New Year: New Car?

Out with the old and in with the new! To remind yourself that it is indeed a New Year, it sometimes helps to do something different. You could have a clearout of old things, or join a gym, but why not buy a new car?

There has rarely been a better time to buy a car, and consumers will see real value for money, according to Sue Robinson, director of the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF) National Franchised Dealers Association. The season also helps, as the winter and early spring are traditionally among the best times of year for car buying. Prices are competitive in the used car market too, as motorists trade in their existing vehicles to get the latest models, and since 2001, the newest number plates.

Number Plate System

The number plate system works as follows; The first two letters correspond to where the car is registered in the country, LA to LY for London, and MA to MY for Manchester, for example. The next two numbers signify in which six monthly period the car was registered eg 55 for September 2005, 06 for March 2006 and so on, while the last three letters are random.

Robinson said: ‘When you buy a new car from a RMIF member with a 55 registration, you should be able to get a fair part exchange deal on your traded-in car and a dealer should also provide efficient and reliable service and repair facilities.’

Looking For A Car

Robinson believes that prospective buyers will get a good deal when they go car-hunting: ‘The quality of modern cars, the purchasing deals like free insurance, zero per cent finance available from some manufacturers and very attractive prices all add up to a package to satisfy buyers across the spectrum of customer needs. It is extremely important to use a reputable dealer for buying a car.’

When looking for a car, there are a number of things to look out for:

  • Most newly-registered cars are sold with a full three year warranty. But do read the small print. Also, RMIF dealers are obliged to provide a minimum level of warranty as a condition of their membership
  • When comparing deals use the on-the-road price which manufacturers now advertise. This is made up of the basic ex-works price, value added tax, number plate, delivery charges, and road fund licence, and first registration fee

Motorists should also consider the following check-list before and after purchase to make sure you have not overlooked the obvious. Since March 2001 the rate of vehicle excise duty has varied depending on the level of exhaust emissions produced by the car, so it is worth bearing this in mind.

continues | Part Two
10 December 2005 Staff

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