drivers of three-year old cars the chance to get their first MOT test fee for free.

With nearly a million more cars failing their MOT test in 2010 than three years ago, drivers can avoid the test fee, which amounts to almost £55, by registering at www.warrantydirect.co.uk/mot .

The number of cars failing their MOT increased by more than 2% over the last three years, to 40.6% in 2010. That equates to an extra 976,000 vehicles*. Coincidentally, three years is traditionally the age at which cars start displaying signs of wear and tear and typically leave the protective umbrella of a manufacturer warranty.

Cars registered at least 30 days before the third anniversary of their original registration date can then be booked into one of 550 Kwik Fit workshops for a free MOT. Even non-qualifying cars can receive 45 per cent off the MOT test fee.

If drivers take up the no-obligation quote for an extended warranty offered by Warranty Direct as part of the registration process, they will also get their MOT fees paid for every year for the life of the warranty.

Duncan McClure Fisher, managing director of Warranty Direct, said: “Three years of age is generally a landmark age for a car. In most cases, it stops being covered by the manufacturer’s warranty and things start going wrong and wearing out.

“With times being as tough as they are economically, the legal requirement of the MOT test is an additional burden on the household budget that we could all do without, although the test itself remains essential for road safety.”

In order to qualify for the free MOT fee offer, cars must be registered at least 30 days before the third anniversary of their original registration date and must also have an original manufacturer’s warranty that expires on or before the third anniversary.

Visit www.warrantydirect.co.uk/mot for more information, plus terms, conditions and exclusions.

Jul 032008
 

car checksHaynes, renowned worldwide for its car manuals, is urging motorists to save money by checking their cars before an MOT test. Recently released figures from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) gained by the Institute of Advanced Motorists Trust, show that first-time MOT failure rates in the UK are higher than in other European countries. There was a 21.6 per cent MOT failure rate recorded in 2007, with more than 271,000 of those failures due to lighting faults – most of which can be cured without difficulty by someone with basic mechanical knowledge.

J Haynes, Vice Chairman and Managing Director at Haynes, said: “It takes very little time to check a car over before submitting it for an MOT test. Basic faults such as lights not working, worn wiper blades and insufficient tyre tread depth can easily be sorted out before the test. This is invariably cheaper than having your car fail the MOT test.”

Haynes manuals have a section detailing the checks you can do before your car’s MOT test. Haynes is the world’s leading publisher of automotive repair manuals and renowned for teaching millions of car owners how to carry out routine maintenance and repairs. Haynes publishes manuals for more than 500 cars and vans as well as useful glove box guides such as Your Car.

Below, we summarise some of the range of pre-MOT checks.

• From the driver’s seat, you can test the handbrake, footbrake, steering wheel and column for correct operation and excessive play.

• Still in the driver’s seat, check that the windscreen is free of cracks or damage.

• Now check that the door latches work and that all seat belts are in good condition and fasten properly.

• Moving to outside the car, check that the wiper blades are in good condition and that the lights and horn work.

• The wheels and tyres should be inspected thoroughly. Wheels should not be damaged and tyres must be free of cuts, tears, lumps or bulges. Check the tread depth – a minimum of 1.6mm over at least three-quarters of the tread width is the current legal requirement (though it’s best to fit new tyres well before the legal limit is reached).

• Finally, clean your car thoroughly inside and out and on the underside, if possible. The tester can refuse to examine a car which is filthy underneath.

Haynes manuals are available for 80 per cent of cars over three years old on UK roads. They contain many tips for saving fuel and show motorists how they can save money on garage bills by doing simple servicing and maintenance tasks themselves.

Haynes Manuals retail at £18.99 (hardback) – less than half a tank of fuel. They are available from www.haynes.co.uk or from all good automotive accessory retailers and bookshops including Halfords and Motor World.