By Maurice Hardy
Brexit – where’s it going and, more importantly, will it affect buying your next new car?
Nobody knows, as I write this, but some manufacturers are reportedly asking customers to sign an agreement to pay tariffs when they place an order. As most of the cars sold in the UK are not built here, that’s a financial pistol to the head.
What to do? If you are coming out of a PCP deal, haven’t done many miles, and the car’s going OK, find a way to buy it, especially if the payment scheme you’ve been in has left you with equity. Check the minimum guaranteed future value in your finance agreement and then what the car’s worth (look for similar models for sale online or with your dealer).
If the latter is more than the former and you take the option of just handing it back, then you are giving the dealer the certain profit that could be yours. Instead, shop around and look to finance the purchase through a car loan.
Plenty of banks offer them and an online search will turn up the best rates (don’t forget loyalty cards like those from Nectar can enhance interest rates). Go to more than one comparison site and see what’s on offer.
Don’t click the button to apply until you have found the best deal or you will have too many applications showing up on your credit history.
If you have an older car and want something newer, dealers currently have a good stock of three and four-year-old cars with low mileages and a full service history, because that’s what was required as part of the finance deal that probably put them on the road for their first owner.
You’ll see pictures of cars on dealer websites, so you can do a bit of homework by going to https://www.gov.uk/check-mot-history, putting in the car’s registration number, and seeing what’s revealed in fails or advisories. It can be quite enlightening and you haven’t even left home to kick the tyres!
Toss tariffs aside and buy nearly new instead
Similarly, click on https://www.gov.uk/check-vehicle-tax to see when the tax was removed. It could show that the car has been with the dealer for a while, perfect ammunition to bargain for a discount.
And don’t be afraid to ask to see the paperwork when you view the car – take a photo of the registration document where it shows the owner details and then see if you can find a phone number to call them and ask if they had problems. They will probably be candid now they are not stuck with it.
Whatever you do, don’t sign an open-ended agreement to pay a tariff on top of the price you’ve agreed. It’s too open ended to be reliable.
Instead, take a punt on one of the vast stock of Ford Fiestas and Focuses, Citroens and Peugeots, and a wealth of German quality metal.
The only saving grace is that some Nissan models, like the Qashqai and Juke, and some Toyotas, like the new Corolla, along with the Honda CR-V and Vauxhall Astra are made in the UK so should be tariff-free, depending on where the components were sourced.