May 042017
 

Warranty Direct is delighted to announce that it will sponsor the Used Car Hero category at the Autocar Awards 2017.

The Autocar Awards are recognised by the car industry and car-buying public as the premier enthusiast awards ceremony, with only the very best cars of the past year and industry personalities winning trophies.

The event will be held in Silverstone’s Wing complex on 23rd May and will begin after the Car Dealer Expo (CDX) – the largest automotive retail conference of its kind in the UK.

Autocar is the world’s oldest car publication and is regarded as one of the most trusted titles for new car advice. It was launched 122 years ago in 1895, and continues to be the pre-eminent source of automotive test verdicts, news, opinion, features, video and photography today.

The Awards are influential not only because they honour the accomplishments of individual manufacturers, but also as they acknowledge the industry’s ability to continuously innovate and create vehicles to suit a wide range of preferences for today’s modern, tech-savvy consumer.

When deciding the annual short list for what makes a great used car, Autocar’s expert judges scrutinise reams of facts, figures and data generated by its road testing team. Vehicles are put through a rigorous series of tests at professional facilities to evaluate various parameters, including affordability, reliability, design, performance and driver satisfaction.

Contenders for the Warranty Direct Sponsored Used Car Hero Award have been chosen by Autocar’s used car expert James Ruppert and its readers, who nominated cars that they felt were worthy of consideration. The shortlist of six will be revealed in an Autocar magazine feature in the May 17 issue.

Other highlights of the evening include the awarding of the Issigonis Trophy, which honours the individual who has contributed the most to the health, excellence and competitiveness of the European motor industry. Previous winners include McLaren’s Ron Dennis, Porsche’s Wolfgang Hatz and PSA Peugeot Citroen’s Carlos Tavares.

The Sturmey Award, named after Autocar’s founder and recognising innovation and achievement across the automotive sector, will also be given. Previous winners include Tesla’s Elon Musk, Citroen’s Mark Lloyd and Ariel’s Simon Saunders.

Warranty Direct’s CEO Simon Ackers said:

“The Autocar Awards are one of the most anticipated events in the motoring calendar. Not only do they celebrate the highest achievers in the industry over the past 12 months, but they provide invaluable insight to consumers on the best vehicles currently on the market. We are proud to be sponsoring an award in partnership with one of Britain’s longest-established and most trusted enthusiast brands.

“Everyone at Warranty Direct HQ is currently on tenterhooks and keen to hear the latest automotive champions announced!”

Readers should continue to visit our blog page and social feeds where we will share news about the Award winners as soon as they’re presented.

With the ceremony mere weeks away, Warranty Direct will ensure its customers are kept up to speed with all the latest from the Autocar Awards ceremony.

Oct 062016
 

10 Top Tips for buying Used Cars

If you choose to buy a used car the obvious benefits can include making significant savings without having to compromise too much on quality. Whether you’re after a dream machine or a cheap run-around to get you from A to B, there’s plenty of choice on the second-hand market. However, the Citizens Advice and Trading Standards claims second-hand cars are one of the most protested issues; complaints are often about a fault, but sometimes the problems are so bad the car is scrapped. With murky histories and hard-nosed salesmen, purchasing a used car can be a minefield to a potential buyer. Here are our top tips to minimise the chance of any nasty surprises.

Timing is key

One way to reduce costs is to buy at the right time. Dealers have targets to meet and bonuses to compete for. These are usually based on quarterly sales at the end of March, June, September and December. They need to shift cars, so will be more willing to negotiate and offer appealing finance packages at the end of these months. Private sellers don’t have set targets, so keep an eye on their prices a few months before you actually buy – if they’re decreasing, you may want to wait. Increasing and it’s sensible to buy sooner.

Prioritise what you need, not what you want

Before you begin perusing for the ‘one’, consider realistically what you really need from a car. There’s no point buying a two-seater convertible if you’re about to start a family. Ask specific questions to boost decision-making such as ‘what are my essential requirements?’ and ‘will I be using it for short drives or longer motorway journeys?’ Fuel choice can also make a big difference to running costs, so consider whether you need diesel or petrol.

Shop around and negotiate

Ask dealers for their best price on your second-hand car of choice. Make a note of the best price, and then ask others to beat it. You can expand your radius, if you’re happy to travel to find the lowest price. Never sign on the day- walk away and you will be pleasantly surprised with the number of sales calls you receive offering even better discounts than discussed previously.

Inspect the vehicle thoroughly

As the old saying goes, it’s not enough to go by good looks alone and this is most certainly the case when buying a used car. You need to look at everything, from the seatbelts, headlights to the paintwork and tyres. Check the car’s mileage. The average covered is around 10,000 miles a year, so if the odometer’s figure seems strangely out considering age, ask why. Service history is crucial as you don’t want to purchase a car which may be subject to immediate repairs. Also check for any signs of poor repair and oil or water leaks in the engine which could lead to serious problems.

Don’t skip the test-drive

Test driving a second hand car is imperative to ensure you’re comfortable driving the vehicle and that you don’t notice any red flags when out on the road. Try different routes and include the motorway to check how the car feels whilst driving it. Check the brakes and clutch function smoothly and effectively, plus experiment with manoeuvres such as a  three-point turn and an emergency stop to check steering and brakes.

Check for outstanding finance

Buying, leasing or hiring a car on finance is increasing in popularity. This means many vehicles on the road are actually owned by finance providers until their customers pay off the finance agreement in full. Make sure you carry out a Car Data Check because if you buy from someone who’s not paid off their finance agreement, the provider could retrieve the car and leave you without a car and out of pocket. Most reputable dealers carry out a vehicle check, but we’d advise you to still liaise with them to ask whether it’s been done on your visit.

