Oct 012018
 

New car checklistFor many young people, owning a car is a rite of passage. But, with so much choice available and with many young people on a tight budget, selecting the right student car can be tricky.

Warranty Direct has put together some helpful tips to help student motorists make the right decision, from buying your first car to beyond.

Where to start

When looking at potential vehicles, you can be tempted to go to the first car that catches your eye. However, it’s important to keep your budget in mind when choosing what’s right for you.

Firstly, you need to decide whether to buy a new or used car. Although initially more expensive, newer cars are normally more advanced in terms of safety, technology and fuel efficiency. This could save you money in the long-term.

On the other hand, a new car can lose around 40% of its value in the first year, so you may be left out of pocket when you go to sell it later.

Statistics also show around one-quarter of young drivers are involved in a crash within two years of passing their test. So with this in mind, it might be more cost-effective not to purchase a brand-spanking new vehicle until you have a little more experience on the roads.

Don’t get caught out with insurance

For the majority of students, expensive car insurance is far from ideal. Drivers aged between 17-24 can expect to pay over £1100 for their insurance policy.

Limited driving experience and a greater likelihood of being in an accident account for this high rate. However, there are ways for students to keep their insurance costs down.

For example, adding a more experienced named driver on a student’s insurance policy can shave an impressive 13% off their insurance premiums.

Younger drivers can make further financial savings by opting for a black box insurance policy. This is where the insurer fits a telematic tracker – which records speed, braking and cornering behaviour – to your vehicle.

 In fact, according to recent figures, 60% of the cheapest black box deals are for under-25s, compared with 50% two years ago.

Factor in reliability

It’s important students know what they need from a vehicle, not just what they want. Factors such as safety, cost and reliability need to be considered; particularly if you’re facing a lengthy commute from home to your new student accommodation.

Look out for vehicles with low repair and maintenance costs and features such as light steering and user-friendly controls.

Using tools such as our Reliability Index to see which vehicles are the most reliable could help you avoid expensive maintenance issues further down the line.

If you’re willing to look beyond flashy alternatives, the trusty Ford Fiesta is a good bet for students on a tight budget. The Fiesta scores highly in the reliability stakes and suits the needs of most young motorists.

Fuel for thought

For cash-strapped young drivers, one of the major drawbacks of owning a car is the cost of keeping a vehicle on the road.

With fuel costs rising, it’s worth looking out for the most fuel-efficient models on the market.

It’s also important to account for vehicle tax, MOT tests and the general cost of upkeep for your new vehicle. On average, it costs around £472 to maintain a used car over the course of a year.

It might be worth considering Just Add Fuel options which combine finance, breakdown, servicing and tax costs into a single monthly installment if your heart’s set on a brand new vehicle.

Owning a car can give you your first taste of ‘grown-up’ responsibility, so it’s important to think wisely if you want to experience the joy of the open road on a student budget.

Apr 042017
 

Whilst the majority of car dealerships are very reputable and have high professional standards, there are some dealers who prioritise meeting sales targets over the individual needs of a customer. Sometimes, it’s difficult for consumers not to feel  baffled by the array of motoring  terms and acronyms, predominantly only used by car salespeople.

To prepare you for the onslaught of potential motoring jargon you may potentially experience when buying a car, Warranty Direct has decoded key terms to put you on a level playing field with a dealer and ensure you come out with the right car, at no unnecessary extra expense.

Terms

A Wooden Duck: This term would be used by salesman to colleagues and typically refers to a customer who does not haggle or negotiate. Whilst not necessarily derogatory, it could mean that a dealership is more focused on looking to sell to an ‘easy target’, rather than considering the individual needs of a customer.

Whopper with Cheese: Another one from the dealer when they’re trying to dupe a customer. This is a deal that has an exorbitant profit. A salesperson using this sort of language should be avoided, as it shows they have no qualms with ripping off a buyer.

Grinder: Also used to describe a customer, but this time one that drives a hard bargain. This is when it takes a long time to negotiate a deal with a strong customer, intent on negotiating for a discounted price.

FDSH: This is a Full Dealer Service History. This is essentially the same as a Full Service History (FSH) but service stamps have been acquired by a registered dealer as opposed to the owner of the car.

HPI check: An important used vehicle check history which determines if a car is stolen, accident damaged, written off or clocked. If a car is listed as any of these things, then it is highly advisable not to buy! (Or if stolen, please do alert the police.)

List price: You may hear a salesman talking about a car’s ‘list price’. This is simply the cost of a car as it’s driven off the forecourt. There may be room for manoeuvre or deals to be done on this price, so it is worth negotiating.

NVH: When discussing the quality of a car, its NVH may be discussed. This is referred to the vehicle’s noise, vibration and harshness and is used as a subjective measure for the quality of vehicle

Q-plate: Registration plates starting with a Q mean a car was either not originally registered in the UK, it was built using off-the-shelf parts (e.g. a kit car), or its origins are unknown. A car’s original number plate can be reapplied if the proper documentation for it is recovered.

VIN: This is the vehicle identification number – a unique number, normally 17 digits, given to each vehicle during manufacturing. This is to help track vehicles that are defective or have been written off, as license plates can be easily changed.

Tactics

Loss-leader advertising: The dealership sells a couple of unwanted cars at an unrealistically low price to attract buyers, then sells them a pricier vehicle.

