Love-it-or-hate-it, Christmas is fast approaching, and that means most of us are thinking of anything but buying a new car. Well, I say ‘most of us’ – if you’re afflicted with the bug, you never stop looking, and right now, that could lead you towards some real bargains. Because with the rest of Great Britain thinking about mince pies, presents for mum-in-law and whether they should go for PS3 or XBox 360, car salesmen are bored, bored, bored. And let’s face it, we’re all still going to need mobility.
December is traditionally a quiet time in the trade, and these guys are getting desperate to deal in order to make their targets. Check out the deals on the mainstream Vauxhalls, Fords, Peugeots and Renaults, and if you’re in need of a new car, and looking for new car deals, try someone like Central Contracts. There never has been a better time to go for it. Especially as consumer confidence is at an all-time low, talked down by the likes of Robert Peston and his increasingly gloomy BBC news stories.
I must admit that I’ve been toying with the idea of buying a new car. Not to replace my Rover SD1 or Saab 900T16S, but instead, to pension off the Alfa Romeo 156 (lovely but a bit of an extravagance at the moment) and VW Golf Mk4 TDI (boring, unrewarding but ultimately cheap as chips to run), and replace them with something new, hopefully low maintenance, and British-made. I’ve made no secret of my admiration of the Cowley-built MINI, and I keep looking in that direction. For a base-spec MINI First, I’d be looking at £99 a month with a £4253 deposit or £169 a month with £1500 down… and by my reckoning, and with a little bargaining, that might mean the Golf and Alfa as trade-ins.
Okay, so I’m essentially financing a depreciating asset (and that’s never good), but then as an ownership experience, it’s going to be more satisfying than a baggy old Golf or an Alfa that doesn’t move off the drive very often.
As I said, it’s something that I’m thinking about a lot – and I suspect in the run-up to Christmas, there’s some room to manoeuvre with the dealers. And let’s face it – an £11K MINI still has Auto Start-Stop, Brake Energy Regeneration, Variable Valve Technology and Shift Point Display. Which adds up to 53.3mpg. Surely as cheap to fuel as my old Golf.
But there’s always the nearly new option. And, yes, I am sure that I could be silly and get something like a used second hand Porsche 911 for the same money (and yes, there are some bargains right now for the brave with a little money they’d like to fritter on an indulgence), but I’m hearing it’s in the volume sector where the amazing bargains currently reside. Sticking to my British built mantra, it’s interesting to hear that delivery-miles MG6s are starting to filter out into the trade.
My mate Rob Bambridge emailed to say, ‘Have you seen the TSE demos on Autotrader? There are a couple, a 3000 miler and a 1400 miler, for five grand less than list price already.’ For what is effectively a new car that’s just about run-in, that’s an awful lot of car for the money. Would I put my money where my mouth is? Decisions, decisions…
Winter truly is… (pause for dramatic effect)… the time to buy.
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