Protect your rights

Remember that if you choose to buy through a private sale it is also your responsibility to check the car’s condition and history, and you have far fewer rights if something goes wrong. A private seller must give an accurate description, but it can be hard to prove if you’ve been duped – so keep copies of the original advert. Purchasing a used car warranty can be excellent way to protect yourself from expensive incidents you may experience once you’ve actually bought your vehicle. Many warranties can be bought direct as well –  another bonus as it eliminates additional costs which may incur if buying through another party.

In this case, eBay may not be the best option…

You can buy anything online these days, but is buying a car this way worth the risk? Lots of people seem to think so and eBay is one of the most popular sites for used car purchases. Ensure you’ve done all the necessary checks before you place a bid, as if you pay using PayPal its purchase protection does not apply to cars – and neither does eBay’s own buyer protection. So if anything goes wrong, you cannot turn to either to sort it out.

… although considering your credit card could be wise

Paying even a penny towards your car by credit card, means you get effective, additional protection, as you’re then covered by Section 75. Providing the total cost of the car you’re buying is between £100 and £30,000, paying anything towards it by credit card means the card company is equally as liable as the dealer if anything goes wrong with your vehicle.

Be thorough with paperwork

When you buy a used car check you have all the necessary documents before paying. Most important is the  Logbook, or V5C,  which proves you are the keeper of the vehicle. It should list you as the registered keeper, though you may not be the owner if the car has been bought on finance. The car’s servicing booklet is essential  to check when the car was last serviced, as well as what’s been repaired/replaced. Manuals, spares such as wheels, keys and the sales contract should also be included.

Whether or not you decide to purchase the used car you are considering, it’s imperative to make sure you are well-informed and have researched the market before buying. The more aware you are of common scams and sneaky sales tactics, the less likely you are to be left out of pocket or with a vehicle that won’t stand the test of time.

Apr 272016
 

Used cars that have covered ‘starship mileages’ of 150,000 or more are no longer off-putting to buyers if the condition and the badge is right, reports car price guide specialist Glass’s Guide. They also believe that a healthy market has developed for prestige cars that would once have been considered almost unsaleable.

Rupert Pontin, head of valuations, said: “A high-level Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi or Jaguar that has covered 100,000-150,000 miles at five to eight years old is probably worth at least 10% less than identical models that have only done an average of 10,000 miles per year.

“However, if it has been properly maintained, the starship car probably looks every bit as good and, thanks to good build quality, is probably not much less reliable or much more expensive to run.

“It’s a cost effective way of getting behind the wheel of a nice car that will impress the neighbours.

“Buyers are waking up to the fact that these vehicles represent something of a bargain and we are seeing an increase in demand. There are also a number of specialist dealers that specifically supply this sector.”

Pontin said the market was catching on to the fact that modern cars were capable of much higher mileages than even just a few years ago.

“Even at the turn of the century, 100,000 miles meant that a car was nearing the end of its useful life. Nowadays, cars at that mileage are just getting into their stride. If properly maintained, most modern models are capable of 250,000 miles and even more.

“This is true of nearly all cars but the advantage that higher level, prestige models have is that the quality of their finish is higher than the mass market.

“This is especially true of interiors. A well-cared-for high mileage Audi A6 or A8 will still be a very nice place in which to sit, for example, with little obvious wear.

“If you make the basic checks on condition and ensure that they have a comprehensive service history, these vehicles can make an excellent buy. They are potentially no more than half way through their lives.”

Pontin added that what tended to eventually kill older cars of this type was not the fact that they were no longer viable vehicles but that the repairs needed to keep them on the road were no longer economically sustainable.

“Big prestige cars like Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series can keep going almost forever if properly maintained,” he said.

“However, they reach a point after a decade or so where they are worth just a couple of thousand or few hundred pounds and something breaks that is small but essential and expensive to repair.”

 

Apr 252016
 

VW polo

 

 

 

 

 

Volkswagen Polo vs Ford Fiesta

A small hatchback, or supermini is all many of us need to cope with daily commute and a bit of shopping. So which ones are best?

Why Buy?

The Volkswagen Polo is a just a smaller Golf and that’s why people love it. It is a quality product which makes owners feel good. It also feels like a larger car. The Fiesta is a hard working, reliable hatchback, that is cheap to run and easy to drive. A practical good value choice for many.

Which models?

The Volkswagen Polo was revised in 2005 with a fresh front end. There is a choice of excellent engines, small petrols and diesels. The Ford Fiesta stepped up a gear in ’08 and has a great range of 3 and 5 door cars starting with a 1.25 petrol and the very economical ECOnetic diesel.

Are they reliable?

Both cars have a great reputation for not breaking down. The Volkswagen Polo is tough and the Fiesta is just as durable but it is cheaper to fix overall. Mostly it is tyres, brakes and consumable items that fail.

How much do they cost?

Volkswagen Polos from 2008 in tidy condition with low mileage is over £4000. However, £2000 will buy a 2005 1.2E or 1.4S petrol. Fiestas from 2009 are £4700 for a 1.25 Style. £5500 gets the 2011 1.4 TDCi diesel, or a 2013 1.0 petrol. There really are so many to choose from.

Sum Up

There is not much to choose between them in ability. The Fiesta is better value, the Polo offers a slightly more prestigious feel. 

Volkswagen Polo

Average Repair Cost: £253.84

Engine: 18.58%*

Axle/Suspension: 33.63*

Electrical: 21.24*

Warranty Direct Rating: Above average

Ford Fiesta

Average Repair Cost: £202.04

Axle & Suspension: 33.85*

Cooling: 20%*

Electrical: 15.38%*

Cooling & Heating: 20.00*

Warranty Direct Rating: Above Average

* failure rate

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.”