Is a new car, cheaper than buying a one year old? This might surprise you

11th December 2016

David Williams, national motor journalist and road safety award-winner

I used to work on a motoring magazine called Auto Express and – while I let those more expert than I get on with the exciting business of road-testing – it was the ‘dry’ investigative stuff I preferred.

As a journalist I get my kicks by digging below the surface to find what’s really going on; it’s why I eventually went back into newspapers – first the Sunday Express, then the Daily Express, followed by the Evening Standard and Telegraph. I spotted an excellent story this week from What Car? magazine, showing that the art of research is still very much alive and kicking. It found, after carefully looking at the figures, that discerning shoppers can save hundreds of pounds by buying a new car instead of a one-year-old version of the same model.

What a way to save money – this is the kind of reporting that really helps readers. Analysis by their experts showed that competitive deals and low interest rates offered by manufacturers to shift their newest models can make actually brand new cars less expensive than second-hand vehicles. The research came shortly after the number of new cars sold in September made it the best on record for sales.

With deposits, monthly finance or personal loan payments, VED, MoT test costs and depreciation taken into account, the analysis found that contrary to popular belief, buying a brand new car was cheaper than a used car in almost a third of cases (29%). According to What Car? it might help explain the 13% increase in new cars bought on finance provided by dealerships in July this year.

Their experts found that one of the biggest savings to be had was on the Kia Picanto SR7 3dr. Buying a brand new model at £8,845 would will save customers £665 over two years. The total cost of a new Picanto SR7 over a 24-month period equates to £3719.00, whereas a one-year-old model would cost nearly £4400. Another example they came across was the Nissan Micra Acenta 1.2; it offers consumers a saving of £403 when buying new compared with a one-year-old model. In addition, the savings you now make when buying a used model are fairly minimal. Buying a one-year-old Lexus NX300h Luxury will save you just £295 over 36 months compared with a new model, for example.

Jim Holder, What Car?’s editorial director, said:

“Close analysis of the current sales market proves that if you do your research, in some instances, you could actually pay less for a brand new model rather than a used car. “There are some great deals currently on offer, meaning consumers shouldn’t always assume a used car will automatically offer them the best value for money. Favourable interest rates combined with inviting manufacturer incentives mean it’s a great time to bag a brand new bargain.”

Impressive, huh? Sure, they had a team to do the research, and they were paid to do so in work time. But it shows what any consumer could – with the right attitude, a little time and computer – discover, and save…. leaving more than enough over perhaps to buy a few treats, like a new dash cam to go with the new car…

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