Nov 022005

Nissan MicraThe Sunderland built Nissan Micra has been awarded the inaugural Warranty Direct Used Car of the Year title – the first ever accolade based exclusively on the cost of keeping your car on the road.

Experts at Warranty Direct, the leading independent automotive warranty provider, made the award after scrutinising the reliability, repair bills, parts costs, labour rates and annual service charges of four-year-old vehicles (either Y or 51 plate models) with an average of 40,000 miles on the clock.

“The old shape Micra ticks all the boxes and is a great example of how British manufacturing and overseas investment can really work together,” explained Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct. “It’s cheap to maintain, even if something should go wrong – which is a very rare occurrence.”

The UKs biggest selling model, the original Ford Focus, received the Best Family Car accolade thanks to low service (average £169), parts and repair costs (ave. £134.97), sensible labour rates (ave. £50) and good reliability.

Other category winners included the Vauxhall Zafira in the ever-popular Compact-MPV category; the Swindon built Honda CR-V in the fashionable SUV class and the Mercedes-Benz E Class in the aspirational executive category.

Whilst Mazda’s MX-5 two-seater costs an average of £301 for its annual service, bullet-proof reliability easily make it the cheapest used sportscar to maintain on the market today.

Warranty Direct Best Used Car Buys

Ave. Service Cost       Ave. Repair Bill

Small car                     Nissan Micra              £145                            £114.20

Small Family               Ford Focus                 £169                            £134.97

Family                                     Volvo S/V40                £257                            £177.16          

Compact MPV             Vauxhall Zafira            £190                            £209.52          

SUV                             Honda CRV                £218                            £271.88          

Compact Executive    BMW 3 Series                        £299                            £212.45

Executive                    Mercedes E Class      £190                            £276.90

Sports                                     Mazda MX-5               £301                            £210.23

Large MPV                  Fiat Ulysse                  £185                            £249.19


“All the cars named, excel in terms of maintenance costs,” added McClure Fisher. “Admittedly a car purchase will always involve an element of the subjective, but if you had to buy purely on economics, then these are the vehicles that’ll be the easiest on the pocket.”

Top Ten Best Used Car Buys – All categories

1. Nissan Micra           (Model 1998-03)

2. Ford Ka                   (Model 1996-on)

3. Mazda MX-5            (Model 1998-on)

4. Volvo S/V40 (Model 1996-04)

5. Ford Focus             (Model 1998-04)

6. Honda CR-V            (Model 1997-01)

7. Vauxhall Astra         (Model 1998-04)

8. Vauxhall Zafira         (Model 1999-on)

9. Ford Fiesta              (Model 1996-02)

10. Ford Mondeo         (Model 2000-on)

Nov 022005

MG RoverFollowing the demise of MG Rover, independent warranty company, Warranty Direct is offering MG Rover customers 20% off any new warranty policy purchased. The offer is applicable to cars under 5 years old.

Last Wednesday, the administrators, PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC), wrote to MG Rover dealers confirming that they will no longer be able to meet the cost of repairs.

Previously, MG Rover had reimbursed franchised dealers for the cost of any repairs carried out for a period of up to three years after a new car was sold. However, following the analysis of their financial state, PwC has confirmed MG Rover can no longer afford to honour the commitment.

It’s estimated 150,000 MG Rover owners have lost their car warranty cover – vehicles which were ranked 16th out of 28 in the annual Warranty Direct Reliability Index Survey (

“MG Rover owners have been left in the lurch with their vehicle warranties. Should their vehicle develop a fault, they will no longer be able to return to their franchised dealer and expect the cost to be covered by a manufacturer warranty,” said Warranty Direct managing director, Duncan McClure Fisher.

“Under the Sale of Goods Act, consumers can find some protection. Should their car need remedial work, depending on the fault and age of vehicle, they may be able to claim through the small claims court. However, the industry is already raising questions marks about the futures of many of the franchised dealers.”

For further details please visit or call 0800 731 7001

Nov 022005

Reliability IndexNew website lifts the lid on Britain’s cars

With the used car market worth some £6billion annually, private car buyers have become more consumer savvy and demand a greater desire for peace of mind than ever before.  With this in mind, the Reliability Index was launched to give complete and impartial reviews on the hundreds on vehicles on the market.

The Reliability Index is the country’s only comprehensive, real-time analysis of the health of cars on the road today and is already used by more than 15,000 web users seeking advice.

Based on data gathered from millions of pounds worth of claims handled every year by leading independent automotive warranty supplier, Warranty Direct, the Reliability Index provides the car buyer with a valuable insight into the good, bad and ugly of the motoring community.

Visitors to the website are able to examine a host of data including the average cost of repair and length of time their vehicle should spend in the garage. Importantly it also plots the chances of a chosen model suffering from engine meltdown, transmission hiccups, air-conditioning failure and axle or suspension trouble.

Central to this is the Reliability Index figure, which considers the number of times a model needs repair and the actual cost of putting it back on the road.  Using data from the Reliability Index, earlier this year, the Sunderland built Nissan Micra was awarded the inaugural Warranty Direct Used Car of the Year title – the first ever accolade based exclusively on the cost of keeping a car on the road.

“Forewarned is forearmed, and when it comes to deciding on your next car, be it fresh off the production line or a 4 year old, one owner example, it’s only fair that you have an impartial overview of that car’s ability to stay on the road without breaking down,” explained Duncan McClure-Fisher, managing director of Warranty Direct. “The overall aim of the site is to help consumers make more informed purchasing decisions.”

Nov 022005

MG RoverMG Rover customers are being left confused and facing a wall of silence as they try to uncover if their manufacturer warranty will still be honoured, following the administration of MG Rover.

“PwC and Rover franchised dealers are increasingly evading customers who have recently bought a Rover.  There has been very little information offered, with much based purely on speculation, rather than clarity and fact,” commented independent warranty provider Warranty Direct managing director Duncan McClure Fisher.

“Under the Sale of Goods Act, consumers will be protected.  When buying a new car, it becomes the responsibility of the dealer to uphold the warranty for up to six years.”

Rovers recently bought came with a three-year warranty that consists of a one-year manufacturer-backed policy and dealer-backed cover in the second and third years.

“The problem for MG Rover customers though is will their local dealer still be open when their vehicle develops a fault which would be rectified under the warranty agreement?

“This is further cemented by the appalling reliability track record Rover has.  Last year they came 16th in our annual reliability index – trailing behind the likes of Daewoo, Fiat and Seat.”