Low balling: The salesman tells the customer an unrealistically low price that they should aim to pay for a new car. When they come back because they could not get it for that price elsewhere, they are convinced to buy it for more.

Cut and shut: Readers beware! This is a car damaged in an accident which has been repaired by fusing one or more vehicles together. While a dealership should not be selling this type of car, if you are buying privately then this is something that you should watch out for as the vehicle may not reach recommended safety levels. Checking the car’s VIN number, complete service history and MOT certificates can be the best ways of finding out if a car is ‘cut and shut’.

Limited-time deals: The phrase ‘for a limited time only’ has entered popular usage – and for good reason: it’s an effective sales tactic. Finance with 0% interest, discounted models and free extra equipment are often touted, creating a palpable sense of urgency. Be aware though, while the duration of such offers may well be limited, they occur so frequently that another one will come along sooner than you think.

‘Free’ extras: Be careful of free gifts the salesperson throws into a deal. They’re only trying to slow down negotiations and make you pay a higher price for the actual car. Try to stay focused on getting the best possible value.

Sucking back: This refers to the technique of giving you a very low sum for your part-exchange car, and then compensating by giving you a fantastic price on your new one. Sales people hope the true profit will be hidden in the intricacies of the deal, and aim to make you think you’ve got an amazing deal.

The maze of buying a new car can be full of challenges and difficult decisions, but decoding what a salesperson is saying shouldn’t be one of them. If you already know the tricks of the trade, you’re far less likely to fall for them and more likely to get a good deal.

At Warranty Direct we pride ourselves on being clear and transparent about our products. We don’t want customers to be confused by the meanings of our terms and policies, so we’ve gone the extra mile and compiled detailed policy guides – so every customer understands exactly what they are paying for.

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.”

 

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.”

Sep 232015
 

Your Child will Choose your next car More than three quarters of parents (78%) claim that having  kids forced them to buy a new car. And nearly four in ten  (37%) say that children go on to influence decisions to buy  their next car.

These were the key findings of research carried out for Auto  Trader in August, the UK’s largest digital automotive  marketplace, pooling the views of 1,000 parents and children  aged between 5 and 11.The aims were to look at what parents  and children looked for in their perfect family car – and to what extent children influenced their parents’ buying decision.

Findings pointed to a number of differences in the success of pester power. More than half of Londoners, for example (55%), said they were likely to be influenced by their children, compared with just 24% in the North East. When it comes to the sexes, the research suggests dads should probably be the target of lobbying. 39% of dads said they were open to influence compared with 33% of mums.

“A substantial amount of research has been done looking at how the decision of the car buyer can be influenced and at what stage in the buying journey,” commented Nathan Coe of Auto Trader, “but few have really considered the role that children play, or the influence of pester power. If one of the kids doesn’t like the shape or colour of your next car, or it doesn’t come with plug-in for an i-Pad, then you’d better be prepared for some serious pestering!”

Overall, colour is the most likely area for successful persuasion by children (26% influenced their parents’ choice of colour). Children are most likely to push for red (28%), followed by blue (21%), black (14%) and pink (13%). Perhaps unsurprisingly boys tend to favour red cars (28% v 23%) and girls preferred pink (26% v 1%). However, only 2% said they’d prefer a white car, despite white being the most popular new car colour, according to SMMT new car sales data.

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT): new car registrations by colour 2014

SMMT New Car Reg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children also influenced their parents in terms of the comfort (13%), size (12%), design (12%) and entertainment systems (9%) fitted to their new car. Safety however – top of the list of priorities for parents (27%) – was one area where parents tend to go it alone.

After safety, parents were most concerned with the size and space of the new car they were buying so they could get extra boot space or more seats (25%), how comfortable it would be (23%) and how reliable (19%) – entertainment systems were only considered important by 2% of parents.

For children however, their top ten wish list in a family car included glamour features like turbo buttons, ejector seats and flame filled exhausts, perhaps unsurprisingly alongside entertainment systems.

Coe continues: “Car retailers are becoming more aware of the need to cater for children on the forecourt, both in terms of providing entertainment for them whilst their parents are looking at cars, and actively pointing out features that they would be interested in, like in-car entertainment systems. As the technical specifications on new cars continues to advance, kids will only become more interested in the car they are transported about in.”

Is mum or dad a better driver? Overall, more children in the survey pointed to their dads (54%). However when it comes to dropping off at the school gates, mums rule the playground: 55% voted for them compared to 42% who said they’d prefer their Dad to drop them off.  More than two thirds (79%) of parents would claim they are better drivers compared to their partner.

When asked to consider their favourite superhero car, children went mad for the Batmobile. It topped the chart for all ages from 5 through to 11, other than for kids aged six year – they chose Lightning McQueen from the Cars’ films.

When buying a car, which of these factors might your children influence?

When buying a car, which of these factors might your children influence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the most important feature in a family car?

What is the most important feature in a family car

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The top ten features for your dream car (children aged 5-11):

  1. TV Screens
  2. DVD Players
  3. Internet connection
  4. Video games
  5. Snack dispenser
  6. Toy storage cupboard
  7. Turbo button
  8. Steering wheel in back seat
  9. Ejector seat
  10. Flame emitting exhausts

Better Driver2